Woo-hoo for you! Today's the last installment of The Kitchn's seven-day Spring Refresh. Before we get to high-fives, though, you've still got one small assignment that will make a big difference down the line.
I've yet to meet a cook who loves doing the dishes as much as cooking. The reward of a clean sink just isn't as exciting as the promise of a great meal. But doing the dishes can be an opportunity to experience a little bit of mindful time alone, if you treat your sink like a spa. It only takes a few minutes and it will make the non-cooking time you spend in the kitchen so much more enjoyable.
The Art of Drain Chi
Heads-up: I'm going to get a little woo-woo here. Feel free to take what you want and ignore whatever doesn't resonate with you.
I'm not a Feng Shui practitioner, but I'm curious about it, and I've learned a little from masters, both in-person and through books. (My favorite is William Spear's simple and lovely book Feng Shui Made Easy — I highly recommend it if you're interested.)
One of the practices I've picked up and used frequently is the art of drain chi. The basic idea is that our drains are to our homes what our veins are to our bodies. To keep the chi (or energy) circulating, it helps to detox every once in a while. Today, we're going to clean our drains with a natural baking soda and vinegar mix, and then flush with water and follow up with some essential oil to make our sinks smell great.
1. Do the dishes and wipe out your sink.
For this to work, you've got to start with a clean canvas. Clear any old sponges, scouring pads, etc. It's a good daily practice to keep your sink as clear as possible — dish soap, a fresh sponge and a scrub-brush are all you really need.
2. Detox your drains.
I use this natural recipe to clean my drains on a seasonal basis, but you can do it monthly or even weekly if your drain is prone to clogs. Since I started practicing "drain chi" preventatively, my sinks haven't clogged.
- Pour 1/2 cup of dry baking soda down the drain.
- Follow it up with a 1/2 cup of vinegar.
- Cap the drain so the reactive combo goes down the pipe.
- Fill your kettle and make yourself a cup of tea.
- Sip your tea and let the mixture do its work in the drain.
- As you have your tea, enjoy being in your clean kitchen!
- After 15 to 20 minutes, flush the drain with your remaining hot water.
- Pour 10 drops of orange essential oil down, or squeeze the juice from two lemons into the drain; both act as natural degreasers.
- Turn on the faucet and let it run over the drain for 30 seconds.
3. Consider giving your dish soap an aromatherapeutic boost.
To make doing the dishes a more spa-like experience, think about investing in a good-scented soap, or make your own with three drops of essential oil for every one cup of castile soap. All these oils have multiple complex properties, but here's a cheat sheet with a few ideas for scents.
- Basil: uplifting
- Chamomile: soothing
- Eucalyptus: refreshing
- Frankincense: meditative
- Grapefruit: energizing
- Lavender: calming
- Lemongrass: reviving
- Orange or Lemon: degreasing
- Peppermint: clarifying
- Rosemary: antiseptic
4. Give yourself one small, simple reward.
Now that you've put so much elbow grease into decluttering and cleaning, it's time to reward yourself and your kitchen. What's one simple thing that could beautify your space? A glass soap dispenser? A vase of fresh flowers? A new water filter? Make sure it's not going to create clutter — it should be something you genuinely want and love. Proceed with intention, and the right idea will come to you.
A Few Final Thoughts
Thank you all for joining The Kitchn's Spring Refresh. I've learned a lot, and I hope you feel the same. Please share whatever you learned, loved, or want to see happen for future programs.
I hope the real takeaway is a kitchen you love a little more and a space that supports you. Don't get down if there's still more to do — good things take time, and the important part is that you've made the first steps on a journey that will lead you back to your home and yourself.
We're all human, and we all make real-life messes. It's OK if you have a cracked mug in your cupboard or a spot on your cutting board that just won't come clean — there are lots of things like that in everyone's life. The important thing is to work with what we've got and make small changes because they really do add up. Just keep going — eventually you'll realize you've already arrived.