Bring on the holidays, because after a tough year, we could all use a break! However you celebrate, the holidays can be a great time to relax and reconnect with the people you love most in the world. But too easily, the joy turns to stress, because all of the planning and prepping and hosting can leave you feeling, well, like you need a holiday from the holidays. The challenge of balancing it all to pull off a picture perfect event can get overwhelming, but we’re here to help!

This year, try to remember what’s most important. Your loved ones don’t care if the kitchen is spotless or your table setting is Insta-worthy. It’s about time together, belly laughs and a break from the everyday hustle. We get it, you still want to put your best foot forward to show your loved ones a good time, and that’s where we come in. We want you to prep for the big day smarter, not harder. These quick, natural kitchen cleaning hacks will help you get your home ready to host and still leave plenty of time for family.

1. Clean Your Oven Without Harsh Chemicals

If you’ve ever had a hard-working oven set off the smoke alarm during the pre-dinner chit chat, then this is the hack for you. Prevent that mayhem by cleaning your oven before its big holiday workout using this easy, earth friendly solution.

Make a paste out of baking soda and water and coat the inside of your oven. It will be lumpy and a bit of a mess, but it beats the harsh chemicals of oven cleaner or the stench of the self-clean cycle. Scrub the mixture all over the inside oven walls. Let the oven sit like this for 12 hours (overnight is easiest). Wipe away the mixture with a cloth. Then, for any last gritty remains, spray a little white vinegar or Aunt Fannie’s All Purpose Cleaning Vinegar to react with the baking soda. Give it the final wipe and your oven is ready to go.

2. Naturally Refresh Wooden Cutting Boards with Just Lemon and Salt

It may sound more like a cocktail recipe than a cleaning hack, but this salty sour technique will make you feel like you’ve unlocked some kind of citrus magic. After regular use, wooden cutting boards start looking dull and discolored, but all they need is a quick refresh.

Lightly cover your cutting board with coarse salt. Cut half a lemon and use the lemon half (exposed fruit side down) as nature’s scrub brush. The salt acts as a powerful scrubber and the citric acid from the lemon helps clean out those knife marks that are hard to reach during everyday cleaning. Rinse off the juice and salt, revealing cutting boards that look and smell totally refreshed.

3. Throw that Lemon In the Garbage Disposal

Wait, don’t throw out that lemon! Your used cutting board cleaner can double as a hack to refresh your garbage disposal, so you’re welcoming guests to a kitchen that smells fresh and inviting. With the water running, push the lemon halves into the garbage disposal, turn it on and let it run while your garbage disposal pulverizes the lemon. The texture and citric acid will help clean out the inside of the disposal, leaving behind a fresh, lemony scent.

4. This Angry Mama Naturally Cleans your microwave

The holidays can be an emotional time. Sometimes we get a little upset, a little steamed up. Just like this creative and hilarious kitchen hack that helps clean out your microwave.

This Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner from Sur La Table is adorable and so easy to use. Just fill her up with vinegar and water, then microwave. As the liquid heats, she gets steaming mad, and the steam that comes pouring out of her head loosens grit and grime in the microwave naturally. Who says cleaning can’t have some colorful characters?

5. Polish Stainless Steel Sink with Flour

That’s right, flour isn’t just for baking! Shine up your stainless steel sink with the natural, low-cost ingredient that you’re sure to have in your pantry.

To get started, thoroughly clean and dry your sink as usual. A dry sink is very important, because you’re going to want to buff the sink with dry flour, not a soggy flour goop. When the sink is dry, sprinkle flour all over the sink’s surface. Using a dry sponge or towel, buff the sink with the flour using a circular motion. Rinse the flour out and reveal your clean sink sparkling like new.

6. Vacuum the Fridge, Seriously

Yes, you read that right. Vacuum cleaners work great in the kitchen, too. If cleaning out the fridge is on your holiday prep to-do list, start with a little suction! Use the nozzle end of your vacuum to suck up crumbs and food debris that can become messy after you add cleaning solution. Then wipe it down as you normally would and enjoy your fridge’s fresh new look.

7. Cook Dishes Ahead of Time to minimize dishes on the Holiday

Spending time with loved ones is the most important part of your holiday, so you don’t want to get stuck spending all your time cooking and doing dishes. Instead, prep as many dishes as you can ahead of time, storing them in containers like ceramic bakeware that function to both bake dishes and look stylish enough to be used as serving dishes on your table.

Cooking ahead also means doing dishes ahead, so you’re not stuck in a day-off rush to clean before guests arrive. Focus on one or two key dishes the day of, then plan any other food so it can be prepped in advance and reheated. You’ll have more time to focus on your guests before dinner and a more manageable pile of dishes to tackle after the guests are gone.

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