Embracing new ideas and technology can make life better, since our time and energy are priceless. The new clean requires moving into the 21st century. Why not have appliances and materials that do some of the work of keeping them clean?
Being a pioneer of the technological age is an amazing thing. Science is pumping out new materials and discovering new uses for old materials at an incredible pace, and innovation impacts every aspect of the industry. The dishwasher took off fast, and now we can't imagine living without one.
If you are remodeling or starting with a blank slate, then you will find surprising new options on the market. If you don't plan on remodeling, then discover new tricks to creating an easy-clean atmosphere.
There are many ways to make your kitchen easier to clean. Sometimes, small changes can free up a lot of time. The three major time-saving areas are:
Let's explore them below.
An oven is not the only appliance that is designed to self-clean. Now, almost all appliances have a version that cleans itself or does part of the job for you.
What better way to save time than to not spend hours on a chore? We might not have the Jetsons kitchen we all dreamt of, but we do have access to smart appliances that save us time and energy.
The bonus is that most of the new easy-clean appliances meet Energy Star regulations, so they don't just free you up, they are better for the planet and help lower energy usage.
Plastic is the best material for blenders. Researchers at Purdue University discovered how surface energy is used to harness hydrophobic reactions. The information is the first step towards new blender technology.
To clean a blender:
Polymer-based, self-cleaning technology makes new blenders superior to the old. Many manufacturers use an easy-clean design.
The simplest approach to cleaning slow cookers is to use cooking bags. These open-ended plastic bags act as a barrier that prevents food from making a mess. (Expect that it may be difficult to find this item in the local supermarket. It is worth it to purchase them on the internet.)
The alternative is to invest in an iStir. This is the first crock pot to stir itself using a digital interface. What will they think up next! It is easier to clean because the stirring motion prevents food from sticking to the edges.
Not only does technology like this save you cleaning time, it saves you cooking time, too. Imagine being able to forget about the crock pot, and let it stir itself!
Don't you wish that the refrigerator could clean itself? Luckily, there are easy-clean refrigerator models. What we already see in the US are easy-clean refrigerator models with embedded computer technology. Head to Lowe's or Home Depot if you want to see the refrigerator of tomorrow because it is already here.
The new models do not stain the way the older ones do. Spill lips on shelves prevent liquid from traveling to shelves below. The plastics and glass used today have hydrophobic characteristics. Wiping surfaces is easier than ever.
The new models are made easy to clean but more importantly, their designers incorporate computers to tell you when food is expiring. Food waste is a major problem around the world. We waste and an absurd amount of food in the United States. Imagine a world with little to no food waste before bashing new refrigerator technology. Keep an open mind. This technology can help prevent hunger by making sure each person minimizes food waste.
Whirlpool, GE, Bosch, Samsung, and LG all make microwaves that are self-cleaning. Many are sold as a microwave-oven combo, which are designed to clean themselves. The same technology used in the self-cleaning oven translates to the microwave. That is the main benefits of switching to a microwave-oven combo. The added benefit of owning this all-in-one appliance is that it frees up counter space. (Stand-alone microwaves are made easy-clean, but few have the self-cleaning option.)
The new designs also boast optimal Energy Star ratings. Of course, if we wait a little longer, we will likely see stand-alone self-cleaning microwaves.
Note: Never clean a microwave without prepping it first. The easy way to clean a microwave is to mix lemon juice and water in a bowl and microwave it for five minutes. The grease will wipe away. Lemon smells better than vinegar, which is what some used instead of lemon juice.
Kitchenware that doesn't get very dirty in the first place saves time. Spoons, forks, and knives don't take much elbow grease, but items like whisks and cheese graters are a bigger headache. Replacing outdated gadgets with new ones makes the kitchen easier to clean.
Some whisks twist. A whisk that collapses doesn't take as much time to clean. If you prefer traditional whisks, then try a whisk guard—it slips on to your existing whisk. One exciting innovation is the Whisk Wiper. The guard prevents batter from getting into the tight spaces. When removed from the whisk, it leaves almost nothing behind.
Food crusts on plastics that cannot withstand the heat. If the plastic doesn't melt, then food stains and crusts to the plastic. We then mindlessly use extra elbow grease to clean them. Save time by choosing stainless steel kitchenware.
Graters are never easy to clean. Get rid of your traditional 4-sided grater. Instead, consider switching to a two-sided micro-plane grater.
This is my favorite time-saving kitchen gadget. Cutting boards with built-in scales are amazing. Instead of having two separate items to wash, you now have one. Not only is there one less dish to clean, you save time during food prep.
Spot clean with toothpaste.
Dust mop daily.
Use club soda on stubborn stains.
Spot-clean grout before mopping the floor.
Switch to a wool dust mop.
Minimize UV rays by applying special energy-saving film to windows.
Hydrogen peroxide is another good stain remover.
Clean stubborn grout with shaving cream.
Avoid using water, but if you do wring the mop entirely.
Avoid water and stick to bamboo wood cleaner.
Get a Swiffer.
Oxy Clean and other powdered bleaches brighten dingy tile.
Use hardwood floor cleaner.
Always clean spills ASAP to avoid permanent staining.
WD-40 is a fast way to remove stickers and glue.
Discover grout sealants to prevent gunk and grime.
Think about applying stain-resistant finish.
Use ice to remove glue and sticky substances.
Baby oil can be used for shine, but never use wax.
Think about investing in a steam cleaner.
If you have pets, think about making the floor a similar color. This hides pet hair.
Baking soda is good for removing scuffs.
Apple cider vinegar cleans and sanitizes.
Tile responds well to baking soda.
Swansea Metropolitan University in the UK is where smart-floor research takes place. While installed in some hospitals and factories, their new materials are not available to the public yet. It will be used in homes when it is cost-effective to manufacture.
Silver Nanotechnology (owned by Samsung) is the brains behind self-cleaning floors. When treated with Silver Nano, surfaces gain antibacterial and antifungal properties. Eventually, residential floors will sanitize themselves.
Until then, rest assured that most flooring materials available today do have anti-stain properties. While our floors might not clean themselves yet, there is a new piece of technology that is designed to do the job for you: a robot vacuum.
iLife, Ecovas, and Roomba manufacture robotic vacuum cleaners that incorporate small sensors and computer chips. It took many years for this technology to evolve. Recognizing the demand for a better robotic vacuum motivated designers to make a better product, and the result is the newer models that work better and include a mop function.
The kitchen should have its own unit. Buy a second unit if you wish to use this technology in other rooms.
As the 21 century unfolds, we must keep an open mind. We need embrace experimentation with new technology. We must focus on how life can be improved.
Think about how different the would be if we embrace technology, and embrace the energy and time-saving technology. Together we can make our work a better place, and free up time while doing it.
© 2017 Melody Collins
Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on November 22, 2017:
Thanks for the tips about cleaning. Your poll was an easy choice for me. It's not a matter of not wanting to use elbow grease; the fact is I put off onerous chores way too long. If it's easy, it is more likely to get done.
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on March 20, 2017:
I agree. I get a lot of use out of my blender too.
Melody Collins (author) from United States on March 20, 2017:
You make and excellent point Glenn. Some time-saving kitchen appliances take more time to clean. The time you save in prep converts to more time spent cleaning! I also try to avoid them. The blender is the one tool I can't give up.
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on March 20, 2017:
This is a very useful article. You made a lot of important points Melody. It's important to me to keep a clean kitchen, and I usually even clean utensils while in the middle of cooking, just to keep ahead of things a little.
I'm not in favor of Time Saving Kitchen Appaiances because I find many of them are even harder to clean. For example, rather than a food processor, I'd rather just use a knife to cut or chop food. That's easier to clean and saves time in the cleaning process.