4 easy tips to clean even the toughest kitchen messes

Anna De Souza
·4 min read

Our kitchens are getting more use than ever before — which makes them even harder to keep clean. If you’re fighting a never-ending battle with caked-on sheet pans, grisly cast iron pots and a microwave that looks like it’s been through war, don’t worry: you’re about to have some fresh tricks up your sleeve. 

The best part? You already have everything you need to tackle even your toughest messes. Yep, we're talking baking soda, aluminum foil and more. Scroll for these sneaky cleaning hacks.

Bye-bye, sheet pan gunk

Delicious now, tough to clean up later. (Photo: Getty)
Delicious now, tough to clean up later. (Photo: Getty)

Last night’s oven-broiled chicken is today’s baked-on gunk! We’ve all felt defeated by bakeware, sheet pans and pots that require serious muscle to clean, but here’s a trick you may want to try the next time your dishes are a complete disaster. It just requires a trip to your laundry room.

Fill your dirty Pyrex, cookie sheet or pot to the brim with hot water. Next, float a dryer sheet on top (yes, a dryer sheet!). Let it sit for an hour (or overnight, for really tough messes). The conditioning properties of the dryer sheet help soften caked-on food eliminating the need to scrub! Genius, no?

You can also try a Scrub Daddy. We love that these sponges cater to your every cleaning whim with the turn of your faucet. Cold water turns the sponge into a hard-rock solid block to tackle tough baked-on messes, while hot water transforms it into a soft sponge to easily wipe away grease.

Shop it: Scrub Daddy, $14, amazon.com

Give your cast iron new life

No more dreading having to clean up the cast iron ever again. (Photo: Getty)
No more dreading having to clean up the cast iron ever again. (Photo: Getty)

Cast iron pots and pans can sure cook a mean pot roast but the cleanup leaves a lot to be desired. The easiest way to tackle a caked-on Le Creuset? Aluminum foil.

Allow your pot to cool, then simply wad up heavy-duty foil into a ball and use it to scrub off any leftover food. Sprinkle on coarse salt for more grit! Rinse your pot and don’t forget to dry thoroughly. Finally, re-season it with a thin layer of oil.

For really tough messes, try a little BarKeeper’s Friend. This stuff cleans everything — you can use it for lime, rust, shower doors, brass, porcelain sinks, silverware, jewelry, car headlights, BBQ grills...

Shop it: Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser Liquid, $7, amazon.com

Re-cycle your dishwasher

Your dishwasher needs a deep clean as much as your plates. (Photo: Getty)
Your dishwasher needs a deep clean as much as your plates. (Photo: Getty)

While your dishwasher might still be making your glasses shiny, the reality is that your dishes and cups are still gross. Your dishwasher is a melting pot of bacteria: We’re talking grime, mineral deposits, grease and food scraps making a home in and around its cavernous walls.

Don’t worry: you can clean and sanitize it easily with ingredients you already have at home.

First, sprinkle 4 to 5 tablespoons of baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher. Next, place a cup of white vinegar in the middle of the top rack and just run a cycle. That’s it!

No Sweat

Don't heat up leftovers in a dirty microwave again. (Photo: Getty)
Never heat up leftovers in a dirty microwave again. (Photo: Getty)

Between tomato sauce and mystery leftovers, the level of grime in your microwave is downright disgusting. Here’s a quick hack to get your microwave to nearly clean itself.

Place a heat-proof cup with 3 to 4 tablespoons of baking soda and water in your microwave and set it to four minutes on high. When the time is up, you’ll find your microwave’s walls as sweaty and potentially stinkier than your spa’s steam room. The caked-on mess will wipe off effortlessly with a soft cloth.

For a cuter (and less smelly) alternative, you can fill the Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner with vinegar, water, and lemon juice and take her for a spin in the microwave.

While spring cleaning with kids and family in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos, it can be done — and you don’t have to purchase expensive new cleaning supplies, either!

Shop it: Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner, $12 (was $21), amazon.com

Video by Kat Vasquez

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