1. Scrub the inside of your stove with a baking soda-water paste.
Combine a box of baking soda with water to form a paste. Fill any openings in the oven with foil. Avoiding bare metal surfaces and the oven door, spread it all over your oven then let it sit overnight. Use a plastic scraper or spatula to remove the paste, wetting as needed, then rinse with water.
2. Clean greasy gas burners in a sealed plastic bag with ammonia.
The V Spot recommends cleaning burners with ammonia: Put the burners in a plastic ziploc, add 1/4 cup of ammonia then seal. Place the bag on a baking sheet and put it outside overnight. The burners don’t need to soak, they just need to be exposted to the fumes. Wip the burners clean with a sponge, or briefly dunk into dishsoapy water. (BTW, never mix bleach with ammonia because it creates toxic fumes.)
3. For electric stoves, use a gentler cleanser.
6. For a ceramic sink, use Barkeeper’s Friend.
Directions at Mrs. January.
7. Don’t forget the disposal!
8. Use this lemon/vinegar ice cube trick to keep the disposal clean in the future.
Freeze lemon slices in vinegar. Run a few cubes through the disposal every few days to keep it fresh.
9. Clean your fridge with baking soda and hot water.
Soap or detergent can leave behind a scent that will affect the food. Get the full clean fridge checklist from Martha Stewart.
10. Next step: reorganize.
EGGS: Middle shelf. MILK, YOGURT, SOUR CREAM, ETC: If possible, bottom shelf where it’s coldest, if not, middle shelf. RAW MEAT: Bottom shelf, where it’s coldest, and so if juices drip down they don’t contaminate other food. VEGETABLES: They need the most humidity. FRUIT: Need a little less humidity than vegetables — keep them in the crisper. DELI MEAT: That’s what the shallow drawer is for. If you don’t have a shallow drawer, put them on the bottom shelf. BUTTER, CHEESE, CONDIMENTS, PASTEURIZED JUICES: They can go in the warmest part of the fridge, the door. Or the top shelf.
13. Clean and reorganize your freezer.
14. Then make your freezer work harder.
Bon Appetit editor Carla Lalli Music tries to have these items in her freezer (pictured above) at all times: frozen peas, edamame, ground turkey, burger patties, chicken cutlets, ravioli, homemade soup, and homemade meatballs in sauce. “Each night I take a look at my freezer and transfer an item into the refrigerator to thaw for the next day,” she says. “Keeping the freezer in rotation means I always have a green vegetable on hand and don’t have to worry about meat spoiling in the fridge during the week.” Get more smart tips in Lalli Music’s post The Working Mom’s Top 5 Tips for Making Dinner Happen.
15. Clean your dishwasher with lemonade Kool-Aid.
The citric acid helps wipe out stains and clean lime deposits. Make sure you run it empty.
16. Steam-clean your microwave with water and lemon.
Microwave some water with lemon juice for three minutes, then let it sit undisturbed for another five. This will loosen any sticky mess inside the microwave, which you can then wipe off with a wet sponge and dishwashing liquid, then rinse.
17. Use a small pastry brush to get crumbs out of the toaster, then clean the tray.
18. Run a drop of soap and water through your blender to clean it.
19. Polish stainless steel appliances with cream of tartar.
20. Run 1 part vinegar + 1 part water through a brew cycle in your coffeemaker.
Then run just water through the cycle twice or until the vinegar smell goes away.
22. Clean wooden cutting boards with lemon and salt.
Directions from Swoon Studio.
23. Then rub them with oil to keep them in good shape.
24. Sharpen your knives.
25. Hose down your trashcan outside or in the bathtub, then use this trick:
26. Reorganize your pantry by food type.
Take everything out. Clean inside with water and vinegar. Then put everything back in keeping in mind what you use most. Make sure the ingredients you use the most are the easiest to tech:
-GRAINS (rice, cereal, pasta)
-OILS and VINEGARS
-CANNED VEGETABLES, FRUITS, SOUPS
-COFFEE & TEA
-NUTS AND DRIED FRUITS
27. Or organize by “zones” like “quick breakfasts” and “lunch on the run.”
Better Homes and Gardens suggests organizing your food into “zones” that match the way you cook. So you’d group the following foods together, making sure the zones you use the most often are the easiest to reach.
-EASY WEEKNIGHT MEALS
-LUNCH ON THE RUN
29. Reorganize your spice rack, and keep a picture of your spices on your phone for reference when shopping.
30. To clear up counter and fridge space, hang a cork board on the inside of a cupboard for grocery lists and recipes.
33. Before you mop, treat yourself to a steam mop.
The ones made by Shark are excellent.
34. Start fresh with new kitchen towels.
These are what chefs use in restaurant kitchens, so you know they can take whatever you throw at them and/or mop up with them. 6 for $25.