Keeping your kitchen clean can be a struggle because let’s face it: life happens. Every. Single. Day.
Luckily, it’s fairly easy to tweak how you approach kitchen cleanliness, which makes the whole process just that much easier. We’ve put together five tips to help you keep your kitchen clean all the time (or as much as you possibly can with as little effort as possible).
- Get rid of clutter: This tip is definitely not the most fun thing you can do with your time, but it is probably the most worthwhile. Turn a critical eye to your kitchen and give single-purpose and seldom-used utensils and appliances the ax. Remember that merchant at the beginning of Disney’s “Aladdin?” Try to hold each item in your kitchen to his high standard:
“Combination hookah and coffeemaker. Also makes julienne fries!”
If an item isn’t super helpful, doesn’t serve more than one purpose, or you just don’t love it, get it out of your kitchen. You’ll find that after nixing all of the extras, you suddenly have a lot more space.
- Do the work right away: This can be a tricky one especially when you’re busy and/or have kids that are screaming for dinner, but it’ll save you time in the long run. Intellectually, you know that cleaning up a spill when it’s fresh is much easier than waiting until it’s all dried and crusty, but it’s just so tempting to ignore it. Stay strong and overcome temptation! Not only will you make your life harder if you put a spill off for another day, you could jeopardize your natural stone countertops or other surfaces. Natural stone is porous and susceptible to stains. In addition to tending to spills, here are some other things you should do right away:
a. Run the dishwasher right after dinner and put away dishes before bed. It takes some discipline, but it’s well worth it.
b. If you need to handwash dishes, immediately let the water out of the sink, and wipe everything down with warm, soapy water and run the garbage disposal. Not only will your sink look better, but it will smell better and last longer.
c. Put away food quickly after a meal.
d. Use a bowl to catch scraps. When you’re cooking, instead of heading to the trash for every scrap and empty package, keep one or two small containers out on the counter for compost and garbage. It will make cleanup easy, and you don’t have to mess with opening the garbage every other minute.
e. Pre-clean as you cook. If you have worked in food service, you know that one of the most helpful things you can do is to pre-bus the table. It gets those dishes out of the customers’ way and makes the overall dining experience better. The same logic applies to your kitchen: when you tidy your kitchen as you go, dinner will be more enjoyable, and cleanup will be a breeze.
- Prevent problems: Doing a tiny bit of work at the beginning to prevent problems altogether can save you a lot of time and energy. Use machine washable shelf liners in your cupboards and refrigerator, put a sheet pan under drippy foods when you use the oven, and utilize splatter guards and microwave covers to protect your kitchen. These small steps make cleaning easy work.
- Routine maintenance: Trying to deep clean your kitchen can feel overwhelming because it seems like there’s always something else to do. If you want help breaking it up, there are countless cleaning routine suggestions on Pinterest that are broken down into daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly schedules. What’s important is that you create a schedule that works well for you and stick to it. Some quick tips:
a. Clean your cleaners: Wash your dishcloths every few days, and disinfect your sponges by soaking them for five minutes in a solution of ¾ cup bleach to one gallon of warm water.
b. Clean the disposal: Your garbage disposal can get really gross really fast if you’re not careful. Always run hot water for 30 seconds to a minute before running the disposal, and continue running it after you shut off the disposal. You can also throw down ice chips, frozen vinegar cubes, citrus peels steeped in boiling water, and a little bit of vinegar followed by baking soda to freshen things up.
c. Clean the fridge: Try to clean those science experiments out of your fridge at least once a month. You can also use machine washable shelf liners and keep a box of baking soda or a bowl of coffee beans in the back to help control odors.
d. Clean the trash can: Clean out the trash can at least once a month using hot water and soap. Also consider throwing a little bit of baking soda down there to help keep the smells at bay.
e. Keep things in working order: Spend a little bit of time every so often keeping things in working order. By keeping your knives sharp, appliances free of gunk, cutting boards oiled, and pots free of stains, your kitchen will look and feel cleaner.
- Go green: Thinking twice about throwing things away will keep your kitchen and the earth cleaner. Consider starting a compost pile, and use one of those under-sink mini compost pots to reduce your garbage output. You might also want to invest in a multi-compartment garbage can to help you sort through what’s trash and what’s recyclable.
There you have it! Five easy ways to modify what you’re currently doing to keep your kitchen clean and tidy. The kitchen is the hub of the home, so it’s worth the effort to make it a place that people love to be.