The other day I was standing in my kitchen after we had eaten dinner (I get to rest while my husband cleans up), and I was just marveling at how messy the kitchen got. I had vacuumed the floors that morning and we started with a clean kitchen, yet after my masterpiece veggie burger and baked fries dinner, it was literally upside down.
Keeping up with the kitchen on a daily basis means we get to prepare meals, enjoy said meals and spend time in the heart of the home, not sweating the grunge. I think the kitchen is the easiest place to let slide; you forget it for a day or two and you no longer have a sink to use (it’s filled with dishes), your floor has a thick coating of crumbs, the counter has spills and stains, and you just can’t cook anything in there!
I can’t even cook comfortably unless my kitchen is clean to begin with. So what I’ve done is created a daily kitchen cleaning routine to help keep this sacred space in great shape with minimal effort on everyone’s part (or your part – I don’t know your situation!). If you do have others around, task them with things they love to do or shine at doing, that way they can help out in a meaningful way. My husband and I had a talk about this long ago; we know our strengths, and we know what we lean on the other person for. But when we’re in the kitchen together, we start cleaning together. We know what needs to be done and we just get to it. We’ve discussed areas that are important to us and others we don’t care so much about – and that’s helped us establish our daily routine. I recommend having this chat with your partner, or thinking about this for yourself. It will help you know what to be finicky about and what to leave for another day.
I believe that with a concerted effort, even the busiest family kitchen can be maintained well in 10-15 minutes a day. It’s possible, I promise!
Every morning while making coffee or tea, empty the dishwasher.
A dishwasher should be filled up with items from the day before, ran overnight, and emptied in the morning for a new start to the day. If you don’t have a dishwasher, place all items in your drying rack away where they belong. It takes just under 4 minutes to unload a dishwasher. You can spare that!
Wipe counters down after breakfast and finish off by placing any dishes in the dishwasher, hand washing and placing on a drying rack, and rinsing shining your sink before you go.
When everyone gets home from work or school, empty garbage and place containers directly into dishwasher or hand wash containers right then and there…don’t leave anything out (it will just pile up).
After preparing dinner, place all dishes in the dishwasher, or hand wash dishes, pots or pans.
If something needs to be soaked, like a heavy duty casserole, soak it WHILE you’re eating so that it’s had time. Alternatively, soak it while cleaning everything and do that last (before you clean your sink). Set your dishwasher to run overnight (this helps save on energy and water costs). If you don’t have enough dishes, leave it until you have enough to run a full cycle.
Use a cloth and all purpose disinfecting spray to clean your counters down.
You can also do a quick spot-check for fingerprints on door knobs and cupboard fronts. This goes for appliances, too, since they can easily get printed up! Make sure you include your stove top in the wipe down.
Empty your garbage, take out the recycling, and replace liners as required.
Quickly line everything up neatly, giving the space a super fast tidy and replace treatment. Kitchens can easily clutter up otherwise!
Clean any soaked pots, pans or dishes as required.
Spray the sink with an all purpose cleaner and sprinkle in an abrasive cleaner, like baking soda. Scrub with a soft sponge, rinse, and shine. Remove any debris at the bottom of the sink.
Straighten any tea towels, refill paper towels, do a super fast sweep of the floor (if needed) and make sure your kitchen is ready to greet you bright and early tomorrow morning!
I know that these tips SOUND simple but seem like a lot to remember. It’s logical stuff though and if you think through each step, you’ll see why it is important and how it helps contribute to a clean, sane space. If you are fast at it, you can get it done in just minutes a day and if you are fortunate, you can have help along the way.
Don’t over think this and don’t worry if it’s not perfect. It is more important that you do something, rather than do nothing and have a kitchen mess build up and irritate you. Occasionally I will let a stubborn pot soak overnight, but I try to avoid this as a habit, because it is just so darn easy to let that pot sit and sit, until the end of time! I expect this routine would suit most family homes, but I want you to adapt it to what makes sense for you – this is what Chad and I have found works for us.
I would love to hear how you find this routine, and if you would add, remove or change anything. What is your daily kitchen cleaning routine?
Tips & Pointers
- Keep clean cloths and tea towels in the kitchen and change out every 2-3 days max.
- Keep dish soap in a pump on the counter (it can double for hand soap)
- Keep a bottle of all-purpose disinfectant under the kitchen sink for easy clean ups
- Wipe spills and stains as they happen to avoid letting anything set