Don't feel like cleaning a ton of dishes this year? Worried about clogging your drain? We've got a few tips to help you address — and avoid — some of Thanksgiving's most annoying problems. Below, you'll find a few cleaning hacks to help you make it through Turkey Day without getting a migraine.*
*Warning: this article will not help you avoid headaches from family members.
AVOID: Clogged drains.
A slow-moving drain can make Thanksgiving Day a pain. Washing dishes when there’s a dirty puddle lingering at the bottom of your sink is simply the worst.
If your drain is moving slow, don’t resort to the chemical drain opener you have under the sink. Take a peek at your pantry. Do you see any baking soda or vinegar? Both? Wonderful. You can use these items — and a little hot water — to clear your drain.
Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. Try to pour slowly. And don’t be surprised if you see (and hear) some fizzing — that’s a reaction between the vinegar (an acid) and baking soda (a base). It’s that fun fizzing action that’s clearing your drain.
Let the reaction run its course, then pour a couple of cups of hot water down the drain.
TAKE CARE OF: Stubborn carpet stains.
Are those carpet stains killing the look of your living room? Might want to take care of that before the in-laws come over and give you those judgmental looks. You can use vinegar and baking soda for carpet stains, too.
Mix equal parts vinegar and water together, then pour the mixture on the carpet stain. Sprinkle some baking soda on the stain and wait for a reaction. Once the fizzy formula settles down, vacuum the stain. Not only will this clear up the stain, but it will also deodorize the area.
AVOID: Mounds of dishes.
Thanksgiving is done. The dishes are piled up in the sink. You’re exhausted. The last thing you feel like doing is washing the dishes.
The best way to avoid a sink full of dishes on Thanksgiving is by not using dishes at all. Yes, we’re talking paper plates. Give your guests the option between a regular dish and a paper plate. A full-course meal deserves an actual dish. A slice of apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t.
Also, those bulky prep dishes can take up quite a bit of room. Move the prep dishes to the dishwasher while everyone is eating. Start running the dishwasher as soon as you can. At least if those big dishes are in the dishwasher, they aren’t taking up real estate in the sink.
TAKE CARE OF: Your dirty car.
Driving to your in-law’s house for Thanksgiving? Your car is going to turn into a second home for your family. Before you hit the road for Turkey Day, give your car a good, deep clean.
Grab the trash can from your downstairs bathroom. Head to the kitchen and pick up your favorite carpet and surface cleaner (maybe you can use the vinegar/water concoction you made earlier). Throw the cleaner in the can, along with a scrubber and a towel. Head outside and start cleaning.
Throw away all the plastic bottles and food wrappers that have collected in your car over the past few weeks. Check under the seats, and in the tiny little nooks and crannies near the seat belt buckles. Head to the trunk and take out what isn’t necessary anymore.
Now it’s time to address those stains. Maybe the little one spilled juice last week. Or you dropped some ketchup on the way home from the fast-food restaurant. Either way, vinegar can lift those stain right up. Mix equal parts vinegar and water. Spray the stain, wait a few minutes, lightly scrub the area, then blot with a towel. It should be good to go.
If you’ve got a couple plastic bags in the house, go get them and leave them in the car. You can use them as trash bags on your road trip to Grandma’s house.
AVOID: Icy driveways.
Clearing a snowy, icy driveway can be a hassle if you have the wrong tools. But you don’t want your elderly relative to fall on Thanksgiving Day! Instead of waiting for the sun to melt the snow, why not treat the snow and the ice with an ice melter?
We know, we know: the rhetoric around ice melt isn’t the best — but we’ve come a long way in terms of ice melting technology. Rock salt isn’t your only option anymore. Now, there are pre-wetted ice melt pellets made using safer chemicals and chlorides.
Own a dog or a cat? Look for a pet-safe ice melt. It helps our furry friends avoid irration on paws and is safer in general for pets to be around.
TAKE CARE OF: Your greasy grill.
Don’t cook on a grill that’s covered in dried food and grease. With just a few simple ingredients, you can have a grill that’s as good as new.
Got some orange oil or lemon oil? That’s perfect. Dilute the oil with some water, add the mixture to a spray bottle, then spray your grill and scrub the cooking grate.
You can also mix vinegar and water together to create your own homemade cleaner. The vinegar will cut through through the grease on your grill, taking care of those gross clumps of cooked food and grease from last year’s Thanksgiving. This mixture can also be used to clean the vent hood over your stovetop.