7 Things These Grandmas Always Do When Cleaning the Kitchen

published Dec 3, 2021
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Grandma with boy washing dishes together in kitchen
Credit: Getty Images/ Vesnaandjic

We rely on our grandmothers for all sorts of wisdom and advice. They always seem to know about the most helpful tools and utensils. They’re the keepers of our favorite recipes. They’ve got the best top-secret kitchen tricks. And, of course, they just make us smile. So, we figured they might have some tips to make our cleaning to-do list feel a bit more manageable and fun.

Curious to learn how they keep their kitchens running, we gathered a group of grandmothers and asked which chores they never skip when cleaning the kitchen. Turns out, the chores that made the list are all pretty easy to do!

Credit: Kelli Foster

1. Pulverize citrus in the garbage disposal.

Jane Hart, a grandmother who lives in Bluffton, South Carolina, notes that citrus will help dispel funky smells in your garbage disposal. She regularly runs the disposal with a chopped lemons or oranges from her own trees. But, she says, if after pulverizing a few lemons, odor from the drain still lingers — it’s time to call in a professional.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

2.  Make your own floor and window cleaner.

Gerrie Smith, a grandmother in Bonita Springs, Florida, likes to make her own floor and window cleaner. “I like to fill Mason jars with lemon and orange rinds then top with vinegar and let soak for a few weeks. Then, I drain and add a little water and pour into a spray bottle,” she explains.

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani/Kitchn

3. Use baking soda for stuck-on food stains. 

There’s no sense in getting a sore arm scrubbing crusty pots and pans. After soaking the offending dishes, Smith uses a homemade concoction of baking soda and half a lemon. “Works great!” she says. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

4. Implement a two-pronged Swiffer approach.

“Sweep or dry Swiffer first, then wet Swiffer,” says Kathy Newby, a grandmother in Syracuse, New York, noting that it’s a quick and easy method for last-minute sprucing-up of the kitchen floor.

5. Treat tablecloth stains while it’s still on the table.

Newby points out that if you try to spot-treat a stained or dirty tablecloth in the laundry room, you’ll likely miss a few juice stains or ketchup blobs. Instead, she applies a stain treatment product to all of the offending marks while the linen is still on the table. As a bonus, the pre-treatment will continue to work its magic in the hamper, meaning that she doesn’t have to wash it straight away.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

6. Clean the sink early (and often).

Roberta Mangano, a grandma of four in Syracuse, uses this tip from her mother: “Nothing is clean in the kitchen unless the sink is!”​​ After all, the sink can be one of the germiest places in the kitchen. This task should be done at minimum once a day: “A little soap and warm water at the end of the day and a squirt of antibacterial spray does the trick. Don’t forget the knobs and handles,” explains Mangano. She also uses this technique on her refrigerator door — a practice recommended by food safety experts.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

7. Clean as you cook.

Ann Gross, a grandmother of three in Concord, Massachusetts, finds that staying tidy is a must while she’s cooking. She always cleans her pots, pans, and dishes as they accumulate, adding that she sometimes runs the dishwasher before sitting down to dinner. Not only is it more pleasant to eat without a huge job looming, but she points out that it also creates a more welcoming space for guests. At minimum, she suggests soaking crusty pots and pans before you eat.

What cleaning advice did you learn from your grandma? Share the tips in the comments below.