17 Products That Will Make Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup Easier Than Ever

If you’re reluctant to host a holiday meal because you dread dealing with the messy aftermath, these superb solutions will ease your mind and make cleanup quick and easy.

By Nicole Shein | Published Oct 28, 2021 1:44 PM

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanu

Photo: istockphoto.com

Whether you’re serving up a traditional turkey-and-all-the-trimmings meal that resembles Norman Rockwell meets Instagram or you’re celebrating the harvest with a showstopping vegan feast, there’s one element that every Thanksgiving cook must contend with: the dreaded cleanup. This year, resolve to do things differently—more efficiently—so you have more time to spend with your guests. With this kitchen gear on board, cleanup will be easier than ever.

1. Flex Stainless Pot Clip

Thanksgiving dinner cleanup

Photo: Amazon.com

Say you’ve got a spoon rest on your stovetop. That’s all well and good until the stove is covered with pots and pans and there’s no space to spare. Or maybe you usually put your spoonulas on a side plate, but where can that fit when the counter’s cluttered with cutting boards and prep bowls? Enter this genius stainless steel spoon-holding clip. It keeps your stirrers in the perfect spot: atop the pot (or pan).

Get the Trudeau Pot Clip at Amazon for $10.03 

2. Microwave Food Storage Tray Containers

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Photo: Amazon.com

How much food do you think Americans throw away during the Thanksgiving holiday? Think higher. We waste a whopping 200 million pounds of turkey, to say nothing of the uneaten side dishes (lookin’ at you, Aunt Linda’s weird stuffing that no one, literally no one likes), every November.

Instead of tossing perfectly good turkey, do “future you” a favor and portion out some freezer meals. It’s a snap, thanks to these stackable divided food storage containers. They’re also great for sending guests home with a plate for later.

Get the Regent Products Microwave Food Storage Tray Containers (set of 3) at Amazon for $14

3. Rolling Utility Cart

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Photo: Ikea.com

The darling of Pinterest, this wildly popular three-tiered rolling cart is as versatile as household objects come. If you’re among the minority of folks who don’t yet have one, Thanksgiving is a terrific time to jump on the bandwagon. It can serve as an appetizer station, an ad-hoc bar cart, or a modern-day dumbwaiter. Got younger guests? Turn the RÅSKOG into a craft-supply trolley where they can create time-honored Thanksgiving decor like construction paper Pilgrim hats or traced-hand turkeys.

Get the RÅSKOG Cart at IKEA for $22.99

4. Turkey-Size Oven Bags

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Photo: Walmart.com

It doesn’t matter if you’re roasting a petite 8-pound turkey or a 22-pound behemoth, and it makes no difference which side you take in the great stuffing vs. dressing debate: No matter its size, roasting a bird is a messy undertaking. Keep the messes to a minimum by using an oven bag. These specially sized cooking bags can accommodate a turkey (or anything else you want to roast) weighing up to 24 pounds.

Get Reynolds Turkey Size Oven Bags (pack of 4 boxes) at Amazon for $16.99

5. Reusable Stasher Bags 

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Photo: Stasher.com

At first glance, these silicone Stasher bags might seem like a straightforward substitute for single-use zipper-top storage bags. And they definitely hold a serving of chips, sliced veggies for snacking, or a sandwich. But they also do a lot more. A throwaway bag can’t be used to bake in, for starters, like a Stasher bag can.

Nor do disposable bags move with such ease between stovetop, fridge, freezer, and microwave. Pro tip: Fill them with any liquid and later, reheat it boil-in-bag style—no more wobbly globs of gravy perched on top of Mt. Mash when you’re microwaving leftovers.

Get the Starter Kit 7-pack at Stasher for $92.99

6. Volcano Microwave Oven Cleaner

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Photo: Amazon.com

Even home chefs who insist on cooking the Thanksgiving spread from scratch might find themselves relying on the microwave, especially at the last minute. Here’s a clever gadget that takes all the hassle out of cleaning Chef Mike after your meal. Just add water and white vinegar to the chemical-free, dishwasher-safe device and nuke it for a few minutes. The ensuing acidified steam will loosen gunk and grime, making the microwave’s interior easy to wipe clean.

Get the GB Quality Volcano Microwave Oven Cleaner at Amazon for $6.99

7. LIVE to Scrub Sponge Subscription

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Photo: Skurastyle.com

Have we, as a society, reached peak subscription box? Perhaps. But in today’s bacteria-riddled (and contactless-delivery-dependent) world, subscribing to a cleaning products company and receiving 4 weeks’ worth of stylish sponges each month makes perfect sense. Maybe even more so during the holidays, when quotidian household products tend to fall off our radar in favor of more pressing (read: gift-related) purchases. So, go on. Treat yourself to some upscale sponges.

Get the LIVE to Scrub Sponge Subscription at Skura Style for $12/month

8. Cast Iron Pan Scrapers

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Photo: lodgecastiron.com

And now, for something completely old school: the classic cast-iron pan. They’re great for searing, roasting, even baking a batch of rolls or some cornbread for your Turkey Day stuffing. For those who aren’t into poultry, a cast-iron grill pan will deliver a delicious steak dinner.

The only problem? Cleaning all the baked-on, caked-on char and crust. Enter these clever little scrapers, which will take care of stubborn grime, quick as a wink.

Get the Cast Iron Scraper Combo Set at Lodge for $2.99 

9. Robot Vacuum with Sonic Mop

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Photo: us.roborock.com

The concept of “the future” hasn’t quite played out as we once expected it to. For one thing, there’s a serious dearth of full-service personal robot maids like The Jetsons’ robot, Rosie. But a robot vacuum, especially one that doubles as a sonic mop, is still a pretty awesome aspect of 21st-century life. This one from Roborock boasts high-tech specs such as LiDAR Navigation with multilevel mapping, intelligent mop lifting, ultrasonic carpet recognition, and a multidirectional floating brush for a truly futuristic floor-cleaning experience.

Get the Roborock S7 Robot Vacuum with Sonic Mop at Roborock for $649.99

10. Buff Pro Multisurface Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Photo: Amazon.com

Hey—you there, you with the cleaning cupboard full of antibacterial soaps, wipes, and sprays, the bleaches, the scrub brushes, the sanitizers of all sorts? What would you say if we told you that the best way to clean most surfaces is a low-tech item available by the dozen and for a song? With nothing more than water and some elbow grease, the humble, machine-washable microfiber cloth is all you need to get most of your home spic and span.

Get the Microfiber Cleaning Cloths at Amazon for $13.98

11. Table Tidy Crumb Sweeper

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Photo: fuller.com

Sure, you could use your hands to collect and remove all the crumbs remaining on the table after guests have made a mess, but if someone waylays you en route to the kitchen? You’re stuck standing there while holding a handful of yuck. Better to use a server’s crumb sweeper, a discreet and effective tool that lends a touch of class to your cleanup. This one is from Fuller, the last name in brushes and brooms, so you can trust its quality, too.

Get the Table Tidy Crumb Sweeper from Fuller Brush for $19.99

12. Compostable Tablecloths

Photo: amazon.com

Heirloom lace tablecloths are lovely, of course, but a disposable tablecloth is a better choice when you’re hosting a holiday meal. After all, do you want to spend your time at the table savoring your meal and enjoying the company? Or anxiously watching as the cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes get passed from person to person? Try a tablecloth that can go straight to the compost pile, to alleviate your fear and save you money on dry cleaning costs.

Get the Earth’s Natural Alternative 100% Compostable Tablecloth at Amazon for $7.99

13. Planet-Friendly Palm-Leaf Plates

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Photo: Amazon.com

Single-use dinnerware is a host’s best friend, but using traditional paper plates—or worse, styrofoam—isn’t very kind to the environment. This Thanksgiving, consider using sustainable, upscale, disposable plates. The stylish, 11-inch square design provides plenty of surface area to pile high with turkey and all the trimmings. Made from eco-friendly palm leaves, they’re super sturdy and stand up to generous helpings of gravy. When dinner’s done, toss them into the compost pile to degrade and return to the earth.

Get the Planet-Friendly Palm Leaf Plates 25-pack at Amazon for $35.99

14. Bussing Tub

Thanksgiving dinner cleanup

Photo: restaurantsupply.com

Say goodbye to postprandial clutter and carrying precarious stacks of dishware by purchasing a bussing tub. Essentially a large dishpan, this can help to quickly clear and remove dirty dinnerware, glassware, and utensils. This large and rugged tub will pinch-hit to help with prepping produce any time of the year—think apples that you’re peeling for a pie or corn you need to shuck. Come summertime, use it to cart side dishes, condiments, and grilling tools to the backyard and back.

Get the Winco Polypropylene Dish Box at Restaurantsupply.com for $5.76

15. Countertop Dishwasher

Thanksgiving Dinner cleanup

Photo: Amazon.com

Washing dishes by hand is a relatively simple chore—and an ideal opportunity for some mindful meditation. But those with large extended families or plans for the best, most festive Friendsgiving ever would be washing up until Giving Tuesday if they tackled it manually.

Enter the countertop dishwasher. Measuring just 20 by 22 by 17 inches, this quick-connecting, space-saving appliance takes on six place settings’ worth of grease and grime per cycle. What’s more, a mere 3 gallons of water does the job!

Get the Farberware Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher at Amazon for $390.17

16. Scrap Trap and Scraper

Thanksgiving dinner cleanup

Photo: Amazon.com

Designed to hang over a cabinet door, the Scrap Trap serves the same function as a garbage bowl, but without taking up already scarce counter space. Pop this handy helper into place below your cutting board and simply scrape food scraps into it with the included tool. Voilà—a clean workspace and an easy way to transport compost or garbage to the appropriate receptacles.

Get the KitchenArt Scrap Trap with Scraper at Amazon for $17.98

17. Nonstick Oven Liners

Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup

Photo: Amazon.com

If you’ve ever cleaned an oven, you know what an absolutely onerous job it is. (If not, well—we hope you live with someone who does.) Either way, you need nonstick oven liners in your life. They cut to size easily, so they work for all types of cookers. When apple pie filling oozes out from under your impressively intricate homemade crust, it’ll land on the liners, which can then be removed and washed by hand or in the dishwasher.

Get the Non Stick Oven Liners (3 pack) at Amazon for $12.99