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10 Cleaning Tricks for Everyday Kitchen Messes (No Chemicals Needed!)

Time-saving cleaning hacks that actually work? Yes, please!

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Cleaning accessories with baking soda,sponges and lemon on wooden surfaceShutterstock / Cherries

Sidestep the disappointment of a chemical cleaner that promises wonders and leaves what you’ve “cleaned” just the way it was before, only lemon scented. With these cleaning tricks, you can actually achieve much better results—and your pocketbook will thank you! Here, we’ve got the goods on how to de-gross, sanitize and spiff up your kitchen. To keep it that way, remember this one-minute rule.

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Neon colored pipe cleanersShutterstock / Dana Zurkiyeh

Pipe clean your way to a sparkling plastic container

The quintessential crafting staple is no slouch when it comes to kitchen cleaning hacks. You can fold it and use to reach to those awkward corners of your plastic containers or slide them through your reusable straws. Pipe cleaners are also incredibly handy when cleaning your knife block– yep, you should be cleaning it!

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Using blender for making a healthy smoothieCreative Family/Shutterstock

Work your blender with this miracle wash

We love a good smoothie, but the mess deep down in the grooves of the blade afterward? Not so much. To clean it more effectively than your dishwasher or even a long soak in the sink can do, rinse it out and fill it right back up with two cups of warm soapy water. Run the blender for 10 to 20 seconds. This trick works for all types of blenders.

Need a deep clean? Check out our complete blender guide.

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The girl is rubbing Dutch cheese on a graterShutterstock / Semeniaka Aleksandr

Spray before you grate

If you’ve ever torn your cleaning sponge trying to clean your cheese grater, we feel you. Ditto to those who have opened the dishwasher to find hardened on cheese fragments—eww. Avoid it all with this one simple step before you grate.

A generous coating of cooking spray will make grating an easier task, and all those errant pieces will have nothing to cling to and slide right off. And that’s just the start of genius uses for cooking spray—here are 16 other ways you can make the most of this mighty spray!

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Human Hand Putting Sliced Lemon In Bowl Near Open MicrowaveShutterstock / Andrey_Popov

Steam out the microwave mess

When nobody follows your rule about covering food before nuking it, we all know what comes next. A stinky, sticky microwave interior that nobody wants to be stuck cleaning. If that happens to be you, (in my house it’s always me), save yourself some serious elbow grease with this cleaning trick.

Mix 1/2 to 3/4 cup water with two tablespoons of baking soda, and heat it in the microwave until boiling (usually between four and five minutes). Psst! You can also clean sponges in the microwave using this method!

To mix it up with a different scent, substitute baking soda for sliced lemons, limes or oranges. And if you’ve got vanilla extract on hand, you can add a few droplets to the cup of water for yet another fresh smelling alternative.

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Female hand wiping down front part of stainless steel dishwasher with microfiber towelShutterstock / tab62

Give your appliances the baby treatment

For a fast and efficient way to de-grease your appliances, grab a soft cloth, dish soap and a bottle of baby oil. It’s a two-step process but the finished product is well worth the effort. Dampen the cloth with water and dish soap and take care to rub with the grain of the material. Follow this step with a soft cloth dipped in baby oil and you’ll remove any smudges, grease spots, or fingerprints while also replenishing the surface.

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Vintage stylish faucet in the kitchenShutterstock / abd

Buff your metal faucets with laundry sheets (and club soda)

Get rid of those unsightly hard water stains and mineral deposits with a dryer sheet! No really—even the used ones that come will work just fine. Just fold them up and buff your faucets for a like-new sheen.

If you’ve got stainless steel sinks, try club soda! A clean sponge dampened with the carbonated beverage is all it takes to make your sink gleam.

This cleaning mistake could be ruining your fancy faucets.

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Baking brushShutterstock / Julia Liang B Nielsen

Brush away toaster crumbs

If you’ve got a toaster, you’ve got crumbs. Both the upright and toaster oven types are notorious for trapping minuscule crumbs that make the whole appliance look, well, gross. Invest in a cleaning-only pastry brush—here is one option.

Pastry brushes are the perfect length for cleaning crumbs out of those hard to reach spots. We like it better than the oft-recommended toothbrush—the bristles on a pastry brush are longer and stiffer, making it more effective to sweep out old pieces of food. (And don’t forget to empty the crumb tray regularly!)

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Clean kitchen with kettle on stovetop and concrete countertops in an apartmentShutterstock / Cabeca de Marmore

Scrape your stovetop edge to spic and span perfection

You know that teeny tiny opening between your counter and stovetop? It’s a magnet for the bitty pieces of meals past. Yuck. Get it out of there and into the trash with a damp cloth and a sharp knife. Wrap the damp cloth around the knife and carefully scrape in those crevices. We don’t recommend using a kitchen knife as it can dull or bend the blade. Read about the ways you’re abusing your kitchen knives without knowing it.

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Syrup and Lemon Slices.Shutterstock / ffolas

Boil away any kitchen odor

When one too many meals prepped has your kitchen smelling less than fresh, grab the vinegar and hit up your spice rack. Mix one cup of vinegar with a tablespoon of cloves and heat to boiling; your kitchen will smell fresh and clean in 10 minutes. Cloves not your thing? Try any of these other simmering potporris—they’re even better than your favorite scented candle.

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Raw Organic Red Rhubarb Ready to UseShutterstock / Brent Hofacker

Banish your burnt pan scrubbing routine with rhubarb

Who among us hasn’t dealt with her fair share of burnt pans? They are a nightmare to clean—unless you have rhubarb. No, that is not a typo. For best results, chop it up and boil for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool, then dump out the contents, rinse, and relish in this new cleaning hack! No rhubarb on hand? Don’t miss these 20+ ways to easily clean your pots and pans.

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A studio photo of pots and pansShutterstock / Kitch Bain

Ketchup clean your way to stain-free cookware

If you’ve got stainless steel cookware marked by stubborn stains, all is not lost. The answer, in fact, is in your refrigerator condiment section.

With a bit of ketchup (yep!) and steel wool, you can coax those pans back to shine. Who knew that the acid in tomato ketchup had such stellar cleaning properties? Here are other ways you can clean with ketchup!

Rebecca Walden
Rebecca C. Walden is a freelance writer with Deep South roots - an Alabama native now living in north Texas. Her writing has appeared in Reader's Digest, the Huffington Post, Southern Living, and many other regional publications, focusing on everything from health and wellness to parenting, family, and women's interests. Walden also provides freelance writing to corporate clients in finance, government, healthcare, and higher education. Check out her latest work @rebeccacwalden.com.

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