Top 10 Kitchen Annoyances, Solved By Genius

Top 10 Kitchen Annoyances, Solved By Genius

Learning to cook is hard enough without spills, smells, smoke and bugs getting in your way. Here are our 10 biggest kitchen annoyances, and the clever methods you can use to solve them.

10. Avoid Spills Inside And Outside Your Fridge

We’re all a little groggy in the morning, and if you tend to have trouble pouring your morning orange juice — especially when that jug is particularly full — you can make it easier on yourself by putting a chopstick (or other stick-like object) across the mouth. The water will stick to the rod and flow into your glass rather than dribbling all down the jug and making a mess. Check out the video to the left to see Mr Bill Nye himself show it in action. And if your spills are more likely to happen in the fridge with plastic packets, you can use magnets to keep those at bay, too.


9. Eradicate Fruit Flies Once And For All

Got a little insect infestation? Fruit flies are something we all have to deal with once in our lives, and they can be difficult to get rid of once they’ve settled in. Luckily, you can make an effective trap using just a bit of apple cider vinegar. Pour some in a glass, add a drop or two of detergent to break the surface tension and watch the little buggers start sinking to the bottom when they come over for their afternoon snack.


8. Stabilise Messy Pizzas

Some nights you just don’t want to cook and those nights become pizza delivery nights. Eating the pizza is often easier said than done, though, particularly when the toppings fall right off. This is usually because the pizza was cut right after it was cooked, before anything has had a chance to set and cool. To avoid this problem in the future, order your pizza uncut and cut it yourself. You’ll be a lot happier with the results. Image: Robert Duncan.


7. Soothe (And Prevent) The Burn From Chillies

Ever cook with chillies, then rub your eye only to spend the rest of the night in agony? It’s a pretty awful feeling, but you can soothe that burn the same way you’d soothe it after eating those chillies: with a little milk. Flush out your eyes with some milk and you should find relief pretty quickly. If you don’t have milk nearby, sugar can help, too. To avoid the problem in the future, rub some olive oil on your hands after working with chillies to get the oils off your hands — sometimes regular water doesn’t do the trick. Image: Marlon Bunday.

6. Prevent Soft Drinks From Fizzing Over

Some of us can be a little overzealous when pouring a cold glass of Coke and it fizzes up so much that it overflows. The problem is particularly bad if you have ice in your glass, because that ice has lots of nucleation points on it for bubbles to form. The solution? Get your ice wet before you put it in the glass. It’ll keep the soft drink from fizzing so much and stop you from making a mess. If you’ve accidentally shaken up your soft drink can, you can fix that by tapping on the can or just waiting a minute before you crack it open.


5. Make Refrigerated Butter Spreadable

Getting a new stick of butter out of the fridge is the worst. You end up with a rock hard stick that you can’t spread on your toast and microwaving it makes a mess all over your plate. Here’s a clever fix: use a cheese grater to “grate” the butter onto your toast, which will melt faster and spread like a dream.


4. Clean Your Microwave Without The Hassle

No matter how careful you are, microwaves get dirty over time, and you’re going to have to get in there and clean it. But instead of rubbing off all that dry, caked-in food, make your microwave scrub-ready with a little water. By placing a bowl of water in the microwave and running it, you’ll loosen up all that gunk and make it much easier to wipe away. You can also add some lemon or vinegar to the water if you like, or even microwave a wet sponge — not only will you disinfect the sponge, but you’re ready to wipe down the inside right then and there!


3. Keep Onion-Cutting Tears At Bay

If cutting an onion brings on the waterworks, you can try a few things to hold those tears back. Try putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth and breathing through your mouth, or cut the cone out of the onion first, since that’s the source of eye irritants. You can also soak them in water, but this will give your onions a milder flavour, so only use if you want to bring down the taste, too. Image: Jennifer Dickert.

2. De-Stink Fish And Other Smelly Foods

The smell of sizzling fish is wonderful when you’re cooking, the smell of raw meat isn’t always the most pleasant. If you want to kill the odour of that fishy fillet, try soaking your smellier foods in milk before you cook them, or adding some peanut butter to the pan. While you’re killing smells, too, you might want to check out this video on de-stinking your garlic hands with a metal spoon.


1. Stop The Smoke Detector From Going Off Every Time You Cook

Smoke alarms are an important tool in any household, but sometimes they’re just plain annoying. If your smoke alarm has a tendency to go off when you cook, you can use a shower cap or plastic bag to temporarily “disable” it. Some alarms even have a built-in function that disables it for 15 minutes. Image: Michael Hicks.


  • If you don’t already, try keeping onions in the refrigerator. Low temperatures slow down the production of lacrymatory factor when the onion is cut. Stand back when you start to heat it though.

  • Another trick to avoiding the extremely unappetising odour of salmon frying is to bake it in foil instead of frying it. Much moister, no smell (during cooking or afterwards) and less washing up (just throw away the foil and wipe out the pan if a few juices leaked out).

  • Point 7: washing your hands with water wont get rid of all the oils, but washing with detergent or soap will. it’s probably more convenient than dousing yourself with oil.
    (Best not to put detergent in your eyes though, stick with milk for that)

  • Re: 4, Heating just water in the microwave can be pretty dangerous, especially when the goal is to heat it long and hard enough to steam the inside for cleaning. It’s possible to super-heat the water and then when it’s disturbed it can cause boiling water to erupt everywhere, eg on your hands or in your face. Always put a wooden spoon or something in to break the surface tension, add something else to the liquid so it’s not pure water and don’t run the microwave too long.

    Also tapping soft drink cans to stop them exploding is a myth. It might seem work sometimes but the tapping isn’t what’s making a difference.

  • Actually it’s safe to heat tap water in the microwave if its in a container that the mouth isn’t smaller than the rest of he container. A flat dish is perfectly fine, so is a glass (minus the scalding hot nature of boiling water). Using an open bottle though is extremely dangerous and should never be done. Also using distilled water is dangerous because it will superheat past the boiling point, that’s when breaking he surface tension with something causes it to explode. 😐

  • Re the onion thing: if you hold an unlit match in your mouth as you cut, it will stop the onion tears. Some people swear by a piece of brown bread, but I find the unlit match more effective.

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