Holiday Baking Gets Messy. Kitchen Cleaning Gets Harder.

These Kitchen Cleaning Hacks Will Help.

Mess happens. It’s part of life. You can stand there and cry about it. Or clean it up. (Actually, there’s one more option. You can cry and clean at the same time. That works, too.) And during the holidays, when your kitchen is more crammed and chaotic than a major airport hub during a blizzard, things are bound to go wrong. Remember Die Hard 2? Exactly.

So, what holiday messes are likely to occur? What should you clean first? The following kitchen cleaning hacks serve as your action plan. (Be sure to check your appliance manufactures’ cleaning suggestions.)

Stove in shambles. Range. Stove. Cooktop. Call it whatever you want, but it’s the showpiece of your kitchen – and should sparkle. Houzz.com’s article, “How to Clean Your Range and Oven,” has some insight. First, they recommend removing the burner trays and soaking them in soapy water for about 20 minutes. Then give them a light scrub with a non-scratching sponge. Before putting the trays back, use a vacuum – the SHOP-VAC® 5 GALLON* 4.5 PEAK HP** STAINLESS STEEL WET / DRY VACUUM would be a fine choice – to suck up loose debris. Then use a cleaning solution (the article mentions a combination of hot water, vinegar and lemon) and sponge or cloth to scrub away greasy residue. A microfiber cloth will avoid scratches. Put the trays back. Now you’re cooking.

Oven-pocalypse. The next set of kitchen cleaning hacks are focused on the oven. A lot can go wrong in the oven. Spills. Explosions. Grease fires. Years of frozen pizza crumbs plotting their revenge. Sooner or later, you need to clean it. Here’s how. Remove the racks and soak them in the same soapy water as the trays. Now go to your TV and watch a sitcom. When you come back, use your handy non-abrasive sponge (for ceramic racks) or a pumice stone (for metal racks) and scrub. Scrub harder. Harder. OK, that’s good. While you let the racks dry, give yourself a pep talk, because you’re going to want to stick your head in the oven. Literally. With your vacuum nozzle, suck up any loose food particles, crumbs, etc. Don’t forget that mysterious drawer under the oven. It’s dirtier than you think. Then wipe the inside of the oven down with a damp cloth. Now comes the big decision: To use or not to use oven cleaner? If you choose over cleaner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Increasingly, people are cleaning without chemicals. If that describes you, the internet is full of baking soda and vinegar cleaning recipes. The video How to Clean an Oven Naturally is short, sweet, and helpful.

Don’t forget the big (grimy) picture. As long as you’ve got all your cleaning supplies out, why not keep at it? Kitchen walls, appliances, baseboards, floors, windows, even the ceiling can use some TLC.

There’s only one more step. Take all your cleaning supplies and drive to our house. Our kitchen is a disaster! And we’ve got sitcoms to watch.