Cleaning the kitchen is never going to be as fun as, say, a weekend at the beach. Or even as fun as cleaning your room. But it's gotta get done because living in a vermin-free home is an important part of being a successful adult. And even if you don't have a single cleaning product in your home, you can still totally make your kitchen sparkle. Plus, there's a certain feeling of pride you'll get when you manage to clean your oven with nothing but lemon juice and a rubber band.
Quick note on safety: Many essential oils are highly concentrated and can pose a danger to cats and dogs. If you have pets, do some research on ingredients to avoid. Here's a great place to start.
1. Natural Refrigerator Cleanser
Because it's cold enough not to smell bad, the fridge is often forgotten when it comes to keeping the kitchen clean. But that's where you keep your food, so don't let it get gross. The bad news is, yes, you will definitely have to take everything out of it. The good news? All you need to do after that is give everything a quick spray with this mixture of two parts water and one part white vinegar (plus some lemon oil to make it smell nice), and wipe it out. â¨
Learn how to make an easy, natural refrigerator cleanser from One Good Thing by Jillee.
2. DIY Cleansing Wipes
Disposable cleansing wipes can get pretty expensive and are bad for the Earth to boot. But it's surprisingly simple to make your own reusable ones with an old T-shirt, equal parts vinegar and filtered water, and some drops of essential oils. Bonus: They smell awesome.
To find out how, head over to DIY Natural.
3. DIY Lemon Cleanser
It's easy to make a homemade natural disinfectant with just borax, citrus peel, and vinegar. This DIY spray is good for cleaning kitchen surfaces, and does double duty in the bathroom as well.â¨â¨
Find out how on One Good Thing By Jillee.
4. Easy Oven Cleaner
Oven cleaning doesn't have to involve lots of harsh chemicals. In fact, all it takes is a little elbow grease with a mixture of 1/2 cup baking soda and a few tablespoons of water. â¨â¨Wear gloves!
Get the how-to from The Kitchn.
5. Deep-Clean Cutting Boards
Wooden cutting boards that see a lot of use can have a grimy build-up on the surface. To freshen up your cutting board, halve a lemon, pour a generous amount of salt on the board, and use the lemon as if it were a sponge to scrub off any old residue. Next, use a scraper to scape up the salt and lemon mixture. Finally, rinse with water and set out to dry.
Get the recipe from Jamie Oliver.
6. Refresh Your Coffee Pot
Frequent use and a narrow opening make coffee pots of all kinds hard to clean. Happily, all it takes is a quick vinegar rinse to freshen up a coffee pot and remove built-up coffee and water stains. Running a mixture of vinegar and water through your coffee maker can also freshen drip machines.
Get the how-to from The Kitchn.
7. Easy Way to Clean the Microwave
The ease with which microwaved food explodes leads to a lot of microwave messes that need to be cleaned. And since you'll be making food you want to eat in that microwave, you'll want a natural, totally easy way to clean it. And you can! Put a wet sponge inside, spray the whole inside with water mixed with essential oils, and microwave for two minutes. Let the sponge cool, use it to wipe everything up, and you're done.
Get the details from One Good Thing by Jillee.
8. Clean Cast Iron
Since you can't use soap on cast iron, clean and protect your cast iron skillet by cleaning any gunk with a mixture of olive oil and salt. Simply pour a tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet, add coarse sea salt, and scrub with a cloth. Once the skillet is clean, wipe out the salt and finish with a thin layer of olive oil.
Get the recipe from The Cookie Rookie.
9. Freshen the Dishwasher
It may not have occurred to you that your dishwasher needs to be cleaned, seeing as how it is a thing for cleaning itself, but in fact every now and again it's a good idea to freshen things up. Getting a fresher dishwasher is as simple as running a cycle with vinegar and another to rinse. Easy!
Learn the easy way to freshen the dishwasher from One Good Thing by Jillee.
10. Bon Ami and Bar Keeper's Friend
Strictly speaking, this isn't a kitchen hack since it's using cleaning products for their intended purpose (cleaning), but Bon Ami and Bar Keeper's Friend are two relatively obscure cleaners you should have in your kitchen. Bon Ami works wonders on enamel and Bar Keeper's Friend is great for stainless steel, both of which feature prominently in well-appointed contemporary kitchens.
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Elizabeth Stark is a food writer with a passion for seasonal food, great desserts, and inadvisable wine pairings. Read more on her blog, Brooklyn Supper.
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