10 Things That Can Practically Clean Themselves (Once You Put in a LITTLE Bit of Effort)

updated Nov 21, 2019
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Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a simple button you could push to clean all the things in your kitchen? And then every dirty item could just clean itself while you went off and did something (anything!) else? Turns out, there are all sorts of things that can practically clean themselves — once you get them going. Which frees you up to cook, enjoy a glass of wine, meal plan for the week … you get where we’re going with this.

Here are some cleaning tasks that, once you get them going, practically do themselves.

(Oh, and yes, we realize that, at the very least, your oven does have a self-cleaning button, but you really shouldn’t push that. And you definitely shouldn’t push it right before company comes over!)

Credit: Kitchn Video

1. The Microwave

Instead of tossing your used lemons in the trash, put them in a bowl with some water, place it in the microwave, and turn the microwave on to get some citrus steam going. The steam will loosen any stuck-on gunk and all you’ll have to do is wipe things down.

Read more: How to Clean Your Microwave Naturally With Just a Lemon

Credit: Faith Durand

2. Your Utensils

Keep a bowl of hot, soapy water by the sink and toss used utensils or cooking tools (like measuring cups) into it when you’re done with them. This will keep food from drying and even rinse some of it off, saving you significant scrubbing time and frustration!  

Read more: Don’t Wash This Bowl! A Soapy Bowl By the Sink Is the First Step in Washing Up

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

3. Your Refrigerator Shelves

This one is as simple as putting your shelves in the dishwasher and running a cycle! Check your refrigerator manual, which you can find online, and it will even tell you which parts of your particular fridge model are dishwasher-safe.

Read more: The Most Ridiculously Simple Way to Get the Inside of Your Fridge Sparkling Clean

Credit: Lauren Volo

4. The Inside of Your Oven

Cleaning the oven ranks high among the most-hated kitchen cleaning tasks. Allowing a vinegar and baking soda paste to penetrate through stubborn messes overnight cuts down on both elbow grease and time.

Read more: How to Clean an Oven With Baking Soda and Vinegar

5. Your Oven Racks

Speaking of letting the oven clean itself (again, not with the self-cleaning feature, though!), you can also clean your oven racks with a bubble bath of hot water and dish detergent. 

Read more: How To Clean Oven Racks in the Bathtub

Credit: Cat Meschia

6. Your Pots and Pans

Don’t scrub and scrub to no avail! The easiest and most effective way to clean even seemingly hopeless burnt-on food from your enamel and other cookware is to simmer water and baking soda in them. You can even use a very similar method to clean your slow cooker.

Related: How to Clean Every Single Pot and Pan You Thought You Ruined

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

7. Baking Sheets

The best way to get your baking sheets looking like new? With a paste made from baking soda and hydrogen peroxide combined with the most powerful ingredient: time.

Read more: How to Clean Your Baking Sheets.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

8. The Kitchen Faucet

Got hard-water build-up in the holes of your kitchen faucet? Just soak it in vinegar and it’ll de-gunk all the holes.  

Read more: This Lazy Bathroom-Cleaning Hack Works Great in the Kitchen, Too

Credit: Joe Lingeman

9. The Dishwasher

Similarly, a bowl of vinegar on the top rack the next time you run a load of dishes will help clean the hard-water deposits inside your dishwasher. Yes, you’ll still need to give it a real clean, but this is a great hold-over.

Read more: You Should Put a Bowl of Vinegar in Your Dishwasher — Here’s Why

Credit: Joe Lingeman

10. Your Kitchen Sink

Disinfecting your sink basin requires little more than stopping and filling your sink, adding some bleach, and letting it sit. 

Read more: How To Clean and Disinfect a Stainless Steel Sink