Cleaning your kitchen doesn't have to be hard. Arm yourself with a little foreknowledge and it can actually be as close to effortless as possible. Some of the tips and tricks presented in this list still require some elbow grease. Most of them, however, only require a little planning. Stock up on the non-perishables in this list and you'll be riding high when it comes time to tackle the roughest, toughest aspects of maintaining a kitchen. Even the first item here, by far the most "fresh" as far as ingredients go, easily keeps for ages once you've prepared it properly.
So, get your clean on. Make your neighbors wonder to themselves what they're doing wrong. Decide whether or not to share your epic cleaning secrets with them. The choice is yours.
1. Here’s a great way to freshen up your garbage disposal and get rid of some food scraps in the process! Even if you’ve juiced a lemon and depleted all its culinary resources, you can still freeze the peels and some vinegar in an ice cube tray and use them to clean out your disposal.
2. A more surprising “lemon” cleaning trick is to use a packet of instant lemonade in your dishwasher. The citric acid does a great job of annihilating all the bad stuff that builds up in there.
3. Baking soda is often found inside the fridge, absorbing odors, but when those odor causing agents start gunking up the surfaces of your fridge, some hot water, baking soda, and a sponge will take care of those issues, too.
4. Just like waxing your car, you can use the same protectant on your enameled stovetop to make between-meal cleanups a breeze.
5. It might seem like all you need to do with a toaster is flip it and dump the crumbs. Some can get stuck in tight corners, however. A toothbrush can easily find those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies and prevent “smoky toaster syndrome.”
6. Even if you’ve got water that’s not prone to scaling, mildew and other microscopic creepy-crawly nastiness can build up in even the fanciest coffee makers. It even happens at your favorite coffee shop, if your barista’s not on top of things.
Set up your machine like you’re making coffee but leave the filter (or filter basket) empty, and fill the reservoir with a 50-50 mix of distilled white vinegar and water. You might need to run it twice this way and then run fresh water through it several times until the vinegar taste is gone as well, but trust us, doing this once a month or so is worth it.
7. Two tablespoons of dish soap and two tablespoons of warm water are all you need to get your cabinets clean!
8. Ever hear the phrase, “fight fire with fire?” Well in the case of greasy kitchen surfaces, it works! Mineral oil will cut through the toughest grease buildups and then a second wipe down will take care of the mineral oil. So simple it hurts!
9. Got a nasty-looking baking sheet? Cover it with baking soda, then add a little hydrogen peroxide and smear it into a paste over the surface. Wait an hour and then go to town with a scrubber and some hot water.
10. Wooden cutting boards are naturally antiseptic, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get grody. Soap isn’t an ideal solution because the taste can linger and spread to food. Cover the surface of the board with salt and then scrub it with a half a lemon. Wipe it clean and dry and enjoy!
11. Bar Keeper’s Friend isn’t so much a trick as it is a secret weapon. Believe it or not, this cooked-on-gunk-fighting cleaner is actually oxalic acid, a natural compound found in many green vegetables, best known for being the leading culprit in kidney stones.
Perfectly harmless to clean with, but we don't recommend eating it by the spoonful!
12. Sponges are a godsend when it comes to kitchen cleanups, but unless you plan on tossing them after every single cleaning (please, don’t do that!) they can also be a vector for all sorts of germy nasties. Wet the sponge, toss it in the microwave for 60 seconds, carefully remove it (it will be hot, that’s the point), wring it, and you’ve got a perfectly sanitized sponge, ready to go.