20 Kitchen Cleaning Hacks for Lazy People

Our ongoing series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenge

Our ongoing series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big city. Last week, 6sqft rounded up a list of 15 air-purifying plants to add indoors. This week we’ve pulled together 20 kitchen cleaning tips for the lazy (or busy) man and woman.

Most of us would probably agree that keeping a home clean with any regularity can be a formidable challenge; because really, who wants to pour hours and hours into a tedious and thankless job that only promises to return with another layer of dirt? But while housekeeping is in general a groan-worthy task, the kitchen often poses its own hell, especially when shared with roommates who seem almost clueless as to how a sponge and soap work. Though we don’t have a solution for making those dirty dishes in your sink disappear, we do have 20 cleaning hacks for keeping a (reasonably) clean kitchen that even the laziest person can squeeze in between Netflix and chill sessions.

Make Swiffer Socks or Slippers ↑

Add Swiffer dusters or cloths to the bottom of your house slippers or socks to pick up excess dust and dirt along your most heavily-trafficked areas; this oftentimes means the kitchen.

Use a Steam Mop to Clean Floors ↑

Steam mops will give your all the power you need to battle grout, sticky messes and caked floors without needing to get on your hands and knees to scrub. They also kill germs and bacteria and the cleaning pads are machine washable.

Image via Keeping It Simple Crafts

Line Fridge Shelves with Plastic Wrap ↑

Cleaning the fridge is a painful activity that only gets worse when things have spilled and dried up. To make clean-up quick and easy, use Press’n Seal wrap to line surfaces in your fridge. If you’re concerned about waste, large storage containers also work well, as they can be easily removed and washed.

Add Charcoal to Your Fridge ↑

If your fridge is prone to odors, add an Activated Charcoal Kuro Cube. This tiny cube cleans and refreshes the air, removing any unwanted smells. You can also use this in your trash can and beneath the sink, but note that one cube costs about $25.

Use Lemons to Polish Faucets ↑

After you fix yourself a cocktail use what’s left to polish your faucets clean. The acid in the lemon will leave the metal shining.

Use Baking Soda Under the Sink to Quell Odors ↑

The area beneath the sink, especially in older apartments and homes, can be prone to smells. Place an open box of baking soda beneath to help absorb and neutralize off-putting scents.

Use Stovetop Range and Oven Liners ↑

Use liners to keep spills and splatters from covering your stove. Disposable aluminum versions are easy to find, but we recommend the more robust reusable metal or coated oven fiberglass fabric versions, which can easily be washed in the sink and reused. Liners are also a great way to avoid using harsh chemical cleaners to scrub up hard-to-remove food and burnt-on gunk.

Image via

Cleaning a Crusty Oven ↑

If your oven is beyond the point of using liners, instead fill a bowl with a half-cup of ammonia into a cold oven (you must shut the pilot light off and close the gas line) and let it sit overnight. The fumes will work their magic and you can easily wipe everything away the next day.

The 3-Minute (Almost) Hands-Free Microwave Clean ↑

If your microwave is encrusted in a layer of gunk from reheating all those Seamless meals, pour two cups of water and half-a-cup of white vinegar into a microwave-safe bowl and turn your microwave on for three minutes at full power. Allow the bowl to steam inside for a few minutes, remove it, and then wipe all surfaces clean.

Image via Blendtec

Let Your Blender Wash Itself ↑

Instead of disassembling your blender and scrubbing it piece by piece, simply fill it up halfway with lukewarm soapy water, put the cap on, hit full blast for a few seconds and give it a rinse in the sink.

Aluminum Foil Scrubbers ↑

If you don’t have a steel scouring pad on hand, take some aluminum and ball it up. With a bit dish soap these DIY aluminum scrubbers work wonders on glass bakeware.

Sanitizing Sponges ↑

Refresh old sponges by microwaving them (wet) on high for two minutes. The Journal of Environmental Health found that the radiation kills off 99 percent of the microbes.

Clean a Coffee Grinder with Rice ↑

If your coffee grinder has developed a smell, just grind some uncooked white rice until its pulverized to refresh. This also works great if you’re grinding various spices and want to keep them from intermingling.

Cleaning a Coffee Maker ↑

Cleaning your coffee maker is as easy as running one part vinegar with one part water through a brew cycle. To get rid of the vinegar smell, run plain water through the cycle twice.

Image The Real Full House

A Solution for Pan Burns ↑

Vinegar is once again a savior. Fill your scorched pan with water and two cups of vinegar and bring it to a boil. Then remove the pan from the stovetop and add two tablespoons of baking soda. When you empty the pan, you should easily be able to scour the burns away.

Image via

Cleaning up Broken Glass ↑

You’re bound to break a glass or two at some point. After sweeping larger shards up with a dustpan, take a piece of bread and press it into the floor to grab more obscured remains.

Image via 365 Days of Life Behind the Lens

Un-staining Food Storage Containers ↑

If you have Tupperware or other food containers that have been discolored by spaghetti sauces or soups, use lemon and the sun’s rays to remove the stains. Simply rub the containers with lemon, set them in the window (or outside) to soak up the sun for two days, wash, and then you’re done!

Add Baking Soda to Trash Cans ↑

If garbage can odors are a persistent problem in your kitchen, lessen or eliminate smells by adding baking soda to the bottom of your trashcan before you replace the plastic liner.

Get a Bigger Trash Can ↑

If you’re someone who lets garbage accumulate around your trash can, upgrade to a bigger waste bin. Clutter will only breed more clutter, especially as you get used to seeing it, so keep things as clean and tidy as possible—even if it means sacrificing a few more cubic inches for your new wastebasket.

Image via Luca Mascaro

Create a Daily Cleaning Schedule and Set a Timer ↑

This is probably the most obvious on the list, but by keeping a daily cleaning schedule, you can easily avoid those long and torturous cleaning sessions. Use a timer to break down sessions of 30-minutes into 10-minute chunks. Many find that having a timer and completing a specific number of tasks within a defined time period (similar to the Pomodoro Technique) offers up a sense of accomplishment and motivation to do more.


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