8 Kitchen Cleaning Shortcuts

Keep your kitchen effortlessly clean with these easy tips.

If your kitchen is one of the biggest problem areas in your home, you'll need a cleaning strategy that won't eat hours out of your day! This high-traffic area that can accumulate a lot of dirt, debris, and germs over the course of a single day. Keeping those floors and countertops sparkly clean might feel like an impossible mission, but there are some simple, low-maintenance ways to keep the entire area pristine, organized, and free of germs.

Here are eight cleaning shortcuts to help you get that kitchen in great shape, fast:

1. Steam-clean the microwave. One of the easiest ways to clean the microwave is to put about three or four wet paper towels inside and heat them on high for about five minutes. The steam from the towels will make it much easier to loosen up grime and food particles. Just wipe the inside down with a kitchen cleaner and you'll be good to go.

2. Disinfect the garbage disposal. This is one of my favorite tricks for keeping the garbage disposal clean and germ-free. Freeze some ice cubes made with vinegar and water, then grind them in the garbage disposal while running some water. Scrub down the sinks with a scrubbing sponge for a thorough clean.

3. Clean out the refrigerator. Remove everything from the shelves, throw out all leftovers and foods that you don't know the expiration date of, and wipe down the insides of the refrigerator with soap and warm water. Dry everything off with some clean paper towels.

4. Use the self-cleaning feature on your oven. Follow your oven manufacturer's guidelines for using the self-cleaning feature and just set it and forget it as you take care of cleaning the rest of the kitchen. Just remember that you won't be able to use your oven for several hours after it's done cleaning, so plan accordingly.

5. Attack grime with a handheld steamer. A quick way to remove food and debris that's stuck on countertops, the top of your stove, and around the microwave is to just pass a handheld steamer over the surfaces. Only a few seconds across the surface is enough to loosen up stubborn patches of food so you can easily wipe with a paper towel.

6. Make stainless steel appliances shiny with olive oil. Put some olive oil on a soft cloth and just polish up all of your stainless steel appliances with it. Olive oil will take care of any smudges and fingerprints in a flash. If you don't have olive oil on hand, try baby oil instead.

7. Get rid of clutter. Grab a tote bag or large shopping bag to collect any and all items that don't belong in the kitchen. This could be everything from books and extra stationary, to clothing and knickknacks. Just fill up the bag to clear away the clutter, then place the items where they belong.

8. Clean the floors with a self-wringing mop. These mops can help you save a lot of time and hassle when you're trying to get your floors clean and shiny. Use a self-wringing ratchet twist mop with the right type of kitchen floor cleaning solution for a super-quick clean.

Content by Sabah Karimi.