Picking kids up from soccer practice, going to work, cooking dinner, making time for the gym, dropping kids off at dance lessons, doing laundry, trying to spend time with your spouse… the list goes on. The fact is, there is never enough time. Cooking, eating and cleaning can easily eat up the last bit of time you had left in your day.
Here are 15 kitchen cleaning hacks for you to make cleanup a little faster and a lot easier:
1. Remember your ABC's
"Always Be Cleaning." If you continually clean, there will rarely be a big mess to clean up. Once you put dinner in the oven, wash the dishes. As you walk through the house, pick up the dirty clothes and start a load of laundry. Tidy as you go and teach your children to do the same. Teach them to put things away before leaving a room.
2. Never scrub a caked on mess again
Here's your solution to caked on messes from lasagna or casserole dishes: put hot water in the dish, place a dryer sheet into the pan and let it soak overnight. The mess wipes right off in the morning.
3. Prevent container stains
Does your leftover pasta or red sauces stain your food storage containers? Spray the containers with cooking spray first. No more stains and easy cleanup for later!
Always keep your sponges and dishcloths clean to avoid spreading germs by laundering them daily (or at least setting out a clean one every day). Run sponges through the dishwasher cycle when doing dishes. For more ideas on how to thoroughly clean your neglected dishrags, sponges and other things, click here.
5. Freeze your plastic wrap
This keeps it from sticking to itself when you tear off a piece - seriously. Easy-to-work-with plastic wrap avoids frustration when putting away leftovers. Simply keep the box of plastic wrap in the freezer all the time.
6. Refresh your dishwasher
Brown, pink or green buildup in your dishwasher? No matter the color, toss a couple scoops of powdered Tang or lemon Kool Aid in and run the empty dishwasher through a complete cycle. The acidic powder will leave your dishwasher as good as new.
7. Steam your microwave
Chemicals and hard scrubbing can ruin the interior of your microwave. Pour one cup water and one tablespoon vinegar in a glass jar. Microwave on high for five minutes and the mess will wipe right up.
Bonus tip: If you want an invigorating smell, try using lemons instead of vinegar. Then, run the lemons and a couple ice cubes through your sink's garbage disposal to freshen up the smell and sharpen the blades.
8. Remove sticky dust
That gross layer of dust covering your stovetop overhang will now come off with this trick. Put some cooking or mineral oil on a paper towel and wipe the surface clean. Follow with dish soap and warm water to clean off the oil residue.
9. Wipe away the crusty stove top
Scrubbing at a crusty, burnt-on mess usually doesn't do much (no matter how much elbow grease you use). Combine baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste. Cover the stove top. Allow it to sit for 45 minutes and wipe away - no elbow grease required.
10. Make your stove burners shine
Stove top burners quickly look dingy from accumulated stains cooked to a hardened surface. Take them off from the stove, put them in a garbage bag with just enough ammonia to cover them, tie the bag up to soak overnight and they will look brand new the next morning.
11. Goodbye dirty oven
Coat the inside of your oven with a mixture of baking soda, water and dish soap. Let it soak for at least 15 minutes and wipe off the residue. Take a clean rag and wipe over it once more to thoroughly rinse it. Your oven will be sparkling clean.
12. Dust the blinds
Blinds are dust collectors. Wrap a pair of tongs in microfiber cloths with one on each side. Secure the cloths with rubber bands. Place a blind in the middle of the tongs and rub the dust away with side to side motions.
13. Remove calcium buildup
Is your showerhead or sink faucet covered in hard water? Is the calcium buildup causing it to spray in crazy directions or blocking it from spraying all together? Fill a plastic bag with vinegar. Place the faucet in the bag and tightly secure it with a rubberband. Let it soak for an hour. The calcium buildup will dissolve. Click here for the tutorial.
14. Freshen up the cutting boards
Clean and freshen your wooden cutting boards by rubbing salt on the surface with half a lemon.
15. Clean the refrigerator
Once a week, take inventory of what is in your fridge. Throw expired things away and make sure you're not growing moldy science experiments in leftover food. This will help your kitchen smell clean and fresh while helping you know what needs to go on next week's grocery list.
Bonus tip: pleasant aromas make a house feel like a home. Make your house smell amazing by simmering a pot of water with orange slices, a few sprigs of rosemary and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Watch the tutorial here.
You've got a busy schedule, but your kitchen doesn't have to show that. Follow these tips to keep people wondering how you do it all.