The Totally Free Super Cleaner You’re Not Using

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Carina Romano)

There is something in your kitchen that’s a super-cleaning agent, and you’re probably not using it often enough. And that’s silly — because it’s free (or almost free). That super cleaner is hot, hot water, and it costs about $0.0005 a gallon even in New York City, where everything is expensive!

Few stains or debris stand a chance against super hot water, and it disinfects surfaces, too. And as long as you wear gloves and make sure you don’t pour the stuff on a material that will melt at high temperatures, you’re golden.

Here are a few ways to use super hot water to clean.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

6 Ways to Use Hot Water to Clean in the Kitchen

  • Flush out berry stains: Run very hot water through soiled fabrics to push out the stain.
  • Clean your floors: Wood, linoleum, and tile all get cleaner with very hot water, with or without adding vinegar.
  • Scrub your drains: Run hot water through your pipes to loosen debris that’s built up in there. You can even use boiling water here.
  • Clean your microwave: Heat a bowl of water to boiling and let it roll a few minutes with the door closed to create humidity that loosens caked-on grease (some people add lemon juice, too).
  • Disinfect baby bottles: And grown-up stuff too! Whether you’re trying not to spread germs because you’re sick, or you’re living with someone with a weaker immune system, this is a way to disinfect their stuff.
  • Clean up scorched pans: Very hot water — in combination with scrubbing and just a little bit of soap — can remove impressively burned-on food.

I’ve learned this myself over the years, because the hot water in my old apartment got so over-the-top-hot that it was practically boiling when it came out. (You might not believe me, but there have been times when I’ve used hot water to fill the pot for the sous-vide, and it’s actually too hot to cook food in properly.) And our stuff gets really super-clean with just a little bit of scrubbing.

Have you ever had miraculous results with super hot water? We want to hear about it!