While spending time in the kitchen to cook a nice meal may be an enjoyable and rewarding activity, the same can’t be said for the post dinner clean-up. Especially when it comes to cleaning appliances, who frankly has the time?
If you can think of better things to do than degreasing an oven and life’s too short to spend hours scrubbing your kitchen with an old toothbrush, you need quick fix results. Unfortunately, you can’t dispense with cleaning your appliances altogether, mainly because, well, germs. But there are other reasons too, as I found out when I spoke to kitchen company TBKC.
Dirty appliances, whether it’s your oven or dishwasher, have to work harder, meaning they are less efficient at what they do and use more electricity – which means higher bills for you. What’s more, a clean appliance not only works better, it lasts longer too so you get more use out of the investment – another cost saving to you.
If you’re a fan of the ‘minimum effort, maximum result’ approach to appliance cleaning, here are 6 kitchen hacks that you should definitely try.
1. Microwave oven
Your microwave oven can get as greasy and dirty as any other cooking appliance and should be cleaned on a regular basis. Steam cleaning your microwave takes basically zero effort with this handy hack.
Take a microwavable bowl and fill it with water. Cut a lemon into quarters and add it to the bowl. Place it into the microwave and cook on full power for around 10 minutes. The steam will loosen the grime and grease, while the lemon will remove any nasty niffs – particularly handy after cooking fish!
When the time is up, take out the bowl carefully, then wipe out the inside of the microwave with a clean kitchen sponge or cloth to easily remove any leftover dirt.
2. Blender or smoothie maker
Cleaning out a blender after you’ve made a healthy smoothie or home made soup can be time consuming and downright dangerous. Those blades are sharp! Rather than getting your hands inside the blending jug to wash up by hand, here’s a genius shortcut.
Rinse out the jug as best you can after use. Next, fill it half up with warm water and a squirt of washing up liquid and blitz for 30 seconds – job done! Once you’ve given everything a final rinse to remove any trace of soap, just leave upside down on the draining board to dry.
A word of advice: Do yourself a huge favour and clean your blender straight after use. Caked on leftover gunk is much, much harder to clean off.
3. Stainless steel cooker hood
Stainless steel appliances only look good when they’re streak free. An easy way to polish up your freshly cleaned stainless steel cooker hood, splashback or fridge door is to use oil. Olive oil, to be precise.
Add a small amount of olive oil to a soft cloth and wipe it on in long and wide motions, going with the ‘grain’, as it were. Really work it into the stainless steel surface until every streak, water mark or fingerprint has gone.
Next, take a paper towel and wipe over the same area to remove any excess oil and give a bit more shine. Adding a drop of vinegar may produce even better results – try it out and see what works for you. Voila, your stainless steel is back to pristine.
4. Pots and pans
If you really don’t fancy the idea of having to scrub a sink full of dirty pans, there’s an easy way to get baked on gunk, stuck-on grease and burnt bits of food off your cookware with the minimum of effort. Would you believe that the magic ingredient is a tumble dryer sheet?!
Place your dirty pots into the sink, fill with warm water and some washing up liquid. Then add one tumble dryer sheet and leave for an hour. As if by magic, the grime and grease will come right off with next to no scrubbing. If you’re not in a hurry, leave to soak overnight for even better results. Just rinse everything off and ta dah!
Just like you would descale, say, a kettle, it’s important to de-gunk your dishwasher every so often. Luckily, this is a ‘no effort’ job. You can buy dishwasher cleaning tabs from supermarkets or hardware stores that you put into the tablet compartment and just run a normal cycle (empty, of course!).
A cheaper alternative that works just as well is white vinegar. Place a mugful of vinegar upright into the top rack, don’t add any detergent and select your usual wash cycle (not Economy). The water will mix with the water and deep clean the dishwasher. Simple.
Finally, oven cleaning is a nasty chore, whichever way you look at it. Whether you use commercial oven cleaning detergents or natural agents such as baking soda, vinegar or lemon, it’s never going to be a quick or pleasant job. This leaves you with two equally sensible alternatives.
If you’re replacing the oven in your kitchen or are installing a new kitchen, look for an oven with self-cleaning features for built-in convenience. The pyrolytic self-cleaning cycle heats the oven to about 500 C (500 F), turning any dirt and debris inside to ash. Once the oven has cooled down again, simply wipe the ash away.
If you’re stuck with your existing oven, take the easy way out and pay someone to do the dirty work. Oven cleaning companies offer a professional service at affordable rates. Importantly, they have the killer combo of experienced operatives and effective (usually non-toxic) cleaning products to carry out a thorough deep clean inside and out, meaning you don’t have to.