Diane loves cooking, baking, and creating delicious meals for her family of 5. She prefers using natural and non-toxic cleaning products.
Most would agree that cleaning the kitchen at the end of the day is their least favorite chore. It's especially loathsome after spending time prepping and cooking a big meal for your family. Who wants to get up after dinner and go spend the rest of the evening in the kitchen? Hard pass, thanks.
One of the biggest favors you can do for yourself as you are cooking is to clean up as you go. Waiting on that water to boil? Give the cutting board a quick scrub. Chicken baking in the oven? Sanitize those counter tops and put away all those seasonings you just used. You get the idea. Taking a few minutes to clean up while you are waiting on your dinner to cook is going to save you the hassle of facing a disaster zone in the kitchen when your meal is over.
Here are 9 kitchen hot spots where I use time saving tricks to keep things clean and tidy, even in the middle of making a meal:
2. Pots and Pans
6. Counter Tops
8. Garbage Disposal
9. Stainless Steel Appliances
Always hand wash and dry those sharp knives. I know the box said they are dishwasher safe...and for the most part, they are. The best way to get the longest mileage out of those kitchen knives is to make sure they don't sit dirty or wet in the sink or dishwasher over night. Hand washing and drying will keep them rust free, and you can also be certain that there are no traces of dried food stuck to the blade. It's also a plus that hand washing a couple knives is a quick task. Just take care not to cut yourself in the process.
2. Pots and Pans
Food stuck to the bottom of the pan? As soon as you take the prepared food from the pot or pan, fill it with enough water to cover the bottom, then place the pan back onto the hot burner. (The burner can be off at this point unless it is a gas cook top.) The water will heat up in the hot pan and begin to loosen the stuck on food, making clean up so much less frustrating.
Stop reaching your hand into the bottom of that sharp blender to try and reach and clean every crevice! Once you are finished blending up that smoothie, fill the blender half way up with warm water and some dish soap, and then turn the blender back on. Many blenders now even have "clean" button. After your blender has mixed the soap and water sufficiently, give it a through rinse and it will be good to go!
No longer do you need to break a sweat from scrubbing the dried off food splatters on the inside of a microwave. Grab any microwave safe cup, mug, or bowl and fill it with a 50:50 solution of water and white distilled vinegar. (I typically use a 1 cup glass measuring cup for this task.) Microwave the water/vinegar mixture for 3-5 minutes, then let sit for around another 5 minutes before grabbing a damp rag or sponge to easily wipe away last week's reheated leftovers.
Pyrex glass measuring cups are the perfect container to heat up vinegar and water in the microwave.
Kitchen trashcans can get smelly rather quickly. Their stench can stick around even after disposing of it's stinky contents. To keep the bin smelling fresh, grab 3-4 cotton balls and your favorite essential oil. Peppermint oil seems to work best, but lemon also gets the job done! Use around 4-6 drops of oil on each cotton ball, then put the cotton balls on bottom of the bin before placing the new trash bag on top. The peppermint and/or citrus oils will help neutralize any lingering smells.
6. Counter Tops
Keeping kitchen counter tops de-cluttered not only allows for more work space, but also makes the kitchen look and feel bigger and cleaner. Try to only keep out the appliances and tools that get used daily. Even better: store those frequently used small appliances in an easy-to-reach spot in a cabinet or drawer.
7. Garbage Disposal
Ever notice a stench coming from the sink? Garbage disposals are wonderful for getting rid of food scraps and keeping the kitchen sink drain clear. Over time, they can get a little gunky and smelly. Cleaning it out only requires baking soda, white distilled vinegar, lemon, and hot water. First, dump some baking soda into the disposal. Then slowly start to pour the distilled white vinegar into the drain and watch the baking soda start to bubble. You can repeat this baking soda and vinegar process a few times, if needed. Turn on the water as hot as it will go to rinse out the drain. Throw a couple small pieces of cut up lemon into the drain, and turn on the disposal while the hot water is still running. This process will clean and freshen the disposal and sink.
White distilled vinegar works in place of those more expensive (and chemical laden) rinse aids. Not only is it more cost effective, but it's a more natural and healthy way to clean dishes. Don't forget to check the filter in the bottom of your dishwasher as well. Many models have a removable fine mesh filter that should be cleaned out a few times a week, if not every day. Keeping that filter clean will help keep the dishwasher smelling fresh and functioning at it's best.
9. Stainless Steel Appliances
Many homes now have stainless steel appliances. Despite the claims of "fingerprint free" stainless steel, those of us who own machines in this finish, know that claim to be untrue. It's amazing the amount of difference a quick nightly wipe down of all the stainless steel surfaces can make in the appearance of the kitchen. While fingerprints and drips may not take up any physical space in the room, they do take up visual space creating the illusion of clutter. If you walk into your clean kitchen and something still feels "off" it's probably the fingerprint laden appliances. Grab your favorite stainless steel cleaner and watch the whole room shine.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Diane McDaniel