My favorite kitchen cleaning strategy: use a dishwasher.
Unfortunately, not everything can go into the dishwasher, and nowadays mine is so full of normal crockery and infant equipment that it's impossible to stow anything bigger than a plate inside.
Here are some of my favorite strategies to get rid of clutter, including some (and in) some of the more annoying devices and tools you have to deal with.
Put the blender in the dishwasher? Good luck. My preferred tactic is to inject detergent into the jar, add water and let the mixer do its thing. Turn the teat to high speed and let the soapy water clean the sides and blade. Depending on what you've done, you may need to do a few rounds, including one that only contains water for rinsing. But hey, less scrubbing is always a plus in my book.
I really hate cleaning them, which is a problem because I use them so often, whether I let the baked goods cool down or give breaded chicken pieces for a few minutes to set the coating. All these holes, all that effort! It seemed to me as though I were looking at Cook's Illustrated, as if reading the suggestion that you only need to turn the rack around in a half-length pan filled with soapy water. It works, and it allows a much smoother cleaning than if I only wore a sponge. You can soak the wire shelf for really sticky sauces (eg melted chocolate that you have sprinkled over biscuits) and then use a sponge to make a fleeting peel to remove any remaining sticky pieces. I also use a similar strategy as the first pass for my fine-mesh sieve, which plunges the basket part into a bowl of soapy water, so that the mess swims up, making it easy to fill.
So you heard the disturbing bang when something exploded in your microwave. I have been there many times. Even if nothing is actually blown up, the device has the habit of looking dirty somehow. Again, you can use the power of H2O by heating water to remove the dirt. In good housekeeping, it is recommended to put a cup of water (in a microwave-proof bowl or measuring cup, otherwise you have a whole other mess) along with chopped citrus or a few tablespoons of vinegar in the microwave for a few minutes, until the water boils or the Things look steamy. Give everything 15 minutes to cool off. Then wipe the inside of the microwave with a sponge, cloth or paper towel.
This is perhaps the device we all promise to clean as we go and never do. Yes, your toaster sometimes needs to be cleaned. For a messy rack, use the same strategy as the wire rack above. Although removing and cleaning the crumb tray is always a good idea, you can use a pastry brush or even a baster to remove small amounts of debris. Under normal wear, soap and water are good for locating the shelf, baking tray, and crumb tray (soak longer if you need it). To clean the inside of the oven, Consumer Reports recommends a mixture of warm water, dish soap and vinegar applied to a sponge, avoiding the heating elements.
Pans / frying pans
Daily cleaning can be done with soap, water and a sponge. Then you burn some caramel in your saucepan and all bets are off. Again water to the rescue. If you have time and space, let melted together with a long bath in the sink. If you put the pan back on the stove and boil water in it, you can work wonders faster. Finish the work with regular soap and water cleaning. Cast iron frying pans require a little more care in cleaning because of the spice and the possibility of rusting. For additional cleansing power, pour in a generous amount of kosher salt and use the abrasion force to remove stubborn parts. You can also mix the salt with water to form a paste. Be sure to dry the frying pan quickly and completely once you are done.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for the kitchen? Share in the comments below.
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