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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 January 21, 2020

              The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

              The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

              Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

              your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                Why You Need a Vision

                Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                How to Create Your Life Vision

                Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                What Do You Want?

                The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                Some tips to guide you:

                • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                • Give yourself permission to dream.
                • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                Some questions to start your exploration:

                • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                • What qualities would you like to develop?
                • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                • What would you most like to accomplish?
                • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                A few prompts to get you started:

                • What will you have accomplished already?
                • How will you feel about yourself?
                • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                • What does your ideal day look like?
                • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                • What would you be doing?
                • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                • How are you dressed?
                • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                Plan Backwards

                It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                • What important actions would you have had to take?
                • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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