The Simplest, Most Effective Methods for Cleaning Almost Everything

published Dec 21, 2022
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When you have a mess to clean — the cabinets are too greasy to handle anymore or the dirty oven simply can’t be ignored — the last thing you want to do is expend energy trying to decide which cleaning method to use. Our cleaning showdowns aim to cut through all the options to present a clear winner for life’s dirtiest conundrums. 

Here are the cleaning methods that came out on top this year.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

1. Use Dawn dish soap to clean greasy cabinets.

It makes sense: To cut through grease, Dawn does the job best. Put a bit of Dawn in a bowl and then fill it with warm water. Scrub with a sponge. You will need to rinse off the soap residue with a clean damp sponge, but the method is straightforward and effective. 

2. And your dirty microwave.

Dawn to the rescue, again! Simply steam a bowl of water with a few drops of Dawn added to it. Microwave it and let the steam sit in the interior for a couple minutes. Then wipe away the softened mess with a sponge. Done!

Credit: Sarah Crowley

3. Make your windows sparkle with Windex.

DIYs and cult favorites aside, the best way to clean your kitchen window is with Windex. It’s easy (all you need is the spray bottle and a microfiber cloth) and reliable. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

4. Use a Swiffer to clean your wood floors.

Cleaning wood floors can be a task fraught with doubt. Is vinegar OK? How wet is too wet? Turns out the Swiffer WetJet Hardwood Floor Cleaner & Mopping Starter Kit is the straightforward everyday wood floor cleaner you need. You don’t need to mess with mixing solutions or dragging around a bucket, and it works really well for routine cleaning. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

5. Make grout bright with Zep.

As nice as it is to stick to multipurpose products, sometimes a product that’s made for a specific purpose is the way to go. This is the case with grout cleaner; lots of options get grout kind of clean, but Zep Grout Cleaner & Brightener makes it spotless. 

Credit: the kitchn

6. Use pumice to clean your oven.

Oven cleaning options run the gamut, but a simple pumice stone is super-effective and gives instant results. All you need is a pumice stone and a bowl of water to “erase” your oven’s most stubborn grease splatters and burnt-on stains. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

7. Use Dawn Powerwash to clean your air fryer…

First came Instant Pots, then came air fryers — and questions about how to clean them. Turns out the best method is a paste made of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide plus the grease-cutting power of Dawn Powerwash. Mix directly on the air fryer or make a paste separately and then dab it on. Scrub with a soft toothbrush and rinse with water. 

8. And your grill baskets.

Grill baskets are so convenient and churn out some seriously delicious eats, but cleaning them is no picnic. The best way to get them clean again is Dawn Powerwash. Spray on the ever-effective foam, let it sit for five minutes, and then scrub. It will take some elbow grease, but it will definitely pay off. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman

9. Make cloudy blenders crystal clear with powdered dish detergent.

Cloudy blenders may be clean, but they certainly don’t look clean. To rid the containers of the offending mineral deposits, add two tablespoons of dish detergent powder to a blender full of hot water. Let the solution sit for a couple of hours and use a soft sponge to scrub around the base. Rinse thoroughly.