Unfuck Your Habitat

You're better than your mess.

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Posts tagged "kitchen"
Asker kimbucktoo Asks:
Any advice for cleaning the oven? Stuff gets so caked on that the smoke detector goes off every time I open the door. I am not a huge fan of oven cleaners so something non-chemically would be ideal. Thanks!
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

Make a paste of baking soda and water (although they’re both “chemicals” — sodium bicarbonate and good ol’ H20) and let it sit for a good hour or so on the baked-on stuff. Give it a good scrubbing with a medium-stiff bristled scrub brush or a plastic scraper (make sure you’re not damaging the finish of your oven’s interior), and then wipe out all of the crud with a damp rag or sponge. You can also use vinegar (acetic acid) to wipe down any surfaces that interact with food.

To prevent future spills, try putting a baking sheet under whatever you’re cooking so that spills are easily contained. Don’t be tempted to line your oven floor with foil, since this can interfere with even heating and cause scorching and burns.

Asker hooplehead Asks:
So if you had pans with baked-on, greasy film on them that were not responding to dish detergent, vigorous scrubbing or Magic Erasing, what would you recommend as the next step?
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

Make a paste of Bar Keepers Friend powder, and let them sit a while, then scrub with a medium stiff-bristled brush. Don’t bother with Pinterest’s “miracle cure” of baking soda and peroxide; it’s pretty ineffective for baked-on crud.


So, this is a story about my Stove that’s kind of not about my stove. 

The short story that is entirely about my stove is this: It was really dirty and now it’s mostly clean.

The long story is this:

I’ve never had a gas stove before. I don’t do much of the cooking, and my husband wasn’t really taught how to deep clean things, or clean as he goes. Our stove was gross. Really gross. I’d “clean” it and the surface stuff would come up, but it was grimy. Black and brown and caramel colored baked into the enamel. I just kind of assumed it was permanently damaged and discolored.

We’re planning to buy our first house and to tell tumblr the honest truth, I’m shitting a brick over it. I can handle the money, I can handle the permanence, I can definitely handle more space and autonomy. But I’m petrified I can’t handle the cleaning, that it’s going to be a slum, that I’ll ruin the property values and the yard will grow over with weeds and we’ll have to charge admission to our dust bunny races around the corners of the living room to afford the maid I obviously need and can’t afford. After all, I try my best here, and I ruined the stove by not cleaning it “right” or “enough” for three years. 

So I said, no. I am capable of cleaning a stove. I can get this clean. And here we are, 3 magic erasers and 4 broken nails and 3 days of occasional 20 minute bursts, and it’s …cleanish. It’s still a stove. Some parts are blackened and there’s a few paint chips. There’s still some things I can’t get up and my fingers hurt too much to try anymore. But this? I can maintain. I didn’t ruin anything! It’s white and it looks clean and no one would reasonably be embarassed to own this stove! 

I’ve been sick a lot of the last few years. Mentally, physically, I’ve been just staying above water. For most of the last three years, I would have liked a clean stove, but coming up with the time, the energy, the awareness, the self-belief that good things happened to me, the memory to even believe clean stoves were things that existed? That wasn’t on my radar. And it’s still so wonderful exploring the boundaries I once set up for my own safety and sanity. I get to go a little further, pushing at the claustrophobic comfort zone I built. Even if one of those ways is the not-so-thrilling-on-paper housekeeping way. It still feels good. 

Anyway, here’s some pictures of my stove. 

ps: how do I clean the metal stands? They’re still gunky after a lot of elbow grease and dish soap and vinegar.

pps: only two of the burners light now. please wish me good luck as the water evaporates.

Looks awesome! Are your burner grates cast iron? If they don’t have any plastic bits (to rest on; some do, some don’t), you can just put them in the oven on a high temperature and bake all the crap off.

ETA: Gas stoves generally have metal grates that sit above the burners, unlike electric stoves, which have heating coils and burner drip pans under the coils. Don’t put your heating coils or drip pans in the oven. That trick works pretty exclusively with cast iron grates found on gas stoves.
Hello! During the holidays my power went out for more than 48 hours, so I'm throwing out everything in my freezer. Guess what? It turns out that things that melt in your freezer get sticky and gross. How can I best deal with the sticky gross mess that's left in my freezer? I have much sadness and vinegar.
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

Hot water in a bucket, a rag or three, a glug of vinegar in the water, and elbow grease and patience. If anything’s really stuck, use a scrub brush, but very hot water on a rag should loosen up the sticky stuff enough to start being able to wipe away. Once it’s clean, give it a wipedown with vinegar to kill any smell, and then another with more water.

Asker noxomra Asks:
Question! I saw the one about a sink having a funky smell, but what do you do if it's coming from your dishwasher? We've taken the racks out and scrubbed it clean and tried to use commercial cleaners that you stick in and run but nothing keeps the smell out for more than a few days. We had a pro come look at it, but all he suggested was the commercial stuff. Any ideas on how to wipe out the smell?
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

Most dishwashers have a filter or two. Google the manual for your make and see where it’s located. Chances are, it’ll be full of food crud. Also:

  • To clean the inside surface of a dishwasher, use a mild dish soap solution with hot water (not too much soap; you don’t want bubbles later on), and use a sponge and an old toothbrush to get in all the corners, and the sides and bottom of the interior. Use your toothbrush or a toothpick to clear out the drain holes and water sprayers. Wipe down your surfaces with plain water when you’re done.
  • Clear out the drain. Ew.
  • Using your soapy water, wipe down any rubber gaskets and seals.
  • If you’re having residue issues, switch your detergent type. Most people find that switching to powder works best, but I’ve also had reports that liquid and pellets/packs solved this problem for them. Whatever you’re using, try something else.
  • If you have a garbage disposal, run it before you run your dishwasher.
  • Put a bowl (face up) containing about a cup of vinegar on the top rack with nothing else in the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher on the hottest cycle.
a glass bottle of cold brew coffee got too cold and exploded in my refrigerator. this was at least 2 months ago. the coffee is now very attached to the surface. i tried a clorox wipe and that did nothing. what will get this up?
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

Run your tap water as hot as you can get it, or heat some water up, but not to the point of boiling. Fill a decent-sized bowl. Wear some gloves. Using a rag or sponge, and repeatedly dipping it into the bowl of hot water, wipe up the residue. If needed, let the rag or sponge sit on part of the stain until it cools (which doesn’t take very long, hence the repeated dipping), which should loosen it up a bit. Once you’ve loosened and wiped up the bulk of the mess, wipe it down with some diluted vinegar (food-safe!) to de-stickify it, then give one more wipe with a clean sponge or cloth.

Pick a kitchen counter. Clear off anything that doesn’t belong on it. Wash any dishes, throw away trash, and put things back in their correct homes. Wipe down the counter and any appliances or items that stay on it full-time.


UFYH Microwave Mini Challenge

So, yeah, this actually works. Like crazy. I put a small amount of water in a bowl with a splash of white vinegar and nuked for three minutes. After that, the microwave wiped clean with a paper towel. The whole thing took less than ten minutes to do, including nuking time. The only thing I would do differently next time is use a plain glass bowl instead of the ceramic one shown. The extended nuke time caused the glaze to craze. No big deal to me since it’s a cheap Ikea bowl, but I would not do this project with a bowl you actually like.

Try a Pyrex dish. Regular glass can get really unpredictable with high heat! (For those of you worried about “superheating” water, the addition of anything like vinegar or a hunk of citrus will prevent that already fairly uncommon reaction. Plus, letting it cool for a few minutes before handling it, which is just good kitchen safety.)


I’m going to be honest here: I haven’t cleaned out my fridge in over a year. The reason why? I made a huge pot of soup that I forgot about and didn’t want to have to clean the pot out after it had turned moldy.

I realized that it a clean fridge is worth more than one pot so I decided to just throw the damn thing out and clean the fridge. It’s wasteful, yes, but it’ll make me think twice before doing that again.

But you’ll be proud of me, Team UfHY! I even took out all the shelves and sanitized them and used vinegar to get all the gross out. We had so many half-empty juice cartons and take-out boxes. *shudder* I had a full kitchen trash bag full of dead food when it was all said and done. Now I have room for food that I’ll actually eat within a reasonable time span!

I also vacuumed up all the cobwebs that I’d been ignoring all winter.


Kitchen before and afters!!

The cabinet hardware is not complete yet but you can get an idea of the difference it makes anyway!

It’s so nice to have a fresh start with new, clean, and FUNCTIONING things.

The Old:

  • cooktop sat on top of the dishwasher, sat about 1/2” above the counter
  • cooktop only had 2 burners I could use, 1 had plastic melted on it (not my doing) 1, was broken
  • dishwasher broke a couple years ago
  • oven turned on but didn’t get above like 250 degrees, turns out there were too many things hooked up to one circuit or whatever & it wasn’t getting enough juice
  • range hood light would stay on for however long it felt like
  • was remodeled in 1973.

The rest you can see for yourself.  It’s so much cheerier and pleasant to be in. I love the extra counter space. But at the expense of a huge cabinet I got a lot of use out of. I guess I am going to have to decide what I can get rid of and how to store things more efficiently.

the end


This weekend I unfucked my house!

Yesterday over the course of two 20/10s I did 2 loads of laundry, swept my kitchen floor, did dishes, tidied up my living room, and turned my kitchen and living room into neat and clean spaces! My boyfriend even hung up some art on our kitchen wall (which sucks because they are plaster and require drilling and screw anchors) and finally finishing his parking-meter-lamp project. :D

Living room before: worse than it looks, as there are dishes hiding out of sight and LOTS of dust. Notice the parking meter on the table to the right… unfinished lamp of sadness


Living room after: everything has been dusted and the meter now is a real lamp!


Kitchen before: again, there is grime that doesn’t show. The tablecloth was FILTHY omg.




Kitchen after:




Then today, I folded my laundry and ACTUALLY PUT IT AWAY, which prompted me to tackle my hidden corner— the couch in the bedroom I share with my boyfriend. Instead of being a couch, it is 99.9999% of the time a massive pile of clothes that I am too lazy to hang up in the closet. Oops, my bad.



It took me close to 30 minutes to do this one, but I feel so much better about walking into the bedroom now! 

After: the bag and jacket belong to my boyfriend :)



I don’t have a before pic, but our dressers were both covered in a horrific amount of dust and clutter. My boyfriend did a 20/10 of his own and cleaned them off. Voila!





I keep forgetting to take before pictures, but at least I remembered halfway through on this one. This is one of the corner cabinets I inquired about on Unfuck Your Habitat, the most accessible of the two. Here it is (half) full of appliances like my bread machine and the Rocket Grill (::hearts::), blender, etc. Stuff I use but not that often. Oh, and a 5 lbs. bag of grits that I have never used even though I like grits — they are about 7 years old, I believe.

I replaced it with stuff I use more often. Plastic containers on the top (though I do need to make sure all the bowls and tops have mates, and suspect I’ll be tossing some out. The bottom shelf has some mixing bowls and Pyrex baking pans. 

The other cabinet has tons of space that you can’t get to unless you’re Reed Richards. Which I am not. That’s where I had put all the plastic containers (bottom shelf) and above it were all my pans and baking things. REAL handy. So this weekend I pulled everything out and put it back so it made sense. Or put most of it back. The kitchen’s still kind of a wreck. Some things are getting tossed, some things are going to the indoor flea market booth I have, some may find a home in some other spot. So when I rearranged things here, I put in the appliances (including a couple I haven’t yet used), shoved two cast iron pans that need to be reseasoned in a back corner, and put some cutting boards there. It could be said that some space is wasted, but at least I can get to everything with a minimum of shuffling, so I will take a bit of open space in trade for that.

The pans now live in a lower cabinet right next to the stove, which had held the mixing bowls and cutting boards in a big mess. I just used one I hadn’t used in years, because I couldn’t find it in the corner cabinet.

So inspiring that I’ve started in on one of the upper cabinets, currently being converted to the coffee/tea station. 

Kitchen still vastly fucked, but I’m very happy with this hidden progress. It will make the rest possible. 


Step One in unfucking during my (18-day!) vacation is the kitchen. For one thing, I want to make cookies, and I can’t bake in a dirty kitchen. For another thing, ewwww, what a pit! Did this mostly in very short bursts, as pain and energy levels allowed.

All that stuff on the after photo of the island that isn’t fruit in bowls is stuff to make my fabulous oatmeal-pecan cookies. After cookies, I want the kitchen to end up even cleaner than it is now. Wish me luck.


UFYH is a kick ass resource and since having a clean living space is part of having control of your life it’s where I’m starting this.

For background: I currently live with my parents (yes another post grad who moved back home for the free rent). Their house is about 20 minutes away from my job and the free rent is worth the gas money to drive to work. 

Both of my parents travel for work a lot leaving me and my brother as roommates in our parents house. The brother is 20 years old and attending a local community college. Since the men of the house are lazy as fuck when it comes to housework it usually falls on my mom and I. Now that my mom is travelling more it usually falls to me. 

When I got home from work this evening the kitchen was a mess. So I decided to tackle it. These are the results. It took two 20/10s. It should have taken one but my first 10 got stretched by an emergency phone call from my mom (she had misplaced some paperwork and needed me to find some info for her)

Yay! I accomplished something!

I want to unfuck my kitchen and make good use of my storage, but the crazy lower corner cabinets just trip me up. One is a lazy susan, the other is bigger but has 2 shelves running perpendicular to one another. How the hell do I use these in a way that makes sense? I have pans and Tupperware in the second, but it's such a pain in the ass it makes me hate cooking and storing food. I am cranky and unlimber and hate dealing with the chaos. Ideas please for ideal kitchen cabinet arrangement? Thanks!
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

Use vertical storage if you can. Get some stackable shelves you can use in there to double or triple your usable surface area, and maybe designate the worst of the two cabinets for stuff you rarely use and reclaim another area for your pans and such.