“Cooking with Claire” is an introduction to dining beyond the dining hall using easy, fast and cheap recipes.
Today I am going to break away from my usual format of this column and instead focus on the much less fun part of cooking- cleaning up. All those adorable Pinterest recipes and Facebook cooking videos look amazing until you realize you have to clean up after yourself. Sometimes I don’t think the people who write recipes realize how frustrating it is to clean three mixing bowls, two pots and a blender in a tiny college apartment. Less is more.
In my few years of cooking, I’ve picked up a few tricks that make cleaning up the kitchen a lot easier. Here are eight of the best ones that especially apply to a lazy and busy college student.
1. Presoak/rinse the pots: After you finish making your world-class box of macaroni and cheese, rinse out the pot before you start eating. It makes it much easier to scrub and wash the pot later.
2. Clean your blender the easy way: After you finish making your smoothie, fill your blender with water and a drop of soap and turn it back on. The water will splash against and clean every surface in the blender.
3. Buy the basics: Instead of buying fancy $8 cleaners, keep things simple and stock up on baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. You can clean ovens, pans, stoves, microwaves and practically everything else with those simple ingredients.
4. Stock up on lemons: Lemon juice is another classic cleaner that can be used in many, many ways. It can clean the garbage disposal, microwave and cutting boards. The fact that you can actually cook with it is another perk.
5. Clean as you go: Cleaning and washing dishes bit by bit is a much better strategy than piling the dishes and waiting until afterwards. If you have eight minutes to spare while the pasta is boiling, wash two or three dishes. It will make the aftermath easier.
6. Don’t forget the coffee: One of your most used appliances in the kitchen should probably be cleaned more often than you do. Pour half water, half vinegar into the water reservoir and brew. Run a few cycles with just water, then wash and rinse out the coffee pot and basket as usual.
7. Wash the washer: Your godsend kitchen appliance, the dishwasher, also needs to be cleaned every now and then. Sprinkle lemonade flavored Kool-Aid into the detergent cup and run a hot empty cycle. The citric acid will freshen up the washer.
8. Aluminum foil will save your life: Wrap up the toaster pan in aluminum foil to keep it like new for a long time. You can pretty much always wrap your pans in foil to make cleanup 10 times easier.
Claire Galvin is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.