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Stress Buster Short Cuts for the Kitchen & Cooking

by Laura Dellutri
Hard to clean under the refrigerator

Tried and True Solution: Get someone to help you move the refrigerator, then sweep, then mop the floor.

Stressbuster Shortcut: The Total-Reach Duster looks like a paddle. It’s flat and 31” long, and it is the absolute best solution for getting into tight and narrow spaces, like between an appliance and the counter, or into compartments made for holding trays—or under the refrigerator. Best of all, when it’s dirty you can just slip the microfiber duster off its “spine” and toss it into the washing machine.

Wine glasses break in the dishwasher

Tried and True Solution: Line the sink with a towel to prevent breakage, and then wash the glasses by hand.
Stressbuster Shortcut: I love the StemGrip Dishwasher Wine Glass Rack. You just attach it to any upright tine on the bottom rack of your dishwasher. It holds your glasses in place right in the dishwasher, so they won’t fall or bump into each other.

Glassware is etched in the dishwasher

Tried and True Solution: Etching is more likely in places where there’s soft water, and unfortunately, you can’t get rid of it. The best way to prevent it is to wash glasses by hand.

Stressbuster Shortcut: New Cascade Crystal Clear with Shine Shield (from Procter & Gamble) has etching protection for all your glassware.

Dishwasher doesn’t clean glassware thoroughly

Tried and True Solution: Use a scrubber pad on the glasses before you put them in the dishwasher.

Stressbuster Shortcut: Sometimes the old-fashioned way makes the most sense. Rather than going through three steps—scrubbing the glasses, loading them in the dishwasher, and then unloading them—consider Polder’s Glass Washing Station. You clean the glasses restaurant style, sliding them onto the large bristle post (for regular glasses) or the smaller one (for wine glasses). In an instant they’re clean and ready to stow away.

Dishwasher needs a cleaning

Yes, it comes as news to some people that the dishwasher itself needs to be cleaned, but look around the edges of the doorframe and you’ll probably see food particles that you can clean with soft abrasive product (even baking soda) on a sponge. And the interior needs a cleaning as well.

Tried and True Solution: Put a cup of bleach into the empty dishwasher and run it through a cycle.

Stressbuster Shortcut: Dishwasher Magic, a product from Summit Brands, removes rust spots and mineral buildup, and it kills e-coli and salmonella, too. Just put the cleaner in the silverware basket in an empty dishwasher, and turn on the machine. Stains and spots are gone. You only need to use it once a month to get phenomenal results.

Drip pans never come clean

Tried and True Solution: Put them in the dishwasher, or hand scrub them with cleanser, or put them in a plastic bag with some ammonia, seal it overnight, and turn your face away when you open the bag. Use a spatula to remove any caked-on food, and then clean the pans in the dishwasher.

Stressbuster Shortcut: Get four new drip pans to replace the old ones. (You can find them with cooking supplies in any grocery store.) Keep these to use whenever you want the range top looking bright and shiny. Reserve the old ones for everyday use.

Grease splatters dirty the stove while you’re cooking

Tried and True Solution: Stand back from stove and lower the flame. Though cooking time might be extended, cleaning time will be reduced.

Stressbuster Shortcut: Use self-sticking Splatter Guard, a plastic shield that adheres to the counter (without tools or hardware) and sets up a barrier between counter and stove. You won’t be burned, and the counter won’t get spattered either. Then just remove the shield from its track and pop it in the dishwasher.

Fry pans are coated with food and grease

Tried and True Solution: Add soapy water to the pan, put it on a burner for ten minutes on high, and with a rubber spatula loosen any food debris. Then wash the pan with a scrub brush.

Stressbuster Shortcut: No scrubbing required if you use New Dawn Power Dissolver, one of the fastest ways to clean really dirty pans. Spray it on, leave it for 10 to 30 minutes, and the dirt wipes away. Really.

Food is baked onto the crock-pot

Tried and True Solution: Soak the pot in high, soapy water overnight, and use a plastic spatula to scrape off any residue.

Stressbuster Shortcut: New Reynolds’s Slow Cooker Liners makes this job so much easier. Place the liner in the crock-pot before you cook, and when you’re done, remove it.

Burnt food is on the bottom of the oven
Tried and True Solution: Pour salt on baked-on crud in oven to stop oven from emitting smoke. When the oven is cool, use oven cleaner or scrape the surface with a plastic putty knife. Clean with hot soapy water, wipe dry.                                     

Stressbuster Shortcut: Save money and effort by using a permanent non-stick liner. New Chef’s Planet Non-Stick Oven Liner is completely washable. It’s so much faster than scrubbing the bottom of an oven!

Cleaning the oven is a smelly, filthy job

Tried and True Solution: Leave a bowl full of ammonia in the cold oven overnight, use paper towels and plastic scrapers to remove the softened grease and food, rinse with water.

Stressbuster Shortcut: Buy professional-strength oven cleaner from a janitorial supplier in a store or online. There are no harsh fumes. Just spray on, leave ten minutes, wipe clean and rinse.

Cleaning inside the microwave is awkward
Tried and True Solution: Line the bottom of microwave and cover the microwave turntable with paper towels. Wipe clean with warm soapy water.
Stressbuster Shortcut: With Chef's Planet Non-Stick Microwave Mat, you’ll never have to clean your microwave turntable again. Put it on the turntable and splatters and spillovers wipe up easily. To clean the top and sides of microwave, microwave a glass full of water on high for eight minutes or until the water steams the inside of the microwave. Remove the cup carefully, and wipe down the interior.

Cookie sheets are hard to clean

Tried and True Solution: Spray them with non-stick spray or line them with aluminum foil before you use them.

Stressbuster Shortcut: An l00% no-stick baking pan liner, 12 x 16, is tear- proof, saves money because it can be used over and over again, and won’t affect the taste of food. Works equally well for recipes that call for greasing the pan and those that don’t. Cookies release easily, and the sheet can be wiped off in seconds for immediate reuse.

Garbage disposal is yucky

Stressbuster Shortcut If there’s an odor, pour baking soda down the disposal, and if you want to clean the blades, put several ice cubes down it. If you want to clean it, buy a special long brush meant for this purpose.

Tried and True Solution: Magic American recently developed a new product called Disposer Care. Just turn on the water, drop in the pouch, and turn on the power. In no time at all, food residue on the blades is gone and the disposal is sanitized.

Smells affect food in refrigerator and ice cubes in freezer

Tried and True Solution: Set a box of Arm &*Hammer Baking Soda in the fridge or freezer, either in the old-fashioned box, one corner lifted, or in the new Fridge-N-Freezer Odor Absorber box, spillproof but with removable front and back panels to let air flow through. (Change every three months).

Stressbuster Shortcut: Gonzo Fridge and Freezer Odor Eliminators use all natural, non-toxic volcanic crystals that attract and hold odors like a magnet. Strong-smelling foods such as cheese and onions won’t affect other items, and refrigerator and freezer will smell fresh.

Kitchen odors make the whole house stink

Tried and True Solution: Whenever I cook foods like garlic, onions, peppers, or venison, I put a cup or two of water in a small saucepan with l/4 cup of vinegar, l teaspoon of cinnamon, and l/4 teaspoon of cloves and let the mixture simmer. Cinnamon is especially good to mask odors, and you can even heat it in a fry pan for this purpose. But take care that it doesn’t burn.

Stressbuster Shortcut: The Newaire Plugin has a special technology that circulates ozone and removes all kinds of odors—not just from cooking, but also smoke, mold and mildew, pets, chemicals, garbage. It naturally deodorizes up to 500 square feet. What’s especially appealing is that it’s compact—and it works silently.

Garbage cans have a bad odor

Tried and True Solution: Take them outside, spray them with disinfectant, and hose them down.

Stressbuster Shortcut: Put extra liners in the trashcan to prevent against leakage. To rid any lingering odor spray Atmosklear Odor Eliminator into the can. The results are instantaneous.

Plastic grocery bag collection is taking over the kitchen

Tried and True Solution: Use a single bag to store the others. To make each bag as compact as possible, squeeze out the air, give it a twist, then fold. Where there are kids, make sure you put the bags out of their reach.

Stressbuster Shortcut: Store bags in the Bag Saver Organizer from Made-Smart Housewares. Mount the organizer on the wall or inside a cabinet, put bags down the top of it, and bags dispense from the bottom. It holds thirty bags.

You burn your hands on hot dishes from the microwave, hot pans from the oven

Tried and True Solution: Mount a hook to keep a potholder or oven mitt handy.

Stressbuster Shortcut: I always seem to burn myself with cloth potholders, so I like the new silicone potholders, which offer terrific protection against very high temperatures. Plus, they don’t need machine laundering (they just wipe off), and they can double as a trivet.

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