With cooking messes, dirty dishes, and plenty of traffic, it feels like I spend so much of my week keeping the kitchen clean. Keeping the kitchen “clean enough” throughout the week is simple enough, but every kitchen needs a good thorough cleaning every once in a while.
Of course, I have a thousand other things I’d rather be doing than spending an entire weekend deep cleaning my oven or trying to figure out how to get that smell out of the garbage disposal.
That’s where these cleaning hacks come in. They’re easy, simple, and use items you already have at home. Before you know it, your kitchen will be sparkling!
Make Your Stainless Steel Sink Look New
If your stainless steel sink has seen better days and is looking a little dull, this trick will change your life. You’re going to polish that thing until it looks new, with something I guarantee you already have. It’s cheap, simple, and completely unexpected: flour.
Start by washing the sink and drying it completely. This is important, because any drop of water will turn that flour into goo. Then, just give your sink a thick dusting of flour, buff it with a paper towel or soft cloth, and watch as it magically begins to get shiny!
Clean Your Oven In Your Sleep
If your oven is a mess of baked-on food, grease, and grime, don’t turn on that auto-clean. It sounds easy, but this high-temp oven setting really just burns up spills and dried-on food — leaving your kitchen smelling yucky and potentially setting off the fire alarm.
Instead, fill a spray bottle with ½ cup of water, ½ cup of white vinegar, and ½ cup of baking soda. While the oven is cool, remove the grates and coat the inside of the oven with this solution (avoiding the heating elements!). You can leave this solution for up to 12 hours (aka overnight while you sleep!) to work its magic before wiping the oven down with soapy water.
Clean Those Oven Racks Too
While you’ve got those gunked-up oven racks out, let’s clean them, too! And hey, if you’ve got a toaster oven, you can do those racks at the same time. All you need is a bathtub and some dishwasher detergent.
Before you begin, line the bottom of your bathtub with old towels to help prevent it from getting scratched by your oven racks. Then lay the racks on top, and fill your bathtub with very hot water until they are covered. Add ½ cup of dishwasher detergent — powder or liquid is fine — and swish it around. Let the racks soak for at least eight hours, and the gunk should be soft and easy to wipe off!
No More Smelly Disposal
Smelly garbage disposals are off-putting, to say the least. But even if you’ve cleaned the visible parts and flushed the system, there are likely still smells and yucky bacteria lurking around in there. We’re going to remedy that with some basic items you probably already have.
Simply fill an ice tray with small chunks of lemon, rock salt, and, of course, water. Once frozen, toss those cubes down the drain and run your garbage disposal until the ice cubes are gone. Not only will the ice, coarse salt, and acid from the lemons help scrub the blades, the salt and lemon will also naturally deodorize.
Rock salt is best because of its coarse texture, but if you don’t have it, kosher salt will work just fine as an alternative.
Restore Your Dishwasher to Its Former Glory
When I was a kid, my mom never bought me Tang. These days, I buy it for myself, but I’m not drinking it. No, that powdered orange drink is for the dishwasher.
If your dishwasher isn’t quite cleaning like it used to, it might be because hard water deposits can build up over time. To restore it to its former glory, dump a container of Tang into an empty dishwasher. Let the machine run a full cycle, and it’ll be ready to go for the next round of dirty dishes.