15 Cleaning Hacks That’ll Save You So Much Time in the Kitchen

hile there are many things you can change about your days, the amount of time in them is not one of those things. You get 24 hours—that’s it. And, obviously, lots of that time is spoken for. (Sleep! Carpools! Work! Thinking about how you wish you had more time!)

In the spirit of helping you make the most of your precious waking hours, we’ve rounded up some of our best cleaning hacks that will help you save time. Because everyone has a million other things to do that are more pressing than, say, scrubbing the inside of the oven.

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1. Clean your microwave by nuking a lemon.

Instead of scrubbing each splatter by hand, just nuke two freshly squeezed lemon halves and let the steam do the hard work for you. All you’ll have to do is give the inside of the microwave a quick wipe. It’ll be spotless in no time!

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2. Reach for your power drill.

A power drill—outfitted with special brush attachments!—is always going to be more effective than your own elbow grease. Reach for your drill and it’ll make quick work of scrubbing all sorts of surfaces.

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3. And your steamer.

The idea here is similar to the microwave tip (see #1). Hot steam will help break up grease and grime so that all you have to do is wipe it up. No wasted time scrubbing… and scrubbing.

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Credit: Faith Durand

4. Keep a bowl of soapy water by the sink.

The longer a dirty fork sits before being washed, the harder it will be to clean. (Because food hardens and gets more stubborn!) If you soak your dirty utensils, though, washing them will be super quick and easy. Just don’t soak wooden spoons or knives with wooden handles.

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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

5. Clean your refrigerator shelves in the dishwasher.

When was the last time you wiped down your refrigerator shelves? How long did it take you? Shave loads of time off the chore by just popping them in the dishwasher. Sure, the cycle takes a while, but at least you can do other things while the machine does the hard part.

Read more: The Most Ridiculously Simple Way to Get the Inside of Your Fridge Sparkling Clean

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6. And your dish brushes.

Throw your scrubbing brushes in the dishwasher and you’ll save time a few ways. First, you won’t have to clean them by hand. And you’ll have a clean brush to use on your dishes and you won’t waste time spreading grossness when you’re trying to clean it up.

Read more5 Things You Should Always Throw Into the Dishwasher If There’s Room

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7. Put a hook on the side of your trash can.

This one is a little bit different than the others—because it’s more of a preventative thing—but hear us out. If you put a hook on the side of your trash can, the bag won’t fall in and then you won’t have to spend time cleaning up gross garbage that’s been piled up ON TOP of the bag instead of in it.

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Credit: Joe Lingeman

8. Add vinegar to your dishwasher.

Don’t have time to clean your dishwasher? Just put a bowl of vinegar in the top rack the next time you do a load and it’ll clean hard-water deposits for you. It’s easy and it’s better than nothing!

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Credit: Diana Yen

9. Let your oven clean itself (without using the self-clean button!).

We get the temptation to push the self-cleaning button on your oven. But don’t! We have a cleaning method that’s almost just as easy and takes very little time on your end. Just make a paste with baking soda and let it sit on your oven’s walls overnight. You’ll have to wipe it all out in the morning, but it beats scrubbing by hand.

Read moreHow To Clean an Oven with Baking Soda and Vinegar

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10. Get a tool specifically designed for baseboards.

Don’t have time to get on your hands and knees and make your way around all the baseboards in the kitchen? Neither do we! This special tool was designed specifically for cleaning baseboards, so you just have to make a quick lap around the room and you’ll be all set.

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11. Line the top of your fridge with newspaper.

If your upper cabinets don’t go all the way up the ceiling or the top of your fridge is exposed, you know how dusty and grimy those surfaces can get. Instead of having to do a deep clean once in a while, line the tops with newspaper or wax paper and then just change it out every so often.

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12. Dust with a can of air.

Got open shelving? And a mountain of dust? Use this duster spray, which is the product of choice as recommended by the EPA, to blow dust off dishes and out of hard-to-clean crevices.

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Credit: Joe Lingeman

13. Set your slow cooker to clean itself.

Like your oven (and even your blender!), your slow cooker can clean itself. Just fill it with baking soda, vinegar, and water and turn it on. It’ll burn off any stuck-on pieces and save you some serious scrubbing time.

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14. Drop a deodorizing stick down your drain.

If you’ve ever had to call a plumber, you know what a time suck it can be. (“We’ll be there between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.!”) To keep drains clear (and even clean up minor clogs!), try dropping one of these down your sink drain.

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15. Make a cleaning kit.

Having to stop mid-cleaning session to track down your multi-purpose cleaner or a dust pan is going to slow you down. Instead, keep all your cleaning supplies together (in a cart of a little caddy, which you can bring around with you to cut all the back-and-forth walking), so you can be prepared and ready to go.