I love cooking. It’s my Zen time. I can immerse myself in the recipe and create dishes that my family loves. The downside to cooking is having to clean. I’m not a huge fan of that part. Lucky for me, I’ve discovered some great kitchen cleaning hacks that make this a simple task. It also leaves time for me to play with the kids before bedtime. Win-win!
Here are eight kitchen cleaning hacks to help you keep things tidy.
How to Clean Stained Food Storage Containers
I hate, hate, hate when I have to use a plastic storage container for leftovers and after removing the food find that the container has been stained. The worst culprits are spaghetti and chili – they leave such a lovely red tint on the container. No more! When you need to clean a stained food storage container, simply wash it thoroughly with soap and water, then let it sit outside in the sun for 8 to 9 hours. The sun’s rays act like nature’s bleach and will make the container clear again.
How to Clean a Blender
I like to put spinach and berries in my smoothie, but it always leaves seeds and tiny green leaf remnants in the blender. I find it rather difficult to clean the blender with a sponge because the blades are in the way. Now I have an easier way to clean my blender! Simply fill it halfway with water and add a few drops of soap; blend for 10-15 seconds on a low speed. Rinse and dry. The blender looks like new again!
How to Clean Stove Burners
While I do love cooking, I don’t like looking at the nasty black color my burners quickly turn after I prepare several meals. After each meal I wipe everything down and have the stove top looking all nice and clean, but those burners stick out like a sore thumb. Luckily, I don’t have to buy new burners anymore, as I’ve discovered an easy way to clean them. To clean burners, put each one in its own plastic bag and add ¼ cup ammonia. Seal the bag, put it on a cookie sheet, and let it sit overnight. (You can let it sit outside to avoid the nasty ammonia smell from stinking up the kitchen.) Wake up in the morning, wipe the burners down with a sponge, and then stand back and marvel at your beautifully clean burners.
How to Clean Burnt Pans
Speaking of cleaning the kitchen, I also hate when my pans are blackened after a cooking session. However, I’ve found a trick for getting them nice and clean. Fill the pan with water so that it just covers the bottom. Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the water, then bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the stove and add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Let is sit for 1 minute. Pour the mixture out. Rub with a scouring pad until clean and ready to be cooked in again.
How to Clean a Dishwasher
While it may sound odd that you need to clean your dishwasher – what with all the soap and water that runs through it daily – it’s something that you need to do once a month. By doing so you’ll ensure it keeps running in tip-top shape and continues to clean those dishes (because let’s be honest, who wants to clean the dishes by hand?). To clean your dishwasher, put 1 cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container and place it on the top rack of an empty dishwasher. Run the dishwasher through the hot-water cycle. Next, sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda all over the bottom of your dishwasher and run it on the short hot-water cycle. Poof! Grime and musty odors have vanished.
How to Clean a Microwave
It’s pretty disgusting when I open the microwave and find specks of food splattered about. Pasta sauce is a terrible culprit for dirtying many a microwave. No one wants to cook food in a dirty microwave. But cleaning it is an easy task. To clean your microwave, cut two lemons into wedges and squeeze the juice into a small, microwave-safe bowl. Add the rinds and 3 cups of water to the bowl. Put the bowl inside the microwave and run it on high for two to three minutes or until it boils vigorously. Once the water boils, let the bowl stand in the microwave for 10 minutes before opening the door. The steam cuts through grease and loosens the food. Open the door and remove the carousel if it has one and place it in hot, soapy water. Wipe down the interior with a damp cloth or sponge. If necessary, repeat the steaming process until your microwave sparkles.
How to Clean a Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals can become pretty nasty pretty fast. It’s rather unappetizing to smell an odor as you wash your fruit for breakfast. To clean your garbage disposal, place a handful of ice cubes down the drain, along with 1 cup of rock salt. Run the disposal for a few minutes. To get rid of the odor, cut up a lemon and place it into the disposal. Run warm water and turn on the disposal again. Odors are replaced with a fresh lemon scent!
How to Clean Marble Countertops
Marble countertops look beautiful in the kitchen, but what happens when someone spills their food or drink and leaves it, which then creates a stain? When a stain makes your lovely, white marble countertops unsightly, mix 5 tablespoons of dish soap with 1 cup of baking soda or flour. Spread the paste over the stain on your countertop and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit overnight, then gently wipe it away with a sponge and warm water. Your countertop is now beautifully white again.
(“Blue gloves” image via Flickr by JMacPherson)