16 Kitchen Cleaning Shortcuts

Get a spotless kitchen without a lot of extra effort with these 16 quick, effective kitchen-cleaning hacks 

kitchen cleaning tips

How to Clean Toasters and Small Appliances
Put a pinch of cream of tartar on a damp sponge to scrub the exterior of toasters, stand mixers and small appliances; the citric acid in the powder will help break down that film that develops over time.

How to Clean Burnt-on Food from a Pot
Ever put a pot of oatmeal on in the morning and semi-forget about it? Or leave rice on the stove for just a touch too long? Before you sit down to eat, grab a dryer sheet, fill the dirty pot with warm water, and toss the dryer sheet in. By the time you’re ready to do dishes, the solution in that laundry helper will have created a few suds in the water; use the sheet to wipe down the sides and bottom of the pot, and the burnt food will slide right out. For tougher cases, leave the dryer sheet and water in the pot overnight.

How to Clean Your Cheese Grater
It might not be the most lauded tool in your kitchen, but boy does your cheese grater get a workout—and provide pretty great results. But if your cheese grater’s taken a beating lately, grate a potato or apple to freshen the appliance up and remove any bits of dried-on cheese.

How to Clean Wooden Cutting Boards
Don’t clean a wooden cutting board with soap and water. Instead, wipe it down with hydrogen peroxide or vinegar to disinfect. Then, sprinkle coarse salt across the whole surface and rub it into the wood using a half of a lemon (squeeze it a tiny bit first). This trick rids the board of any stains or odors in a snap. To wrap up, wipe the board dry, and when it’s totally dry, rub some mineral oil into the wood to keep it nice and healthy.

How to Clean Your Dishwasher
Real Simple discovered a genius way to rid your dishwasher of lime deposits and iron stains. After you’ve put the clean dishes away, sprinkle a packet of lemonade Kool-Aid into the detergent cup (other flavors don’t work; the citric acid in the lemon is what we need here), and run the empty dishwasher on a normal cycle. Alternatively, you can also clean your dishwasher the same way using a cup of vinegar instead of Kool-Aid.

How to Deep-Clean Your Coffee Maker 
Pour equal parts white vinegar and water (for a 5-cup machine, 2.5 cups of each) into the coffee pot’s water chamber and start brewing. Halfway through the cycle, turn the machine off and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour before finishing the cycle. Run a few plain water cycles and wash the basket and pot with soapy water. You’ll get a better tasting brew—and cut down on germs lurking inside.

How to Get Rid of Food Odors
A reader over at Lifehacker submitted this smart trick, apparently a go-to move for realtors: Pour two little caps of vanilla into a mug, and place it on the oven at 300 for an hour. (Let it cool completely before removing the mug.) The whole place will have an intoxicating vanilla smell.

How to Clean Underneath the Refrigerator 
Dust and plenty of food particles find their way under your refrigerator, a notoriously tough place to clean. Stretch an old pair of panty hose over a broom or mop handle, then drag the handle from one side of the fridge to the other, angling it toward you so it pushes dirt, dust, and those dried bits and pieces out onto the tile. Vacuum the pile (and toss the panty hose).