The kitchen is, quite often, the hub of the home. Unfortunately, it also tends to be a hub for dirt, grease, slime, crumbs, particles and germs.
Cleaning the kitchen can seem overwhelming at times, especially if the dirt has built up over time and across various surfaces and appliances. Heck, it can seem daunting even if it is a regular, recurring task.
Thankfully, the age of the Internet has enabled homemakers to collect and share cleaning tips and tricks like never before. The following twenty tips may require a little patience, but they also require far fewer tools and products, and far less time than you might think.
The oven in my first apartment looked as if a meal had exploded within it. Cleaning it seemed impossible until I found this trick: baking soda paste. Coat the oven with baking soda, dampen it with a spray bottle of water, let it sit an hour or more and then wipe it down with a rag. A decade’s worth of hardened gunk came off like it was nothing. Note: The baking soda may leave a slight haze, just wipe down with a damp cloth.
Have you allow too much gunk to crust up your microwave? Microwave a cup of vinegar for one minute on high, let it sit for a few minutes so the steam can loosen the food debris and then wipe down. Easy as pie.
What ails your dishwasher? Is it crusty like your microwave? Remove all dishes and run on empty, save a bowl of vinegar in the top rack. If needed, wipe down afterwards.
Lime or iron build ups troubling you? Run the dishwasher empty and put Lemonade Kool Aid mix in the detergent dispenser; it will remove the stains.
4) Sink and Faucet
Skip the Windex or other chemical cleaners, baking soda paste will clean the gunk, vinegar will bring back the shine and rubbing waxed paper on your faucet will help prevent water spots.
5) Sink Drain
Is your drain smelly? Slow draining? Pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain. Follow it with ½ cup vinegar. Cover the drain with a damp cloth for five to fifteen minutes, the pour hot water down to flush out any debris. A combination of ½ cup salt followed by 1 quart hot water works equally well.
6) Garbage Disposal
Does the disposal smell ripe? With the cold water running, turn the disposal on and toss in chunks of citrus — with peel — one at a time. They’ll knock off lingering food particles AND leave a fresh scent. Putting vinegar ice cubes through the disposal works as well.
Dirty toasters turn wise homeowners into fools. If you’re not sure where to begin, follow a tutorial for basic cleaning tips — like unplugging the toaster first AND not submerging it in water.
8) Coffee Grinder
Is your grinder clogged and dirty? Grind a handful of rice; it’ll clean out any debris.
9) Appliance Parts
There are some cleaning jobs you shouldn’t do yourself. You can do more harm than good with an ill-informed cleaning of the inner workings of your appliances. After saving money DIYing your regular cleanings, you might want to splurge on a yearly or bi-yearly deep cleaning by professionals. A professional cleaner will have the know-how to clean every inch of your appliances and will remember the hidden dirt traps even the most diligent homemaker may overlook.
Grout stained, dull or dirty? Use a toothbrush and baking soda paste to return it to its former glory. Try an electric toothbrush for extra scouring power.
Rust is a common problem for dishwashers and baking sheets. Make a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, apply it to problem areas and let it sit. Then wipe it clean. Gloves are recommended for those with sensitive skin.
12) Trash Can
Baking soda saves the day again. For smelly trash cans, make hardened cakes of baking soda, water and essential oils, and leave one in the bottom of the can. It will keep it fresh and odor free for at least a month.
Sponge worse for wear? Don’t pitch it yet. Microwave it on high for two minutes to remove dirt and germs. Just don’t microwave metallic scrubbers.
Any sticky, gunky, caked-on food mess can be fought with a 1 to 1 mix of coconut oil and baking soda.
15) Glass Cookware
Don’t toss that slightly used aluminum foil. Ball it up and use it — with a bit of dish soap — to clean caked-on food off of glass baking dishes.
16) Coffee/Tea Stains
To clean up your coffee pot, run a pot of water and vinegar. For stained mugs, scrub them with salted citrus peels.
Salt and citrus can also clean cutting boards. Sprinkle with coarse salt and then use half a lemon to scrub the salted board, squeezing out juice as you go. Let sit, then rinse clean.
18) Stainless Steel
No need for a pricey cleaner; you can buff your stainless steel appliances with a little olive oil and elbow grease.
19) Cast Iron
Clean and season your cast iron by scrubbing it with salt and oil. Once it is clean, wipe it down with a little oil to season it.
Vegetable drawer smell funky? Line it with newspaper; it’ll absorb the smell. Plastic container smell rank? Pack it with newspaper, seal it and let sit overnight. Once again, the newspaper will absorb the smell.
Jars or tumblers that smell? Use a mixture of one part distilled white vinegar and two parts hot water and let sit in the bottle for a few minutes then rinse. Freezer stink? Wipe it down with a cloth sprinkled with vanilla extract. Baking soda and/or vinegar are both great deodorizers as well.
Don’t psych yourself out of cleaning before you even get started. With a few simple ingredients, you can easily clean almost any mess.