Not only is cleaning your kitchen time consuming, but washing some of the larger items can create an even bigger mess than the one had in the first place. If you’re fortunate enough to have a sink that’s wide, deep, and durable, this may not pose much of a problem. But for everyone else, washing large pots, pans, and racks can be a major chore.
One way around this is to wash large kitchen items outdoors (when seasonally appropriate). Here’s what to know.
Kitchen items you should wash outdoors
Depending on what you’re going to be cleaning and how dirty it is, you’ll need some dish soap, a large (clean) basin or bucket, and supplies like clean sponges, towels, scrub brushes, etc. Then head outside, put down a (clean) tarp, and set up shop somewhere your garden hose can reach.
Here are four examples of kitchen items that are easier to clean outdoors:
Many kitchen sinks aren’t big enough to wash these massive pots, so take them outside. If the pot needs to soak, bring it outside, squirt some liquid dish soap inside, and then fill it with hot water (you’ll need to lug a bucket or two from your nearest sink).
Once the stuck-on food starts coming off, use brushes or sponges to finish the job, then dump the water (ideally down a garage floor drain or the equivalent), and rinse it out with a hose.
Most floor mats designed specifically for the kitchen can handle getting wet, and are easy to wash. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning yours, but if it’s one of those anti-fatigue mats made of foam, or an indoor/outdoor area rug, you can simply it take it outside, shake it out, vacuum both sides, then rinse it with a hose.
For a deeper cleaning, add a squirt of dish soap to a bucket of warm water, and use a soft-bristled brush to target any stains, and/or to give it a gentle scrub from end-to-end to loosen the dirt. Rinse when you’re done, then leave the mat or rug outside to dry.
As we pointed out in a previous Lifehacker article from May, because of their size, oven racks can be tricky to wash in your kitchen sink, and may be more of an outdoor project.
In addition to rinsing off new messes with a hose, you can also bring a bucket of warm, soapy water and a scrub brush, and tackle tougher messes like baked-on cooking gunk. If that doesn’t cut it and you opt to use oven cleaner, it’s much safer to do so outside.
Cast iron cookware
Cast iron pans and skillets are heavy, and can damage certain types of sinks if dropped. Avoid this by cleaning them outside, using your preferred method. If you don’t have one, check out our previous coverage on how to properly care for cast iron, how to season cast iron, and why the best thing you can do is use it.