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5 Essential DIY Kitchen Cleaning Tricks

5 Essential DIY Kitchen Cleaning Tricks

dirty kitchen

    Whether you have a housemate who never washes their dishes, a spouse who leaves items rotting in the fridge, or kids who decorate your walls with sticky hand-prints, chances are that there’s a mess-causing factor in your kitchen. Hell, it might even be you causing the accumulation of dreck—do you leave spills to coagulate on your counters? Do you scrub the stove top when tomato sauce drips all over it? Whatever the cause of your kitchen-filth, there are ways to tackle it that are effective, easy, and even eco-friendly.

    1. Clean As You Go

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    dirty kitchen

      Most of us have the nasty habit of leaving dishes in the sink to be taken care of at some magical, distant point in the future, and the same goes for spills and stains. Instead of leaving drippings to congeal, or dishes to rot in greasy water, take care of them as you work so they don’t accumulate.

      If you’ve chopped various ingredients for a recipe and the dish is now simmering merrily on the stove, wash some of the dishes. Unless you’re making risotto or something else that requires constant coddling, you can leave it be for 20 minutes and clean up a bit. The more tidying you do as you work, the less you’ll have to do at the end of the meal: no-one wants to clean a mountain of pots and pans when they’re in food-coma mode.

      2. Baking Soda, Salt, and Vinegar

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      Baking Soda Vinegar

        No, this isn’t the basis for a really revolting salad dressing; it’s a list of the three main cleaning products you need for a sparkling clean kitchen. I add tea tree oil and lemon to that list as nice things to have, but they’re not absolutely vital.

        Baking soda is ideal for scrubbing stains off counters, and for scouring stainless-steel sinks to a high shine. It does leave a white film if not rinsed properly, so be sure to wipe surfaces with a wet cloth after you’ve cleaned them.

        Wipe down all your counters with undiluted white vinegar a couple of times a week to disinfect them, and use a 1:4 ratio of vinegar-to-water to wash your floors with as well. You can use  a mildly diluted vinegar spray to clean any glass in your kitchen, and adding a few tablespoons of this sour wonder-liquid to a sink-full of dishwater will help cut through stubborn grease.

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        3. Salt Your Spills

        dirty stove

          If you spill something on your stove top, toss a handful of salt on it: the salt will absorb most of the liquid in the spill, and it’s abrasive enough that it will help to scour away any baked-on mess once the area is cool enough to clean by hand. Use baking soda to scrub off whatever’s left after the salt scrub has been wiped away—you can use an old toothbrush to scour crevices and hard-to-clean spots. Just be sure to wipe everything well with a damp cloth so you don’t end up with filmy white residue later.

          Keep Your Microwave Lemony-Fresh

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          clean your microwave oven

            Have you noticed that the insides of most microwaves are spattered with stains? This happens when liquids or saucy dishes are heated up without lids on, so they end up splattering  droplets all over the place. These are easy to clean if caught immediately, but if you don’t do so and use the thing every day to reheat everything from coffee to entrees, those little droplets will cling to the interior walls like bad exes.

            The best way to get these driblets to release their hold is to steam them off: fill a microwave-safe shallow bowl with several lemon slices, and then fill 3/4 with water. Heat this on “high” for 4-5 minutes, use oven mitts or tea towels to remove the bowl without burning yourself, and then wipe down the now-softened stains. They’ll come right off, and your microwave will smell fantastic for about a week, as long as you don’t nuke fish or durian in it.

            5. Put Baking Soda in the Trash Can

            Trash can

              This is another trick that can work absolute wonders to reduce vile odours in the kitchen. The next time you take out the trash, give your kitchen garbage can a solid wash—first with dish soap, and then with a vinegar/water rinse. Once the interior is completely dry, sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda at the bottom before putting in a new garbage bag.

              The dry soda will absorb any liquid that may leak from the bottom of the bag, and will trap any gross smells that may be floating about. Just make sure to wash out the used-up soda every few weeks and replenish it with fresh powder, or else it’ll get stale and start to stink.

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              Catherine Winter

              Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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              Last Updated on November 19, 2019

              20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

              20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

              Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

              If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

              1. Create a Daily Plan

              Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

              2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

              Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

              3. Use a Calendar

              Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

              I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

              Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

              4. Use an Organizer

              An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

              These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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              5. Know Your Deadlines

              When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

              But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

              6. Learn to Say “No”

              Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

              Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

              7. Target to Be Early

              When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

              For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

              Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

              8. Time Box Your Activities

              This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

              You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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              9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

              Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

              10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

              Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

              You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

              11. Focus

              Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

              Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

              Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

              12. Block out Distractions

              What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

              I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

              When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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              Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

              13. Track Your Time Spent

              When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

              You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

              14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

              You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

              Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

              15. Prioritize

              Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

              Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

              16. Delegate

              If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

              When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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              17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

              For related work, batch them together.

              For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

              1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
              2. coaching
              3. workshop development
              4. business development
              5. administrative

              I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

              18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

              What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

              One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

              While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

              19. Cut off When You Need To

              The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

              Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

              20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

              Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

              More Time Management Techniques

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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