By Maryn Liles

Foil is good for so much more than covering pie crusts.

Getting in the kitchen and whipping up tasty eats for your friends and family is the fun part, but having to clean up the resulting mess afterward can be such a buzzkill. From scrubbing baked-on gunk off your pots and pans to keeping your stovetop looking pristine, if only you could snap your fingers and have all traces of your latest recipe disappear in a poof!

While we haven't figured out the secret to a 1-second clean-up just yet, it's easy to keep your kitchen looking cleaner with minimal amounts of effort thanks a little help from your new secret weapon: aluminum foil.

Beyond using it for food storage, this kitchen staple can help you keep your kitchen clean in a multitude of unexpected ways. These clever kitchen cleaning tips and hacks using foil will make maintaining your kitchen a breeze.

Photo: EkaterinaZakharova/Getty Images

1. Keep the bottom of your oven clean.

Cleaning out your oven can be such a chore! So to avoid having to do it but once a year during your deep-clean, line the lower rack of your oven with a layer of aluminum foil to catch any drips and spills that can occur when cooking—and switch it out for a new sheet, as needed. Just be sure to never place the foil directly on the floor of your oven where the heating element is, because doing so is a fire hazard.

2. Scrub tough, cooked-on messes off of grill grates, pots and pans.

Arie Hazan, founder and head chef of Arie's Catering in Columbus, OH, says, "Aluminum foil is great at scrubbing food build-up off of your grill grates safely," since traditional grill brushes tend to shed bristles that could end up in someone's food the next time you cook out.

To clean your grill with foil, "Wad up a ball of aluminum foil, lightly douse your grill grates with water and start scrubbing," Hazan says. "We cater grilled dinners for 100 guests or more at a time, and this cleaning hack helps cut our post-grilling clean-up time down drastically."

You can also modify this cleaning tip to work on pots and pans (as long as they're not non-stick!) by sprinkling a layer of salt or baking soda onto your grimy surface and using a damp ball of foil, rather than a sponge, for extra scrubbing power.

3. Remove rust and stains from your chrome faucet and other chrome appliances.

Thanks to a cool chemical reaction between aluminum foil, water, and chrome, you can use a strip of foil to keep your chrome kitchen sink faucet as shiny as new. First clean the rusted area with soap and water. Then, fold a piece of foil into a small square with about 3 to 4 layers to prevent rips.

Next, dip your foil square in plain water (no soap!) and scrub the area gently to avoid potentially scratching the finish. You'll see little bits of rust start to flake off with just minimal amounts of elbow grease. Re-dip your foil in water and repeat until your chrome faucet — or other chrome kitchen appliance — is sparkling!

Keep Reading: 5 Things You Didn't Know About Aluminum Foil

4. Make stovetop cleaning easier.

If it's obvious which burner on your stovetop is your favorite, then this kitchen cleaning tips is for you. As long as you don't have a flat-top stove, you can line the burners with aluminum foil to keep drips from becoming hardened and caked onto the base of your burners themselves, an area that can feel impossible to clean once a mess does occur! Just be sure to switch out your foil liners regularly and keep a close eye on them while cooking to avoid any potential fire hazards.

5. Clean tarnished silverware quickly.

Say goodbye to traditional silver polishing. This DIY ionizing cleaning method using aluminum foil works to clean tarnished real silver flatware in just minutes!

To try this time-saving cleaning hack at home, start by completely lining a heat-safe container with aluminum foil and filling it just a couple of inches with hot water, or enough to submerge a piece of silverware completely. Next, stir in two tablespoons of salt and two tablespoons of baking soda until dissolved. Then, add a few pieces of silverware, making sure that each piece is in direct contact with the foil.

In a few minutes, the ion exchange chemical reaction should take place and your silver will be instantly clean. Repeat as needed, or increase the size of your container and double the amounts of baking soda and salt to do a bigger batch at once.

Related: Why You Should Never Bake Cookies on an Aluminum Foil-Lined Baking Sheet

Advertisement