They say life happens in the kitchen — but unfortunately so do germs. In fact, the kitchen is one of the top spots for incubating bacteria, and one study concluded it’s actually the germiest place in your home. (Yup, it even beat out the bathroom.) So keeping this high-traffic, bacteria-loving area clean can be a full-time job.
Now, thanks to Pinterest, there’s an overload of cleaning hacks available, but it can be difficult to narrow down which ones actually work. We rounded up the very best germ-annihilating kitchen cleaning tips you can accomplish in a short amount of time. As a bonus, none of them require toxic chemicals or pricey products; instead, they rely on common items you probably have lying around.
Even if you’re not lucky enough to have a live-in maid, you can achieve a spotless kitchen without spending hours scrubbing by using these 16 kitchen cleaning hacks.
1. Get rid of coffee ground residue with white bread
Grinding your own coffee beans at home is great because it delivers you fresh, delicious brew without the exorbitant price of those coffee chain ventis. What’s not so great, however, is trying to clean out leftover grounds without getting the grinder wet, which could potentially damage the motor.
The solution? Martha Stewart suggests white bread. Take a piece of regular old bread, and rip it up into pieces. Put them in the grinder, and turn it on. The bread acts as a natural magnet for the grounds and gets into those nooks and crevices without a problem.
Next: All you need to clean this common kitchen tool are lemons and salt.
2. Use lemon and sea salt to clean wooden cutting boards
Your cutting boards take a beating. And if you happen to use wooden ones, cleaning them in the dishwasher can cause warping and cracking. Get rid of discoloration, and make them look new again by cleaning them with lemon and salt, according to this guide from The Kitchn.
First, sprinkle the cutting board generously with coarse sea salt. Next, cut a lemon in half, and use it to buff your board. Rinse, repeat as necessary, and air dry. Voila! Your cutting board will look like new again — and as a bonus, it will smell like lemonade.
Next: Blender cleaning in a few seconds? Yes!
3. Clean your blender with hot water and soap
This one seems like a no-brainer yet somehow still feels like a revelation. Rather than awkwardly trying to scrub out your blender, which can be risky with those sharp blades, make the appliance do the work for you instead.
After blending your morning smoothie, simply add hot water and a little bit of dish soap, and turn the blender on high speed. Like magic, it’ll be clean and ready for action.
Next: Get glassware gleaming with this common kitchen staple.
4. Revitalize glass cookware with aluminum foil
Chances are your glass cookware has a little bit of baked on casserole (or brownies) stuck in the corners. The solution to this problem couldn’t be simpler. To tackle this cleaning hack, crumple up a piece of aluminum foil. Squirt a few drops of dish soap into the glassware, and then use the aluminum foil as a scouring tool to break up baked on messes. Rinse out your dish, and prepare to be amazed.
Next: The easiest way to clean the oven
5. Clean inside the oven with baking soda and dish soap
No judgment, but here’s a serious question: When is the last time you really cleaned your oven? Although your oven might have a self-cleaning setting, even that method can leave behind residue.
To effectively tackle a yucky oven, follow the advice of Martha Stewart and whip up a mixture including 1 cup of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of dish soap, and a little bit of water. (You’ll want it to be a pancake batter-like consistency.) Use a towel or your fingers to spread it all around in the oven, focusing on the dirtiest spots. Let the mix sit for 15 minutes. Then, tackle the inside with a sponge or scouring pad, and the baked-on mess will wipe right off.
Next: Finally, there’s a way to get the sticky off the vent hood.
6. Clear up a sticky vent hood with cooking oil
Its close proximity to the stovetop means your vent hood sees its fair share of cooking splatter. Thanks to all the built-up stickiness, dust gets stuck there and can’t be wiped clean, no matter how many times you try.
Luckily, the way to fight back against oil is actually with oil. Simply wipe down your vent hood with a bit of cooking oil or mineral oil, and watch the dust wipe away like magic. It really is that easy.
Next: Grimy grates? Clean them up with this cheap solution.
7. Make stovetop grates look new again with baking soda and vinegar
There are a few methods for getting grimy grates clean, but the most natural (and effective) solution we found uses just regular baking soda and vinegar.
First, sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda into a small dish. Wet an old toothbrush, and dip it into the baking soda. Use the toothbrush to scrub your grates thoroughly. You’ll need to use your muscles a little bit here — consider it your arm workout for the day. For tougher dirt, apply a baking soda and vinegar mixture, allow it to sit on the dirtiest spots for a few minutes, and then scrub it away.
Alternately, you can clean grates by sealing them individually in zip-top plastic bags with ¼ cup of ammonia. Allow your grates to soak overnight. In the morning, even the most caked-on grease and grime will wipe right off. (Remember never to mix ammonia with other household cleaners, especially bleach.)
Next: You should really clean this overlooked area more often.
8. De-gunk your stove vent filter with Borax
Vent filters are there to attract grease and grime, but how often do you take the time to clean yours? Well, now is the time to try it because this tip couldn’t be easier. Take ¼ cup of Borax, and add it to a sink filled with hot water. Take down your vent filters, and let them soak in that solution for at least 15 minutes. You won’t believe the before and after results on this hack.
Next: Easily remove burnt on bits from pots and pans with this simple hack.
9. Scour burnt pots and pans with baking soda and water
It’s no secret that baking soda is any clean freak’s best friend. This simple, nontoxic household necessity can tackle cleaning projects in every room of your home. What you might not know, however, is how it can help get your pots and pans shining like new again.
To accomplish this trick, sprinkle some baking soda into your pot, and pour water on top. Then, bring to a boil. That’s it. The combination will loosen burnt-on bits, allowing you to wipe them away with ease.
Next: Get your cast iron looking new again for pennies.
10. Refresh your cast iron pan with salt
Cooking with cast iron is delicious, but because you should never use soap to clean it, things can get a little messy. To keep your cast iron cookware looking fantastic, Martha Stewart recommends this simple trick. Pour 1 cup of coarse sea salt into your skillet while it’s still warm. Use a clean, dry kitchen towel to scour, and then rinse with hot water. Dry thoroughly with a different towel or heat the skillet on low to evaporate the moisture.
Next: The best no-scrub way to get your microwave looking so fresh.
11. Clean your microwave with vinegar
Let’s face it: No one likes cleaning the microwave. All those stuck-on bits of food are seriously gross, and maneuvering yourself into the corners to clean them all out is a real hassle. But thankfully, the solution to cleaning this daily use appliance couldn’t be easier.
Martha Stewart recommends a bit of ingenuity for this cleaning hack. All you need to do is microwave 1 cup of vinegar for three minutes in a large glass container. The fumes from the vinegar work to break down caked-on food particles, so all you need to do is give a quick wipe down to the sides, bottom, and top with a damp cloth or sponge to clean them all out.
Next: Make your stainless steel appliances sparkle.
12. Polish stainless steel appliances with WD-40
Forget the fancy formulations, and venture out to the garage for a can’t-miss cleaning hack that’s perfect for your stainless steel. A little bit of WD-40 on a clean cloth is all you need to abolish fingerprints and get your appliances sparkling like new again.
Next: Get a clean sink in 30 seconds with this weird trick.
13. Revitalize a stainless steel sink with flour
This kitchen cleaning hack couldn’t be simpler. To brighten up dull stainless steel sinks, sprinkle a generous amount of flour around the sides and bottom, and then use a clean cloth to buff out water stains. Rinse it all down the drain, polish it up with a dry cloth, and you’re done.
Next: The quickest, easiest way to tackle a messy fridge.
14. Freshen up the inside the fridge
The inside of your fridge can get pretty disgusting if you don’t clean it every once in a while, and the easiest solution is to tackle it like it’s just another dirty dish.
Start by removing all the food and beverages. This is a great time to weed through expired condiments, and toss all of those old Chinese takeout containers. With your food safely packed away in coolers, remove all the shelves and drawers, and wash them in the sink with hot soapy water. If they fit, you can even get the drawers clean by running them through the dishwasher.
You should attempt to do this deep clean at least once every three months. Trust us — the results are worth it.
Next: A homemade way to kill germs lurking on your countertops.
15. Disinfect your countertops
Your countertops see a lot of spills and messes, and wiping with a sponge simply isn’t enough to get them clean and sanitized. At least once a week you’ll want to do a deeper clean to keep these surfaces looking spectacular.
For granite countertops, use a homemade cleaner made up of ¼ cup rubbing alcohol, three drops of liquid dish soap, 1 cup of water, and a couple of drops of pure essential oil. Be sure not to use vinegar as it can dull the shiny finish.
For tile, laminate, or acrylic countertops, opt for a mixture of hot water, dish soap, and vinegar. Be sure to wipe down thoroughly after cleaning with a wet cloth to avoid residue.
For marble countertops, try nonabrasive dish soap mixed with warm water. Spray the mixture directly onto counters, wipe with damp cloth, and then buff with a dry cloth to polish.
Next: Don’t forget to tackle this dirty kitchen spot.
16. Degrease cabinet doors with dish soap
You might not spend a lot of time thinking about your dirty cabinet doors. (Who has time for that?) But every once in a while you should take the time to wipe them down.
For this cleaning project, just mix up 2 tablespoons of dish soap with 2 cups of warm water, and use a sponge to wipe them down, taking care to follow along with the direction of the wood grain. Follow that process with a dry towel, and then polish each cabinet with a small amount of lemon, orange, or mineral oil. You’ll be amazed at how this easy process will help your kitchen feel sparkly clean again.