10 Unusual Tips for Your Cleanest Kitchen Ever

The kitchen is everyone’s favorite room, and no doubt that's the reason it’s ground zero for major messes. Maybe you already rely on vinegar and water for wiping down countertops or baking soda for scouring your stovetop, but there’s a whole world of other quirky cleaners and surprising refreshers just perfect for KP. The tricks here will not only save you money—you probably already have the stuff you’ll need on hand—and get your cook space spotless, but sharing them with others will also make you the hit of your next book club meeting.

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  1. Don’t Hold the Ketchup

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    Tackle tarnish on brass knobs or copper pot bottoms with your burger’s best friend. The acid in tomatoes works magic on those rough, discolored areas. Squeeze a dollop onto a cloth and buff, then rinse with plain water and dry. For baked-on grime on stainless steel pots and pans, apply ketchup with steel wool and a little elbow grease.


    Related: 9 Potent Cleaners You Didn't Know You Had

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  2. Glass Sandwich

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    Whoops! One of your tumblers took a tumble, and now you’ve got a dangerous mess to clean. To the rescue: soft, spongy packaged bread, which works like a magnet to pick up even the smallest slivers of glass. Place a slice over the accident and press lightly, then discard immediately.


    Related: 10 Home Cleaners to Borrow from the Pantry

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  3. Join the Club

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    Help restore a scuffed stainless steel sink to its former luster with plain club soda. Moisten a cloth with the bubbly stuff or pour it directly on dingy spots, then buff with a cloth and rinse with plain water. Club soda will also loosen cooked-on crud from a cast-iron skillet.

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  4. Chalk It Up

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    Ants at a picnic? Pesky. Ants in your kitchen? Unacceptable! Make the little buggers turn tail by drawing a line with chalk or talcum powder at their point of entry. When ants cross over the chemical compound calcium carbonate, it breaks the trail of pheromones the pests deposit, causing their brethren to crawl in the opposite direction.


    Related: Pests, Be Gone! 10 Natural Ways to Make Your Home Critter-Free

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  5. What’s Cooking?

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    Everyone loves leftovers, but nobody cares for the discoloration they leave inside plastic storage containers. So, before stowing tomato sauce, stews, or soups, spritz the interior with cooking spray to create an effective stain barrier. Pretty slick!


    Related: 10 Clever Household Uses for Lemons

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  6. Press Refresh

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    De-gunk your garbage disposal the natural way. Dump half a cup of cornstarch down the unit, followed by one cup of white vinegar. Allow to fizz, then pour boiling water down the disposal. Next, add two cups of ice and a handful of coarse kosher salt to loosen any stubborn debris. Finally, toss in a lemon slice, turn on the tap, and run the disposal to deodorize.


    Related: Even Your Garbage Disposal Needs TLC

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  7. On Your Mark

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    If you think the permanent marker on your wooden table is, well, permanent, here’s something to smile about. Squirt an ample glob of toothpaste (note: paste, not gel) on the mark, wait a few minutes, then rub with a damp rag and rinse with a clean rag. It may take a few attempts, but you’ll remove the mark without harming the finish. Try this method on those nasty black scuffs on vinyl flooring too.


    Related: 9 Surprising Alternative Uses for Toothpaste

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  8. Fresh and Clean

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    We all grew up with an open box of Arm & Hammer in the fridge, but vanilla extract works just as well and offers a pleasing aroma in the bargain. After cleaning the fridge, soak a sponge in the stuff and leave it on a shelf for fragrance that lasts. If it’s your microwave that’s stinky, pour a few drops of vanilla extract into a bowl, and nuke on high for a minute.

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  9. Give It a Spin

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    The blender is one of the simplest countertop appliances to operate, but getting it spotless is another matter. The simple solution? After use, rinse out the jar, add dish soap and water, and place it back on the base. Turn on the blender and—whirrrr!—goodbye to the gunk that would otherwise cling to the bottom or blades.

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  10. Rub-a-Dub-Rhubarb

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    And you thought it was just for pie? If your pots and pans are looking less than new, rub rhubarb leaf on the exterior to bring back the shine. To banish burn marks inside cookware, add some cut-up stalks to water and boil for a few minutes.

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