Holiday Dinner Cleanup Made Easy

After Thanksgiving dinner is complete, don't spend hours cleaning up! Make holiday dinner cleanup easy with these tips.

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If you’re the one hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, we know you have a very busy week ahead! We’re not talking so much about what you have to prepare, but what you have to clean up after the big feast.

In the typical scenario, after all guests have left, you’re the one left with the dishes and heavily greased up pots and pans to wash, but you don’t have to worry so much about it this year.

If you take the proper steps to plan ahead and use the tips below, holiday dinner cleanup can be as easy as pie!

Before the big feast

  • Clean out the refrigerator
    You know there will be leftovers after Thanksgiving dinner, so make sure your refrigerator has been cleared for storage space before Thanksgiving day. This will also save you from having to do any cleanup on spills that can easily occur with an overfilled fridge.

  • Utilize downtime for small cleanups
    While you’re waiting for the water to boil or the oven to heat up to the proper temperature, take on the small cleanup tasks to tidy up. Either load up the dishwasher with the few items in the sink now, wipe up the surfaces or take out the trash and line your bin up with extra bags.

  • Ask guests who are bringing side dishes or dessert to use disposable containers
    You’ll have one less thing to clean up at the end of the day if guests are bringing disposable containers they do not care to take back.

Preparing the feast

  • Use easy-release aluminum foil
    Layer dishes and pans with easy-release aluminum foil. It will save you time in soaking and cleaning the dishes later. If you are stuck with pots and pans with a layer of baked on food,  as soon as food is transferred over to serving ware, fill them up with hot, soapy water and place them back in the hot oven to help the food on the surface soften while you enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Layer on the nonstick spray
    Make cleanup easy with nonstick spray. You’ll save yourself time from scrapping and getting sticky substance to come off. Don’t forget to also spray the measuring cup!

  • Use dishes that do triple duty as cooking/baking, serving and storage
    Think about how much easier it’ll be if you just have to cook/bake with one item, serve with that same dish and simply cap the top to place the leftovers in the fridge.

After the feast

  • Gather helpers
    If there are family members sitting down to enjoy the Thanksgiving feast, there should also be helpers to do the cleaning up. Call on the kids and other family members to help with simple task like taking out the trash, putting away leftovers in the fridge or loading up the dishwasher.

  • Have a mixing bowl pre-filled with hot, soapy water for utensils
    As you’re cleaning up the table, simply place all the utensils into the mixing bowl and they’ll be ready to place in the dishwasher with the other stuff later.

  • Add white vinegar
    Make sure you add white vinegar to the shopping list if you want help cutting the oil buildup on dishes. Just add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to the rinse water and your dishes will be sparkling clean.

  • Blend it clean
    If a blender is an appliance used in your home, make clean up easy with a few drops of dishwashing liquid and warm water filled one-third full. Run the mix for ten seconds and you just have to rinse and dry from there.

Photo by Carlos Paes, via Free Images.