The holiday season is a wonderful time to bake up a storm! From fruitcakes to spice breads to favourite Christmas cookies and bars, there's no shortage of delectable sweets and treats to make!

One way to make it even more enjoyable is to keep the mess to a minimum while you are baking. It's so easy for it to get out of hand. A little flour here, a broken egg there, dirty bowls, baking pans, cookie cutters – and you've got a major clean-up on your hands.

Here is a guide from the cleaning experts at MOLLY MAID to enjoying the annual baking tradition and making the clean-up a little less crazy.  

  • Before you start, tidy the kitchen. Wipe down counters and floors so the room and all the workspaces are clean and tidy.
  • De-clutter working space and surfaces. Consider that studies show you use 20 percent of utensils 80 percent of the time, so go through tools and small appliances that you keep on counters and sort. If it's not often used, clean and store it somewhere else.   
  • Clean any pot that gets burned or cooked on right away. Here's a simple way to remove burned food from a pan: Add dish soap and water (be sure the burned area is covered by about half a thumb of water). Bring to a boil; then let the liquid cool in the pan. The burned food will be much easier to remove.
  • When food spills over in the oven, sprinkle a handful of salt on the mess while the oven is still on. This will help to reduce the smoking, and it will help make the spill easier to clean after the oven cools down. For the holidays (and any time), add some cinnamon to the salt to help reduce odors.
  • Freshen up the work area. Place an open box of baking soda in the back of the fridge. Sprinkle baking soda into the kitchen garbage container too. Light a scented Christmas candle.
  • Make sure everything's in good working order. For example, if you have a sluggish drain, pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain. Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar and cover and let the mixture foam for a couple of minutes. Pour about 8 cups of boiling water down the drain in order to flush it. (Don't use this technique if you are using commercial drain opener or cleaner – the two do not mix.)
  • Once you start baking, the number one rule is to wash up and clean as you go. Fill the sink with hot soapy water and soak dishes and utensils as you use them. Food won't dry on them and clean-up will be a breeze.
  • Messy microwave? Mix together 2 spoonfuls of lemon juice or vinegar with 2 cups of water in a glass microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for two to three minutes. Remove the bowl and wipe down the microwave with a cloth or paper towel. Repeat if necessary.
  • Always end a baking session with a taste test for the whole family.