Cleaning the kitchen is one of those less-than-thrilling household chores that simply has to be done.

In fact, when NSF International, the public health and safety organization, conducted a study to find the ‘germiest room in the home’, they discovered it was the kitchen!

Clearly, scrubbing this area – where our food is prepared – should be top priority…but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a few shortcuts!

Try these nifty tips and tricks to enjoy a sparkling kitchen with minimal effort.

1. Sanitize Sponges in the Microwave

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With up to one million bacteria per square inch on an average dish cloth and a whopping 10 million per square inch on a kitchen sponge, these cleaning tools need regular sanitization!

In the NSF study referenced above, kitchen sponges were found to be the germiest items in the entire house! To kill microbes and stay healthy, just zap the sponges in the microwave for two minutes.

2. Unblock Stinky Drains with Baking Soda and Vinegar

In just five short minutes, you can loosen up grimy sludge and say goodbye to those disgusting odors emanating from the drain by using hot water, vinegar and baking soda.

3. Clean Baking Trays and Dirty Pans with Lemon

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Soak pans, pots, baking dishes and cookie sheets in hot water with baking soda and fresh lemon and watch the grease slide right off. You can also rub half a lemon around stainless steel cookware for extra shine before rinsing and allowing to air dry.

4. Dissolve Water Stains with Vinegar

Hard water can leave a dull, white crust on all manner of shiny surfaces – from the sink to silverware to the fridge water dispenser. Gently rub vinegar into these stains to make your kitchen items gleam like new again.

5. Deodorize Smelly Kitchen Towels with Baking Soda and Vinegar

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Kitchen towels are exposed to all kinds of food, drink and other grime – meaning they can soon stain and stink! If conventional laundry powder never seems to make them smell rosy, try using simple baking soda and vinegar (with optional essential oils) in the washing machine – those odors will just disappear.

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