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5 Instant Kitchen Cleaning Tips

From burned-on food to airborne splatters, these stress-free solutions will destroy the evidence in no time.
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sponge

That cheesy casserole you love left the inside of the oven greasy.

FIX: Joey Green, author of Cleaning Magic, recommends mixing powdered drink mix (just scan the ingredients for grease-fighting citric acid) with 2 quarts water. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then wipe down the oven.

pot

You burned the rice, and now there's a layer of scorched grains covering the bottom of the pot.

FIX: Skip the scouring: Fill the pan with hot water, then toss in a fabric-softening dryer sheet and let it sit overnight. The softening agents will loosen up the rice so it pours right out, says Linda Cobb, author of Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean.

grinder

You ground some spices in the coffee grinder, and now your morning brew reeks of last night's dinner.

FIX: Grind a handful of odor-absorbing Cheerios for 30 seconds, says Mary Findley, co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cleaning. Or place a small charcoal briquette (any kind will do) in the grinder and cover the appliance with a paper bag. The charcoal's porous surface will swallow smell-causing agents overnight.

skillet

No amount of buffing will lift burnt-on food off your cast-iron pan.

FIX: Coat the pan with a thick layer of vegetable oil and let it loosen the food overnight, then mop up the mess and any excess oil with paper towels or a clean cloth. For quicker cleanup, fill the pan with water, bring it to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes, then drain, coaxing off any stubborn food with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Reseason with cooking oil.

splatter

Your pressure cooker popped open and sloshed strawberry jam all over the ceiling.

FIX: Soak a towel in hot, sudsy water, then drape it over a broom head, rubber-banding it at the handle. "Mop" the mess. Once it's off, remove soapy residue with a towel soaked in plain water.

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