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Green Thanksgiving Cleanup Tips


cleanup thanksgivingThanksgiving is a favorite holiday in many houses, when the family cooks pull out all the stops. The table groans under the weight of all the delicious food (as do the overfed after the meal). On Black Friday, however, the kitchen looks, well, like the biggest meal of the year was cooked in it. So while some are camping out for the best sales, others are left to put away the leftovers and scrub down the kitchen.

There are a number of reliable, green alternatives to chemical cleaners. So, once the pots are all put away and the counter’s wiped down, try these three simple tricks to clean the stove, oven, and microwave.

Salting the Oven

This trick works best if you can do it the night of Thanksgiving. Even if it has to wait until after the tryptophan has worn off, this trick will make cleaning your oven a lot easier. Make a mixture of one third vinegar and two thirds water in a spray bottle. Make sure the oven is cool, remove the oven racks, and spray inside the oven and the oven door. Be generous—you want everything nice and wet.

Now, sprinkle baking soda all over the oven, with an emphasis on any areas where food residue is baked on. Cover the baking soda with a thick layer of coarse salt. Use your vinegar / water mixture again to wet the salt, which will make the baking soda fizz and bubble.

Close the oven and let the salt and baking soda sit overnight. The next day, use the coarse side of a kitchen sponge to scrub the mixture off the oven. You’ll find it comes off easily, taking dirt with it. Spray with the water and vinegar one more time to remove any remaining mixture, and then wipe down with an old towel. Paper towels work well too. You can use the same procedure to clean oven racks too!

Shining Stovetops

Instead of using a creamy-looking chemical cleanser on a glass top stove, use the same vinegar / water mixture that you used on the stove. You can also add a squirt of lemon juice for a nice aroma. Just spray it onto the stove, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and wipe it clean. Then, use a damp rag to remove any residue and give the top a quick polish with a dry cloth.

Microwave Mayhem

The microwave sees plenty of action on Thanksgiving and is subject to spills and splats. Try this for an easy clean:

Take a microwave-safe bowl and mix one cup of water with a tablespoon of vinegar. Microwave this mixture on high for five minutes. The steam loosens anything stuck to the microwave walls and turning glass. Carefully remove the bowl (the remaining water will be scalding hot) and wipe everything down with a damp cloth. You’ll be amazed how easily the gunk wipes off.

These little tricks will save a lot of time and elbow grease so you can get out of the kitchen and grab those Black Friday deals!

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