Home Decor

15 Easy Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

Experts share their best tips and tricks to cut through grease and grime.

With all the daily meal prep, dirty dishes and spills and splatters, maintaining a sparkling kitchen often feels impossible. We asked Sarah McAllister, the viral Instagram sensation behind Calgary-based cleaning business Go Clean Co., and Shaneka Shaw Taylor, Patience Omokhodion and Alecia Burgess, the founders of professional housekeeping and concierge company reFRESH in Toronto, to share their top kitchen cleaning tips to keep this high-traffic area in tip-top shape.

Click here for our bathroom cleaning hacks and here for our living room cleaning hacks.

(Illustration: Andrea Manica)

1. Cabinets

Dissolve one dishwasher tab in a bucket of hot water and use a microfibre cloth to clean. (No need to rinse.) “It cuts through grease without leaving a film—even on dark cabinets,” notes McAllister.

2. Kitchen sink

Wet your sink, sprinkle with baking soda and work into a paste. Line the sink with paper towels soaked in white vinegar and let them sit for 20 minutes. “Rinse with warm water and a soft cloth, using an old toothbrush to get into hard-to-reach areas, like the drain,” advises the reFRESH team.

3. Clogged drain

Pour one kettleful of boiling water down the drain, says McAllister. Add one cup baking soda and one cup vinegar. Let the solution bubble, and follow with more boiling water.

4. Countertops

They’re a big investment, so learning how to care for them is crucial. Both McAllister and the reFRESH co-founders say that using dish soap, water and a damp cloth is a safe bet on all surfaces. Bleach should never be used on marble and quartz, as it can dull their shine, but tough stains can be cleaned with diluted isopropyl alcohol and a wet cloth.

5. Dishwasher filter

Look under the bottom rack to locate it. (Check your owner’s manual for specifics.) The reFRESH team recommends using a toothbrush dipped in hot water and dish soap to scrub.

6. Range hood

“On the exterior, hot water and dish soap work well to cut through grease,” says McAllister. “We clean the filters with an undiluted heavy-duty degreaser (like Mr. Clean Multi-Surface Cleaner) and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then we scrub with a soft brush and rinse.”

7. Cooktop

“The cleaning method depends on what type of cooktop you have,” explains McAllister. To clean a gas stove, she suggests removing the grates and soaking them in hot water with a dissolved dishwasher tab. To clean an electric stove, remove the burner elements, spray with an oven cleaner according to instructions and scrub with a non-abrasive sponge. Repeat until clean.

8. Oven

Create a paste of baking soda, white vinegar and water, and apply to the inside of the oven. Leave it overnight. In the morning, use a cloth dampened with hot water to wipe the surfaces. (You may need to break out the scouring pads, warns the reFRESH team.) Once the oven is clean, save yourself time in the future by using aluminum oven liners.

9. Oven racks

“Soak them overnight in a large plastic storage bin in very hot water with four to six dissolved dishwasher tabs, and then scrub clean,” says McAllister. As tempting as it may be, don’t do this in your bathtub, as it can scratch the enamel.

10. Garbage can

“Add one-half cup bleach, fill with hot water and let the solution sit for a few hours—or overnight to get rid of strong odours,” says McAllister. Scrub with a brush to loosen stuck-on food, rinse and let dry. To fight bad smells between cleaning days, keep cotton balls soaked with a few drops of essential oil under the liner, or sprinkle baking soda in the bag.

(Illustration: Andrea Manica)

11. Microwave

Zap a bowl filled with water and a few tablespoons white vinegar until the solution boils and the window steams up. The steam will soften hardened food and make it a breeze to wipe clean, while vinegar acts as a deodorizer.

12. Drawers

Empty out and vacuum the insides—you’ll be surprised how much can accumulate in there!

13. Inside of the fridge

Remove all shelves and drawers, vacuum crumbs and wipe everything—including the inside of the fridge—with a sanitizing solution of hot water and bleach (McAllister likes to add her signature powdered Tide). Make sure glass components are at room temperature before washing with hot water to keep them from cracking.

14. Outside of the fridge

Don’t forget to clean the top of the fridge, and vacuum behind it and around the cord. Wipe handles and doors, too.

15. Greasy windows

Cut through buildup with dish soap on a damp cloth, then wipe with a squeegee. Wipe off drips with a paper towel. “Your windows will never have been cleaner,” says McAllister.