The kitchen, dubbed the heart of the home, is also its messiest chamber. The spills, the splatters, the grease, and the clutter – they all happen here. Cleaning it up can be an intimidating task, but with a few clever tricks up your sleeve, you can make this chore less of a bore. Here’s an extensive guide with clever kitchen cleaning hacks to save you time and elbow grease.
Stick to Quick Cleaning Habits Everyday
Establishing a consistent 5-minute daily kitchen cleaning ritual can make a world of difference in maintaining a clean and inviting kitchen space. Here are some practical tasks to incorporate into your daily cleaning routine.
- Tend to the Dishes: Make it a rule: Don’t let dirty dishes sit out. Quickly rinse off food scraps from dishes and place them in the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, stack them neatly in the sink or basin, ready for washing later.
- Sweep the Floor: Grab a handheld broom or a regular one and give the kitchen floor a quick sweep, especially in the cooking and dining areas. This quick sweep will keep crumbs and dirt from accumulating.
- Empty the Trash Bin: If the trash bin is full or has any perishable items that can cause an odor, take a moment to tie off the trash bag and replace it with a new one.
- Bedtime Ritual: Before retiring for the night, spare a few minutes to clean up and declutter. Start by putting away items that don’t belong on the counter: utensils, dishes, or random clutter. Take a damp cloth or a disposable wipe and swiftly wipe down the counters. If you’ve used any chopping boards or utensils, give them a quick rinse or wipe too. It only takes a few minutes, but it will be worth it in the morning.
- Clean as you go: When cooking, while waiting for your dish to simmer or finish baking in the oven, wipe up spills immediately to prevent staining, and put away items as soon as you finish.
Try DIY Natural Cleaners
Aside from being eco-friendly and free from harsh chemicals, the best thing about natural cleaners is that they’re inexpensive and use ingredients that are frequently available in your pantry, making them easy to make and accessible. Here are some ideas.
- Baking soda: This pantry staple is a multi-purpose cleaner. Sprinkle some baking soda onto stubborn stains or burnt spots on your stove or countertop, then scrub gently. It’s also great for deodorizing and unclogging drains.
- Vinegar: A 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle is a versatile, green cleaning alternative to commercial cleaners. You can use it to clean and disinfect your kitchen backsplash or counters, except granite, marble, and other natural stones, which are sensitive to acidic substances and can etch or damage the stone’s finish. You can also use it to clean window sills and shine glass or stainless steel surfaces.
- Lemon: Use lemon slices to remove hard water stains from faucets. Also, a combination of lemon juice and salt can act as a natural scrubber for cutting boards.
Cleaning Hacks for Kitchen Appliances
- Oven: To prevent grime buildup, place a sheet of aluminum foil at the bottom of the oven. But remember, don’t block any vents!
- Blender: After using your blender, add warm water and a drop of dish soap, then blend for a minute. Rinse and let it air dry.
- Toaster: Clean toasters with a pastry brush. It makes it easier to get into the nooks and crannies to sweep away crumbs.
Have Proactive Anti-Mess Strategies
Make kitchen cleaning effortless by solving the mess before it even starts! Here are some examples.
- Stop splatters: Place a microwave-safe bowl of water with a few slices of lemon in the microwave. Heat it for 3-5 minutes. The steam will help loosen up the splatters, making them easier to wipe away.
- Oil your grater: Before grating cheese or other sticky foods, lightly brush the grater with a bit of oil to make cleanup a breeze.
- Boil-over solution: To avoid boil-overs, place a wooden spoon across a pot. This breaks the bubbles and prevents messy spills.
Tricks to Maintain a Clean Refrigerator
Keeping your fridge smelling fresh is essential for ensuring the quality of your stored foods and a pleasant kitchen experience. Here are some practical tips for maintaining a fresh-smelling refrigerator.
- Check the fridge weekly for expired or rotting foods and discard them immediately.
- If something spills or leaks, clean it up right away to prevent the spread of odors.
- Once a month, take everything out and wipe down all the surfaces inside with a mild detergent or a mixture of water and baking soda.
- Place an open box of baking soda inside the fridge to neutralize strong odors and absorb any unwanted scents. Replace every 30 days.
- Another excellent odor absorber, activated charcoal, can be placed in the refrigerator in a perforated container. Replace every couple of months.
- Soak a cotton ball in vanilla extract and place it in a bowl in the refrigerator. It’ll give your fridge a pleasant smell.
- Unused coffee grounds can absorb odors. Place them in a bowl inside the refrigerator and replace them when they start to smell like the odors they’ve absorbed.
- Before storing fruits and vegetables, wash them thoroughly in clean, running water to remove any dirt or bacteria. This can prevent premature rotting and associated smells.
- Use airtight containers, resealable plastic bags, or aluminum foil to cover foods. Exposed foods can release odors and dry out.
- Avoid overcrowding the fridge to ensure proper air circulation, which helps disperse and lessen unwanted odors.
- Place a bowl of oats in the fridge to absorb odors, or use dried herbs like lavender or rosemary for a pleasant aroma.
- Regularly check drip pans. Some refrigerators have drip pans where condensation is collected. If these pans aren’t cleaned regularly, they can start to smell.
- Place a few slices of lemon in the fridge. They will not only absorb odors but also lend a refreshing citrus scent.
A sparkling kitchen doesn’t have to mean hours of scrubbing. With these hacks, you can maintain cleanliness efficiently, giving you more time to whip up your culinary masterpieces or enjoy the cozy ambiance of your kitchen space.