Cleaning Hacks

by Kristina Domitrovich
photos by Lindsay Pace

With spring kicking in, it’s cleaning season and time to roll up your sleeves and get to scrubbing. Here are a few useful tips and tricks to make the grime go away a little bit quicker and make the daunting task of spring cleaning a little easier.



The Kitchen

  • Use Bar Keepers Friend on Dutch ovens and enameled cast iron to get rid of those baked-on stains. 
  • Invest in a few nylon pan scrapers. These help cut down “soak time” on tricky-to-clean baking sheets and casserole dishes (yes, you can use it on a cast iron skillet, too!), along with scraping off burnt food bits in the oven and on the stove top.
  • Does your sink stink? Quarter a lemon or a few limes, turn the hot water on and put them down your sink, then turn on the garbage disposal. Viola!
  • Dauntingly dirty microwave? Nuke an uncovered bowl of water for about three minutes, then clean as usual. The moisture from the microwave will help loosen the grime, and make it easy to wipe away.
  • About to deep clean the oven? Vacuum the bottom to eliminate loose crumbs. When you’re done, you can clean the oven without having to worry about scooping up all the crumbs and getting everything out of the cracks.


General Tips

  • Use Goo Gone to remove leftover residue from price tags, barcodes and stickers, to leave your items smooth and clean.
  • Clean everything from the top to bottom, so you don’t have to clean the lower half twice. 
  • Use a handheld squeegee for your showers, mirrors and windows.
  • Speaking of showers, don’t have a removable showerhead and don’t know how to rinse the walls when you’re done cleaning? Grab your plants’ watering can, so you can have a pointed spout and more control.
  • We all love our critters, but for how much love they bring into our homes, they track in equal amounts of hair, too. If your vacuum extension hose just doesn’t cut it, use a new pair of rubber cleaning gloves to smooth over your furniture, and scoop up the pesky hair.
  • Coffee grounds and baking soda are odor eliminators; so if you have a troubled spot in your home, just set out a bowl of either (yes, the coffee grounds can be used).
  • Want your house to smell amazing year round? Place a pot of water and leftover citrus peels on low heat, and let this stove-top potpourri do the job for you (or for a sweeter scent, try a pot of water and a little bit of vanilla extract).
  • Calcium buildup on a faucet? Fill a plastic bag with vinegar, and hang it under the faucet, so it’s submerged in the liquid. Secure with tape or a rubber band, and let it work its magic for 15-20 minutes; then remove the baggy and rinse clean.
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