Turkey Day is right around the corner! Thanksgiving means great food along with great company – while spending a LOT of time in the kitchen and other common areas. If you’re planning to host Thanksgiving this year, here are some tips to prepare your home and kitchen to minimize your stress this holiday.
Prep Your Oven
This may be an obvious one, but can you imagine anything more disastrous than discovering your oven isn’t working properly on the big day? Before you begin to prepare for cooking, start first by cleaning your oven’s interior with an oven cleaner or natural home cleaner. For a natural home cleaner, mix equal parts of water and baking soda to create a paste. Spread paste onto the oven’s interior and let sit for at least 12 hours. In the meantime, soak oven racks for at least two hours and then scrub and wash with soap. After 12 hours of the paste sitting, wipe clean with damp cloth. If you have trouble getting off the paste or tough grease stains, spray white vinegar onto the area which will cause baking soda to foam and be easy to wipe clean. Once your oven is sparkling clean, it’s time to check your oven’s temperature. Pre-heat your oven to the temperature you’d like to test, then check the temperature on the oven thermometer inside. If you don’t have an oven thermometer, you can also test your oven’s temperature by using sugar.
Check Your Vents
Many people don’t even realize how important their kitchen exhaust fans are until there’s a breakdown. Since you’ll likely be using your stovetop as well as your oven on Thanksgiving Day, you’ll want to make sure your kitchen’s exhaust fan has maximum ventilation. An easy way to diagnose if there’s an issue with your exhaust fans is to turn them on and listen. If you hear the exhaust fan’s motor make an unusual “whirring” type of sound, it may be due to the fact that the motor is struggling to keep the fan running. When it gets to this stage, it’s likely the motor will burn out and its best to have the exhaust fan replaced. On the other hand, if you hear a rattling sound from your exhaust fan – this may be a sign that there are loose or defective components that will have to be corrected. In either case, it’s best to have a professional come inspect the fans to further diagnose the problem. If you don’t hear any of these sounds, but would like to test how well your kitchen’s exhaust fan is working, you can take a single square of toilet paper and put it up against the fan. The fan should suck the toilet paper up and should stay attached to the fan. If it doesn’t stay attached, it’s likely that your exhaust fan is not working properly.
Clean The Ice Maker
The ice maker is another oft-neglected household appliance that may need some attention before all your guests are using it for their drinks. Ice makers can sometimes become polluted with flavors from all the food in your refrigerator and freezer (unless they have separate climate controls). Be sure to check your refrigerator’s water filter – which is usually connected to the ice maker and water dispenser on most refrigerators. These filters should be replaced every six months if you use your water dispenser and ice maker on a frequent basis. Filters can be replaced through the refrigerator’s manufacturer or can be found at most home improvement stores. After replacing your water filter, clear out the existing ice. Clean the ice container with warm soapy water and dry completely and let it fill up with new fresh ice. Keeping your ice maker clean will assure there is no debris or minerals, two main causes of musty taste and health problems. Your Thanksgiving guests will appreciate your fresh, ice-cold (pollution-free!) drinks.
After The Meal
If you didn’t appreciate your dishwasher already, you’ll surely be grateful for it when you have company over on Thanksgiving! There will be mounds of dishes and utensils just waiting to be washed. Make sure your dishwasher is thoroughly cleaned and maintained before Turkey Day. If it’s been a while since you’ve given your dishwasher a thorough deep clean, now is the time to do it. Wipe down the interior door, scrub the door gasket with a soft toothbrush, and clean the filter. Remove the racks from the dishwasher and check the sprayer arm nozzles for any clogs and clean them as necessary with some toothpicks or pipe cleaners. When the spray arm nozzles are clean, they will spray better and make your dishes sparkle. Run a cycle of vinegar in your dishwasher to remove any soap scum and to get your dishwasher completely ready for an easy Thanksgiving clean up.