Cleaning up without a dishwasher can be a chore. But these six (inexpensive!) tools will make it a lot easier.

Six Tools for Easy Galley Clean Up

Okay, we’ll start with the fact that cleaning up is about my least favorite part of any job.  In the galley, I’d much rather be doing the cooking . . . and the eating.  But when we informally divided up the chores, I got cleaning the dishes.  Dave got cleaning fish.  Considering that I really hate cleaning fish, I was reasonably happy with the split.

Now that I’ve discovered these six tools, I’m definitely happy with the division of labor.  Cleaning up isn’t nearly the chore it used to be.

  1. Silicone Spoon Spatula — in addition to lots of cooking duties, I use it to scrape plates and pans before washing them.  The shape just plain works far better than a rubber scraper, it’s stiffer and gets more off, and the seamless construction makes it easy to clean.  Scrape the dishes into a wide-mouth jar so as not to attract bugs . . . or have a stinky trash can!
  2. Scrubr dish rag — it’s got enough “grit” to get dishes clean but won’t harm non-stick finishes.  But the best thing about it is that it just never gets stinky . . . and that means that my hands don’t get that nasty smell, either.
  3. Nail brush — it’s a mini scrub brush that I use a lot, particularly on plastic containers.
  4. Bottle brush — in many stores, you won’t find one in housewares . . . they’re in infants.  The perfect tool to scrub out a Thermos or water bottle.  Also great for cleaning the gap between the stove and the counter without totally removing the stove.
  5. Q-tips — they get in places where lots of other tools can’t, particularly the joint where the counter meets the lip.  “Gunk” always seems to collect here.
  6. Denture tablets — tough on stuck-on food, whether in a pan or Thermos.  Just toss a few denture tablets in with a bit of water, let the pan sit overnight and then a tiny bit of rubbing will get rid of pretty much anything.  Much easier than scrubbing with Brillo (which just turns into a rusty pad if you’re around salty air)!
  7. Update — had to add a seventh — a bent toothbrush!  Learn how to bend one here.

Do you have any other favorites that cut down on the time and effort in cleaning up?

Cleaning up without a dishwasher can be a chore.  But these six (inexpensive!) tools will make it a lot easier.

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  • Sara Peterson
    Posted at 26 June 2012 Reply

    Hi Carolyn : )

    I have been taking my pot(s) that have any type of residue that I have not been able to ‘scrape’ out and adding about 1/2″ of water to the pan. Then I turn the heat up on the pan and after the water gets hot, I use my scrubby rag to loosen the debris. I pour the water through a strainer into a lidded jar that I add some Dawn to and use it the next time too. It is usually good for a week or so and I keep it under the sink with my vinegar and other tools. The strainer gets cleaned out in the glass garbagae container. It has a seal tight lid. It gets emptied with the trash depending upon how long we are out.

  • Mark
    Posted at 07 July 2012 Reply

    For cookie sheets, pot, and pans that are going to be hard to clean, my wife puts a dryer sheet and enough water for it to float in. Let it sit a few hours or over night if it’s really caked on, and the stuff just slides right off.

  • Karen Bowen
    Posted at 11 May 2013 Reply

    I keep toothbrushes in the galley! By applying heat, usually from a candle, the handle will soften then can be bent to allow the head of the brush to be set at an angle. I have created a variety of angles which allows me to easily reach into those nooks and crannies where gunk accumulates. We also created a set for the tool box since my kitchen ones kept disappearing only to reappear there.

  • Diane Dashevsky sv/Always $umthing
    Posted at 10 October 2013 Reply

    I have noticed that most galleys have stainless steel sinks – like ours. When your hands get stinky from seafood, stinky rags, etc…just rub your hands on the side of the sink…bye bye stinky!

    Cream of Tartar used as a bit of scouring powder will also get baked-on crud off pots, etc. My grandmother’s trick 🙂

  • Jan Alexander
    Posted at 12 October 2013 Reply

    I keep a sewing needle in the galley and usually use the blunt end for scraping gunk out of tiny nooks, like around the outside rims of Tupperware type containers, around handles of pots and pans, etc.

  • The Boat Galley
    Posted at 12 October 2013 Reply

    Great idea Jan!

  • Jarrod Garritson
    Posted at 29 August 2014 Reply

    Where is the miracle eraser?

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 30 August 2014 Reply

      I don’t use it all that much — it’s like using really fine wet sandpaper and I don’t like to take the finish off!

    • Jarrod Garritson
      Posted at 30 August 2014 Reply

      Yeah. Good point. they are amazing at taking off old stains on counters (main reason I use them).

  • desiree
    Posted at 30 August 2014 Reply

    Wow! What a great read! Something that I also like a lot for small spaces to use in conjunction with Q tips are long wooden skewers for bbq or just normal toothpicks

  • Elaine
    Posted at 31 August 2014 Reply

    I’ve discovered that the brushes used to clean dentures also make a great tool for cleaning. Large brush on one side, small on the other with a rubber tip on the end for those really small, stubborn spots.

  • Ralph
    Posted at 29 December 2015 Reply

    Very good!
    Items like the coffee basket are especially difficult because of the corners and fins, and you can’t reach them with a normal toothbrush.
    Two more brush options:
    1. In Mexico, in the stores/supermarkets you can find small brushes in which the bristles stick straight out the end, same direction as the handle itself- “axial” alignment. They can reach into these kinds of crevices better. Cheap. Can’t find them in the U.S.All stores sell the same limited junk. Hard to even find a Good bottle brush.
    There is also a similar brush made of plant fiber. It’s very stiff, ok for hard scrubbing, but too stiff for coffee basket use.
    2. In auto parts stores, you can find a “parts brush”. Its bristles are aligned like above, but they’re very close together. The brushes in 1. are usually better. The parts brush is made for cleaning auto parts in solvent when working on an engine.

  • Tami
    Posted at 09 December 2016 Reply

    I get stainless scouring scrubbers from the Asian markets for .50-$1.00 each and they don’t rust

  • Jacqui Pfaff
    Posted at 10 December 2016 Reply

    I just love your page and website.

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