Here's how to wake up to a cleaner kitchen in the morning.  

By Jill Waldbieser
April 12, 2019
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Even if you love to cook, cleanup’s never fun. One of the reasons: It’s a major time suck. “So many people do their cleaning in big marathon sessions, spending one entire day or weekend to clean top to bottom, which takes up an outrageous chunk of time that would probably be better spent doing any number of other things,” says Rachel Hoffman, cleaning pro and author of Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess and the forthcoming Cleaning Sucks guided journal

While science has made headway with robots that sweep and scrub, you don’t have to wait until Jetsonian progress has been made to find a better way. Simply embrace passive cleaning. These are chores you can literally do while you sleep, and wake up to a sparkly clean kitchen.

1. De-grease your oven.

Add just enough water to baking soda to make a paste and smear it inside your oven door. Spray that lightly with white vinegar in a spray bottle, close the door, and let it sit overnight. The next morning, wipe it down with a sponge or paper towel and it will look like new, Hoffman says.

2. Descale your faucet.

Sink faucets, handles, and sprayers tend to built up crusty lime deposits (they can be white, orange, or brownish), especially if you have hard water. It’s basically harmless, but gross, says Melissa Maker, cleaning expert and host of YouTube channel Clean My Space. Her lazy fix: Fill a resealable plastic bag with enough white vinegar to submerge the faucet head, and secure it with a rubber band. When you take it off the next morning, your fixtures will be as shiny as the day you got them (and a quick water rinse will get rid of the vinegar smell).

3. Deodorize your garbage can.

Take the bag out, sprinkle a little baking soda in the bottom, and leave the lid open to air out overnight, Maker says. You can wipe up the baking soda the next morning, but you don’t have to—it will continue to deodorize and just leave a bit of powder on the bottom of your trash bags.

4. Clean your coffeemaker.

Fill the reservoir with commercial descaler or white vinegar and run a few cycles on automatic drip, followed by a few cycles of clean water to rinse, suggests Hoffman. Voila, wake up to the freshest pot yet. Another easy hack for a crust-free coffee maker? Use denture tabs.

5. Freshen up your garbage disposal.

Toss a few citrus peels and a handful of ice cubes into the disposal and turn it on, says Maker. The combination of oils in the citrus and abrasion from the ice will de-gunk the gears, rinse away food residue and eliminate odors.

6. De-funkify your dishwasher.

No, it’s not self-cleaning. Run a cycle empty except for a bowl full of white vinegar set upright on the top shelf. You’ll clean and deodorize the interior, says Hoffman.

7. Steam-clean your microwave.

Nuke a bowl of water and some pieces of lemon or orange until it boils. The steam will loosen any stuck-on crud, Hoffman says, making it easy to wipe down. Bonus: The inside will smell nicer too, which is great if you recently had something strong-smelling like fish for dinner.

And if you want to avoid devoting full days to cleaning, remember that a lot of messes can be avoided with very quick preventive cleaning, “says Hoffman. “Wipe up spills as they happen. Give the outside of your small appliances a quick wipe while you’re waiting for them to do their thing. Clean your dishwasher filter and refrigerator drip pan periodically. Even wiping down fridge shelves before you put your groceries in. Little bits of effort here and there can save you a lot of time down the road.”

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