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Clean up tips/secrets?

Most of us love to cook. Clean up? Not so much.

I keep a paper towel/damp sponge on the counter & wipe up as I cook.

I also put utensils, bowls etc in the d/w as I cook.

Both make clean up quicker & easier but I wonder if others have more and/or better clean up tricks & tips...Please do share...

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  1. Mary someone who loves to eat but doesn't cook. My husband is far, far better at cleaning up than I'll ever be and he thinks it's a fair trade.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cheryl_h

      My husband is also handles the kitchen clean-up. He cleans as I mess up when I'm preparing a meal that involves lots of bowls/pans/utensils. But he also does the after-dinner clean-up, so I sometimes find myself lingering at the dining room table with my final glass of wine while he slings a dish towel over his shoulder, clears the dishes and sets to work. Hubby thinks it's a fair price to pay for eating well at home.

      1. re: CindyJ

        Your hubby takes my breath away....

        1. re: OCAnn

          LOL! He tells me that's a common reaction when he tells women he works with about his role in our equal opportunity kitchen. In fact, I think he's even had a few marriage proposals over the years

    2. Our kitchen is tiny, so I have to clean as I go. I always start out with an empty dishwasher and load as I go. I also make sure the trash is taken out and I'm starting with an empty garbage can (my husband's job). Same as you, I wipe off countertops as I go and washing dishes in between prepping items.

      Cheryl h - my MIL has been married 42 years to a man who does the cleanup. I don't think he thinks it's a fair trade though. My MIL is a walking disaster in the kitchen. She is a good cook, but godamighty, that woman can trash a kitchen making toast. Open drawers, open cabinets, uses every! single! bowl! It's truly amazing the destruction she can wreak.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Andiereid

        Maybe she's a mess in the kitchen because she knows her husband will clean up! :)

        1. re: Foodrat

          shhh... I think she likes to keep him from taking too many naps! ;)

        2. re: Andiereid

          Andiereid - I think even my very easygoing DH would throw in the dishtowel if I trashed the kitchen. Fair is fair. I put most things away after they're used, clean up utensils which I use again rather than take out more from the cupboards etc. But DH is absolutely anal about getting the kitchen spotless and I am not. Sometimes he eats out and comes home to reclean everything because I'm not as fanatic as he is. I thank my lucky stars for him.

          1. re: cheryl_h

            Do you ever rent him out? ;)

            Just kidding my own Pootie Pie does a pretty good job of helping in the kitchen. And he plays bartender and provides me with my cocktail(s) while I cook.

            1. re: Andiereid

              Exactly...I cook, he opens the wine, mixes the martinis, changes the CD, etc while I cook. After dinner, he cleans the dishes while I clean the kitchen. Unless I had too many pre-dinner martinis, then I fall asleep.

              1. re: CookingGirl

                Same here. If I've had too many pre-dinner drinks, I fall asleep too. But then I blame the fact that I didn't help clean up on him. (not really)

            2. re: cheryl_h

              I'm a lot like your DH. I clean up after my own DH cleans, b/c it isn't clean enough. For some reason, he can't see food particles on the counters & floors, the smears on the stainless & glassware, food smudges left on plates & utensils, etc.

              1. re: OCAnn

                I let him do it and likewise he just does not see that stuff. I take care of it the next AM. I have a friend who is just nuts. She has taught her DH of over 40 years that he is titally incompetent to do anything around the home by constantly critcizing everything he does or tries to help with . So consequently he reads or something and she does it all, she has taught him that he cannot prepare any food for himself, cannot empty or load a dishwasher, can't pack his own suitcase and so on. Pretty sad for both of them.

          2. Funny- I am not a neat freak- but I am a neat cooker! I wipe as I go, load the dishwasher, etc. If I am cooking for a crowd ( usually every weekend!), sit at the kitchen table while prepping. I have a huge cutting board- and I put that on the table. Then I use my smaller cutting boards for prepping the meat and vegatable. Once I chop or dice the vegatable, I put it on a paper plate. All the "garbage" on to another paper plate. That way, I don't dirty lots of containers. Once done, all I have to do is wash the cutting boards. No mess.
            I am also a huge fan of tine foil when making something messy. Lining the roasting pan with tin foil for ribs or anything with a sauce.

            2 Replies
            1. re: macca

              I find that the heavy duty foil works best for lining and keeping the grease or sauce away.

              I also bake bacon, definately less mess. I leave the lined baking sheet in a cool area so the bacon grease solidifies. When it does, I crumple up the foil and toss into a produce bag and toss. Yes admittedly I have committed a chowhound sin and tossed bacon grease.

              1. re: rumgum

                Never thought of baking the bacon. Godd idea. I, too, rarely save the bacon drippings-though I do like them to quickly cook with spinach.
                When baking pies, I line a cookie sheet with foil in case there is any drippings. I also sometimes line the oven shelves with tin foil when broiling steaks.

            2. Definitely clean as you go, and I agree on the tin foil. Another thing I do to make clean up easier is to use either plastic wrap or wax paper. Look at the recipe, and figure out what (of the chopped things) will go in last - cut that and put it at the bottom of a big bowl. Then see what goes in before that, chop it and put it in the bowl on top of the layer of plastic/wax, etc. You can do a lot of prep work earlier and then just toss things in when they need to go into the pot (or whatever), and have the cutting board clean and the bowl that all this stuff is in, and you can clean those while the stuff is cooking. It probably sounds insane, but it is so much easier than cleaning it all up after the meal.

              5 Replies
                1. re: LulusMom

                  That is a great idea! I use disposable bowls but always feel a tinge of guilt everytime I realize how much I've wasted. I'll try this trick now!

                  1. re: JoLi

                    That is a great tip -- and especially good for those of us with tiny kitchens who don't have the counterspace for a plethora of bowls littering the landscape!

                    1. re: spyturtle008

                      wow, I'm glad some of you liked this idea so much! I was a little worried that I sound like a maniac (which I might just be ...). I should add that another great thing about this big bowl thing is that once you've tossed everything into the pot, the bowl can be used as your cleaning bowl - just throw it in the sink with some dish soap and wash all those little things like knives and measuring spoons that you wouldn't put in the d/w.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        That's a BRILLIANT idea! I put all my bits onto a plate as I go along... but the kitchen counter is tiny and if they don't all fit on one plate I run out of room. I never thought of layering them with plastic wrap!

                2. I try to clean everything as I work so that after a meal it is just a matter of putting things in the dishwasher and putting leftovers away.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Candy

                    See... this is a lot of my problem; too many things are not allowed in the dishwasher!

                    I certainly don't have any answers, because I am a messy cook and sometimes my kitchen is messy for weeks... please don't hate me now that you know the truth! One thing that I know would have helped me from the very beginning was to have the kitchen arranged the way I wanted it to be. When my now husband and I moved in together, we had lots of people "helping" put stuff away- nothing was where I wanted it to be, but there's so much crap in the kitchen now, I don't even want to think about reorganizing it! When we move into a house (probably a year from now) I am for sure going to do the kitchen all by myself this time!

                    The only trick I can really think of I've already shared on another topic, but it is to keep a grocery store bag hooked on my cabinet while I'm cooking so I can just toss trash into it, and then transfer the whole sack to the trash can instead of continuously walking back and forth.

                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      I just keep a bowl full of sudsy hot water inb the sink. As I use something it goes in and out quickly, gets rinsed and left to drain. It is more a matter of organization and training yourself. When I am working with my food prpcessor or KA mixer I keep a Cuisinart rimmed cutting tray next to me. It gives me a place to set down messy stuff and contain spills so there is less counter clean up. When I am done I just pick the thing up and carry it to the sink. Bowls, spoons etc all go into the soapy hot water and in 5 mins I have it all clean and draining. Believe me, I grew up with a mother and later a M-I-L both of whom can dirty everything in the kitchen boiling an electric kettle for water.

                      Another tip....I have lots of sets of measuring cups and spoons, odd sizes and regular, stainless and glass. This allows me to move quickly through a recipe without repetitive movements. WS, SLT, and Baker's catalogue are good sources. If you can drop them into hot soapy water or into the DW so you don't have to keep on washing them. I also remove them from the lops that keep them together. I have 2 sets of odd sized spoons, 2/3 tsp, 1 1/2 (or half Tbs) tsp. etc. 2 sets of regular and manu galss and metal measuring cups. Makex you much more efficient.

                      1. re: Katie Nell

                        "please don't hate me now that you know the truth!"

                        I love you now that I know the truth!

                    2. I try to use the same measuring cups and spoons for wet and dry ingredients by measuring the dry first, thus saving the need to clean before re-using or using a fresh one. (Do the molasses or corn syrup LAST!)
                      I reconsider my order of operations to minimize the number of tools needed.
                      I also quickly rinse and re-use bowls and utensils as long as no raw meat touched them.
                      That tip about having the "auxiliary" garbage container is pure genius. In my town, we also have a pick-up for organic waste and I've decided to have a bowl for each on the counter when performing a big cook. It saves opening the lower cupboards repeatedly.

                      1. I keep a bowl on the counter for the ends of the vegies, garlic "paper," etc. AND I was doing this before the dreaded Giggler did it on national TV. Now I'm going to steal Lulu'sMom's big bowl of prepped vegies, too.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Elizzie

                          "the dreaded Giggler" -- I love that.

                          Every day I place one of those clear produce bags into an old plastic round container and use it as a garbage bowl. I always put a piece of paper towel beside my cutting board. I use the cutting board to hold the paper towel down. That's where I slide the garlic paper and veggie ends to. I wrap up the paper towel and toss into the produce bag. At the end of the night I tie up the bag and toss.

                          But my kitchen is still messy. The clean up just never ends!

                          1. re: rumgum

                            cleaning the kitchen is like doing the laundry....6 loads, you think you're' done, then you find a pair of dirty socks! Dang!

                            With my kitchen, it's garlic peels on the floor in the corners. I swear they multiply down there.

                            ....and I love my fine splatter screen. It saves a mess. Sometimes I put a paper towel over the top too to catch the tiny splatters it doesn't catch.

                            1. re: toodie jane

                              My sister calls that last dish you always find after you have cleaned everything else up "the seed dish." It is to let God know you will be around the next day to make more dirty dishes.

                        2. Besides using aluminum foils to line baking sheets, I use them to line along the stove top each time when I cook. So all the drippings or oil splattered from cooking will end up on the foils and I just throw them all out after cooking. The only thing that needs to be aware of is not to place it too closely to the fire (if you use gas stove) or else it may catch fire!

                          I also put a thick foil screen (I bought it in a Japanese supermarket) behind the stove permanently to avoid the oil splatters as well.

                          When measuring oily stuff I always use ceramic holders and not plastic because the oil won't stick to the ceramic surface and can be rinsed off easily.

                          I know I know, I am not enviromentally friendly for using all these foils, I am working on it! =$

                          1. I promise I'm really not trying to be a wet blanket, but I do try to avoid time saving and clean up saving things that wind up creating more non-biodegradeable waste. Anything "disposable" always kind of gets a raised eyebrow from me in the kitchen. With all the extra packaging I'm already throwing away, (and trying to avoid), tossing extra tin foil and waxed paper just kind of gives me the spanquease. I try to keep that kind of stuff to a minimum, since I'm having a big enough impact on the environment without adding to it. (No, I promise I'm not a hippie flower child.)

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Andiereid

                              agreed. i really try to avoid using materials i would not normally throw away for waste. i use something that's already going in the trash - like a can (we don't have recycling in our city), or a box, or a package, or the plastic i put veggies in in the market. otherwise, i can't justify adding to the problem. i'm not a hippie either - just doing what i can think of when i can think of it.

                              1. re: Andiereid

                                Yeah but after cleaning the TV screen of the television screen which sits on thre top of my firdge and looking at the accumulated crud on the top of the fridge itself I was seriously thinking of plastic wrap on the exposed surfaces. I can pul it off every few months and replace instrad of using chemical ceansers. Which is worse. You decide for yourself.

                                1. re: Candy

                                  A spray bottle of white vinegar and water is my best friend. I use it for the counters as well as the hardwood floors (which are in my kitchen). A quick spritz on the floor with the vinegar mix and a quick once over with a microfiber mop and it's done. No nasty chemical cleaners to worry about.

                                  As for the TV screen, just use a microfiber cloth. :)

                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                    The microfiber cloth would then have to go into the wash because it is greasy dust on the TV screen.

                                2. re: Andiereid

                                  Same here - I still seem to go through a lot of paper towels, foil, etc., but I do try to think of other solutions when I can - a spritz of canola oil instead of foil-lining most pans (a BIG change for me, I used to line everything!); lots of big and little bowls for setting up mise en place; re-using the parchment when I'm baking a lot of cookies. I do try to clean as I go, and have persuaded DH to do more in that way as well (though I still find myself marveling at how he manages to use all 3 sets of measuring spoons in prepping one meal.) We both cook, close to 50/50 these days, and our household rule is that whoever did dinner, the other one does the clean-up.

                                  As El Puerco described above, I also tend to re-use measuring cups and spoons, working from dry ingredients to wet if I can or at least using one for dry, one for wet, with a quick rinse between ingredients if needed. And while I don't divide ingredients with a sheet of waxed paper like LulusMom (clever idea!) I do often either put all of the things that go in at the same time into the same bowl, or else put the last into the pot into the bottom of the bowl and set up strata in reverse order (for big chunks of things.)

                                  I don't mind dirtying a bunch of prep bowls, though, because they're usually not VERY dirty and it takes no time at all to give them a quick washing-up while something's simmering on the stove.

                                  We do have a garbage disposer, so vegetable trimmings usually go into the sink. If trimmings are too fibrous or bulky and likely to stop up the drain, I usually try to use a package from something I'm prepping (potato bag or such), a grocery store bag, or a sheet of newspaper for my waste, and as many have said, just hang onto it till all the prep and trimming is done so that everything goes out in one trip.

                                  1. re: Allstonian

                                    In my defense, I rarely use all three sets of measuring spoons in one meal, but I often use two, for the same reason you do: one dry, one wet. When I've used all three, one of two things has happened: I've already rinsed off both of the other measuring spoon sets but now I need to measure something dry for another recipe and it's easier to grab the clean ones than laboriously towel dry one of the just-washed sets; or I can't find one of the sets I've already used because Angus is sprawled on the counter in front of or on top of them.

                                  2. re: Andiereid

                                    Thank you! How hard is it to wipe off a stove top??? You could rinse off and recycle the aluminum foil...

                                  3. My biggest tip is probably a no-brainer, but I use my bench scraper to scrape every thing off into the trashcan before I wipe my counters. It saves SO much time.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Becca Porter

                                      My shortcut is to spread a dishtowel under my cutting board or mixing bowl, or anywhere there's a mess going on. When you are done, just shake out the dishtowel over the sink, and toss it in the laundry.

                                      1. re: Gin and It

                                        I do the same, but with newspaper. I just toss the whole thing in the trash.

                                    2. I also clean as I cook. I always keep a wet towel by the sink, and wipe as I cook. When I'm waiting for something to boil or simmer, I use that time to load the dish washer and tidy up the kitchen. I also use saran wrap "seal" the gap between the stove top and my counter top (depending on your counter top material, some may not work). That way, I never get any food particles or oil splatter stuck between the hard-to-reach areas in between the stove and cabinet. When I do the final cleanup, just toss the wrap.

                                      1. Preface - I do not keep bacon drippings to cook with. For those that do please stop reading.

                                        For the others - I bake my bacon on a sided cookie sheet. At the end of the cooking process I have the bacon draining on paper toowels and a cookie sheet covered in bacon grease. I do not want to place down the drain for fear of clogging so here is my answer. I use my bounty paper towels to soak up the grease and place in a hefty bag and throw in the compactor. No grease down the drain or in the sink, and the stuff is contained.

                                        1. I have a little plastic (I think it was a small ice bucket from an inexpensive motel we stayed at once)squarish box lined with produce plastic sitting next to the sink for garbage ends and eggs or cans to recycle. I don't run much down the disposal, its gross to me. I pull out a couple sheets of paper towels sheets or wax paper to toss meat ends in and they go in seperate plastic baggies, and go out to the garbage right away.

                                          But my husband is better and much more fussy and will follow up cleaning behind me, gotta love a guy like that!

                                          1. Ah, the question of heavy duty chemical cleaners...I use that Imus stuff. Works well and smells nice. I'm also trying to cut down on "extra" waste, so I'm thinking of how to make that work with the big bowl concept--all I've come up with is separating the layers with plates, but that would kind of defeat the less to clean part of the idea. Love the bench scraper idea--so simple.

                                            1. There seems to be no 'out' from clean as you go. My dishwasher is my best friend (besides my husband who does the clean up when it's all over). I make sure it's empty before I get started on prep. Similarly I make sure all counters are clean and clear before I start working. If they're cluttered little bits of debris seem to slither behind and in between and under the clutter and take up semi-permanent occupancy in my kitchen. Little mise en place bowls or small plates really help out since once they're in the mix they can go straight into the dishwasher. I am also appreciative of my garbage disposal. In an ideal world I would compost but that doesn't seem to be in the cards for me so the garbage disposal it is It saves on smelly wet garbage and allows me to clear my cutting board directly into the sink. Spoon rests are another essential. I keep several around the kitchen and specifically next to the stove. I try to teach people who cook with me to put their spatulas, stirrers etc. on the rests rather than put them directly on the counter making a sticky icky mess. This is an ongoing project - old dogs, new tricks and all of that. One day it will pay off I'm sure. Putting away ingredients as I go is another crucial part and wiping down the container before it is put away. Contributes to the less countertop clutter approach. And in the end my husband is grateful for the sinkful of knives and wooden implements that have to be hand cleaned and the pots he knows he will have to do. But everything else is run in the dishwasher and run as soon as it is filled to be ready for the next run. It's an awful lot better than the cyclone I used to wreak on the kitchen 18 years ago when we were first married!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: KingsKetz

                                                Ah, so it will get better for us newlyweds out there?! ;-)

                                              2. For roasting pans and sautee pans that have are really badly crusted with drippings and burnt bits, I fill them with hot water and deglaze on top of the stove. As the water boils, I scrape up the cooked on crud then simply wash with soapy water. It eliminates the need to soak for hours and scrub the pan clean.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: greenstate

                                                  Do you have to let the pan cool down a little before you put in water?

                                                2. Of course "clean as you go" is the best approach, throw trash into the garbage, clean up scraps, wipe off counters, and at least rinse out pots and pans and bowls (stack them dirty for later washing).

                                                  Go to Walmart or Target or similar store and buy one of the large plastic "dishtubs" (or any plastic storage tub such as the Steri-Lite brand). I bought one for about 4 dollars and its the best investment.

                                                  As you cook, serve dinner, etc, place dirty dishes in the tub. Its the equivalent of those "bus tubs" they use at restaurants to carry all the dirty plates back to the kitchen.

                                                  Even better, fill it half-way with warm soapy water !!!

                                                  While you are there also pick up a set of those plastic "nested bowls" - i bought a set at Wal-Mart with 14 pieces, which is 7 bowls from very small to large mixing size, with lids. The lids stack flat, and the bowls nest in each other (and same sizes nest too). I keep the lids under the bowls in the cabinet to save space and use them for EVERYTHING and they were like 5 dollars for the whole set. Mine have blue or purple covers. They sell more "expensive" ones from Rubbermaid or whoever, but the generic work just fine.

                                                  Also grab a stainless steel scrubby... the kind that looks like a big mess of coiled wire. They work about a thousand percent better than Brillo, don't leave little sticky wire spikes in your pots (or fingers) and you don't have that horrible pink brillow soap smell. You can re-use them forever, they stretch out eventually, but you can use them with your regular hot soap and water.

                                                  Stuck on food: put the pot back on the stove filled with soapy water, bring to a boil. Let soak. Use stainless steel scrubby and some elbow grease and amazing results will follow.

                                                  Paper towels are your BEST friend.

                                                  Clorox makes a new "anywhere" spray surface cleaner in a light blue bottle, its diluted bleach I guess, but "friendly" to you and your pets and smells lightly of bleach but nothing harsh.

                                                  Aluminum foil is another good idea as several mentioned above. Wrap EVERYTHING... even the dog or cat... ha ha ha.
                                                  Reynolds makes a new "non-stick" foil, perfect for cookies and dry baking.

                                                  Another great one is 1-gallon plastic storage bags (the cheap kind with the plastic twist ties, not the zip-loc kind, unless you prefer to spend the extra money). I place portioned ingredients and almost everything small that goes in my fridge and just make a knot in the bag. I keep parm cheese in one, and just rip it open and re-seal tightly when done using it.

                                                  Make ahea - for the holiday meal, i did all the "dirty" work a day ahead - peeling carrots and potatos, washing leeks, peeling onions. I then cut everything to size, and put in the plastic bags in the fridge. Saves a ton of time and several rounds of cleanup before your dinner.

                                                  Plastic is re-usable. I save EVERY container i find or use... the other day I even saved the little plastic cup that comes on top of the bottle of Robitussin.

                                                  Ok i've rambled enough.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Sethboy

                                                    I'm well on my way to becoming my great aunt... who hordes cottage cheese containers, even the plastic you get rotisserie chickens in, yet never actually cooks or has anything to put in them. she just has a kitchen full of them.

                                                    I however, have a stash of yogurt containers of all sorts. I use them for little bowls, to take carrot sticks and small stuff with me to work, to freeze small amounts of things (I've got lots of egg yolks in the freezer right now), and the larger ones are a great size for leftovers. I'm also now stocking up on the dolma containers from trader joe's.

                                                  2. My mother used to make fried chicken, mashed potatoes, home-made biscuits, gravy, vegetables (black eyed peas) and salad:

                                                    1. I don't recall her cleaning as she went.
                                                    2. There was never a mess.
                                                    3. Dinner was terrific with only the dishware to clean.
                                                    4: I have never, ever, figured out how she did that.

                                                    1. Your post is very timely and these tips are great. I like keeping a running clean and can fill up a dishwasher very quickly, despite my best efforts at being efficient. Over the weekend I came up with the idea of washing the items I use most and letting them dry in the drainer for use later or the next day. As a result I had a lot more space in my d/w. It saved me a lot of time for the after meal clean up. I was able to get by with only one load of dishes.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                        That is why I keep a pan of hot soapy water going while I am preping and cooking. It is so simple to drop stuff in there and then rinse and drain. Knives, bowls, measuring cups and spoons etc. It just takes a minute and they are ready for reuse in minutes.

                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                          That is also recommended as an enviro-friendly way to clean -- you use much less water than letting it run while you wash dishes in the sink. Good f' you

                                                      2. if i'm measuring honey or molasses (anything sticky) i spray the spoon or cup with pam first. same thing when i use the box grater to shred cheese. they clean up so much more easily.

                                                        1. My main rules are just to be sure I clean as I go, and to have an empty dishwasher/sink ready to collect dirty things. I hate cleaning up.

                                                          Oh, I guess also clean from top to bottom...but that's obvious.

                                                          1. My new favorite clean-up toy in the kitchen (crazy, I know) is my Scooba. Scooba is the mopping equivalent to Roomba and I LOVE IT. I just set it loose in the kitchen when I'm done cleaning up after dinner and it mops up for me. True, mopping isn't that hard, but now I have the floor mopped every day, which I wouldn't do if I didn't have Scooba. I love Scooba so much, I think she'll be in our Christmas photo next year along with the rest of the family. ;-)


                                                            1. I also have an old mayo jar in the fridge for collecting bacon grease.

                                                              When I get meats at a frou-frou place like whole foods, I just season the chop or fish or whatever in the wrapper, then toss it when done.

                                                              I set out my spices before opening the meat package, then only handle the meat with my left hand and the spices with my right to avoid having to wash my hands every other minute. Dish towel hooked on frig latch; use one side for drying meat-handling washed hands; the other side for general hand-drying.

                                                              When a bottle of dish soap is almost empty, I fill it up with hot water and use this for scrubbing down countertops.

                                                              I use aluminum foil a lot, but my city lets you recycle it.

                                                              For pounding out chicken breasts, I place them between waxed paper and use an empty beer bottle.

                                                              1. One great tip I picked up is when you're skimming fat from soups or stews, line the inside of a cup with a generous sheet of aluminum foil. As you skim off the grease and fat, just dump it into the foil pouch. When the hot fat cools, it will become solid and you can just crumple up the foil pouch and throw it in the garbage.

                                                                1. As I go from one dish to another, I put the previous dishes' mixing bowl or similar into the sink and quick wash it out so it's not "clean" yet, just not stuck with food. I also lysol the counters inbetween prepping other foods so that in the end I have clean counters (for the most part) and a half sink full of partially clean dishes that I can dunk into the dishwasher before sitting down to eat. I wasn't always so smart though.. it was a long, messy, sticky, painful road here.. (hehe..)

                                                                  1. a little oil on the cheese grater before use makes clean up much easier

                                                                    1. Not necessarily a clean up tip, although it can help... I keep those old-fashioned diner sugar jars with the pour spout on my counter, one for flour and one for sugar. Helpful when I need just a tablespoon or when I need to sprinkle on the counter for rolling out dough. And I don't have to lug my flour or sugar from my pantry. (Oil on the cheese grater- brilliant!)

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                        gosh, i never thought of that for flour. we use one for sugar and keep it in the cupboard with the morning coffee routine items. Flour would be handy, too. Our pantry is so cramped that things are stacked and getting to the flour isn't a one-step move.
                                                                        by the way, what kind of dish-doing poochie is yours? beautiful and looks similar to a dog I know.

                                                                        1. re: xena

                                                                          Speaking of a clean up tip, Stewart is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi... not a picky hound for sure, but not big on raw onions and garlic!!

                                                                          1. re: librarian

                                                                            librarian- come on, it was just a joke! I've *accidentally* dropped onions (and garlic) on the floor before and he's sniffed them and walked away- this is a rare occurance for him to walk away from any food!

                                                                      2. tin foil is my friend. I rarely roast any vegetable or bake any cookie/bread/sticky sauced anything without lining with foil and spraying with Pam.
                                                                        On the rare occasion that something has to soak, all the other dishes are done and the soakable offender is filled with boiling water and a dishwasher tab. The mess comes right off. I have my dishwasher linked directly to my garbage disposal so I have no need for rinsing and whatnot before I load. There are very few things I don't put through my dishwasher. When I have lots of utensils going around, I use a luncheon plate instead of trying to balance everything on a spoon rest. I clorox clean up in between most everything and I also spray my cutting boards after rinsing and put those through the dishwasher then too. I buy a box of non-powdered surgical latex gloves from the drugstore and keep them on the shelf. I am a glove girl...meat, poultry, fish, garlic and onions.

                                                                        What my life boils down to is simple...I take one look at a persons home and kitchen and if it is slovenly, there isn't a chance I will eat anything that comes from it. Dirt is what it is. Period.

                                                                        1. I'm not sure if anyone mentioned this, but I do a lot of my food prep right in the sink. I figure the mess is going to end up in there anyway, right? Like mixing something with flour or crumbs, or mincing herbs that might otherwise scoot off the cutting board. I also cook with rubber gloves on, but I think I'm going to switch to disposables b/c I keep slicing into the right hand glove!

                                                                          1. a steel scrubber..it cleans baked/cooked on stuff & plates that have been left to sit too long.Don't use it on non-stick pans only enamel, steel and glass though. Works like a charm..Sometimes they're hard to find but they always have them at the mexican and asian markets..