How to keep kitchen clean?

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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

Kitchen Cleaning Tips: 6 Daily Tasks For A Clean Kitchen

Follow these six kitchen cleaning tips regarding daily care of your kitchen and you will be able to keep on top of the never-ending, it seems, amount of dirty dishes and crumbs underfoot.

Why Should I Clean My Kitchen Daily?

You should make a habit of cleaning your kitchen daily for several reasons:

First, the kitchen is generally the heart of the home, and the place where people congregate.

Since it is a high traffic area it will get dirty more quickly.

Second, the kitchen is also the place where really messy stuff happens daily, such as cooking and eating.

Since spills and crumbs are easier to clean up when fresh it actually saves you time to clean the kitchen daily, rather than trying to fight with dried on gunk later.

Cleaning up spills as they happen is actually one of the best kitchen cleaning tips there is!

Third, the kitchen, as a food preparation area, needs to be kept clean from a health perspective.

Germs, microbes, and other nasties love the kitchen and without proper cleaning food-borne illnesses and other unpleasant things can effect your family.

Fourth, and finally, you should clean your kitchen daily so that you can actually enjoy it.

I know I am much more likely to want to go out to eat when my kitchen is a mess, because I would have to clean up before I could even start cooking.

Similarly, if you and your family are going to be in there a lot anyway, it might as well be clean so you can relax and are not afraid you will put your elbow in some type of spill or get crumbs stuck to the bottom of your feet.

6 Daily Kitchen Cleaning Tasks

1. Wash Up Dishes, Pots And Pans As You Cook

Start with a sink full of hot soapy water, and then use the time while you are waiting while cooking, like when simmering or baking, to clean up what you can.

It is amazing how doing this simple kitchen cleaning tip can cut down on the clean up after the meal.

You should also let the additional pots and pans you could not clean up before dinner soak while you are enjoying your meal so they are even easier to clean up afterwards.

2. Follow An After-Meal Routine Each Time You Eat A Meal In Your Home

Basically this kitchen cleaning tip is to make sure that after every meal you do a mini-cleanup of the kitchen to get it ready for the next time you will need to make food in it again.

This routine can be something similar to this:

  • Put away all uneaten food, such as leftovers, in food storage containers, or otherwise store
  • Put all dishes in the dishwasher or hand wash them if necessary
  • Run the dishwasher as soon as it becomes full
  • Wash all pots and pans and other items used in preparing or eating the meal

Go ahead and dry these immediately hand washed dishes and pots and put them away, or if you like for things to drip dry come back later and put them away so that you have counter space available again the next time you need to use the kitchen

  • Quickly wipe down the counters, kitchen table, and stove top of any big crumbs or spills
  • Wipe down your sink of any grease or grime it got while washing dishes and other utensils

I generally just use the sprayer to rinse it off and run the garbage disposal briefly.

Some people like to dry their sink out with a cloth, but I think that is more a matter of personal preference.

3. Empty The Dishwasher Quickly After It Is Finished

Nothing causes a back up of dirty dishes piling up in your sink faster than a dishwasher full of clean dishes that still need to be put away.

This is a great chore for kids to do, or you can do it quickly while you are waiting for other things in the kitchen, like water to boil or something to finish in the microwave. (Here’s 6 ways to motivate yourself to empty the dishwasher.)

4. Empty Kitchen Trash

Of all the trash in the house the kitchen trash is most likely to attract bugs or other pests, and also the most likely to create unpleasant odors.

Therefore, as part of your daily routine make it a habit to take out the kitchen trash.

5. Sweep The Kitchen Floor

The more small children you have (or older messy eaters) the more important this task becomes.

It is amazing to me how messy my children are sometimes, especially when they are young, and how much stuff I can sweep off the floor every single day.

Again, this is a great task to assign to children.

We gave my middle son a dust pan and little hand-held broom and he sweeps up pretty well (he started when he was about three).

6. Change Your Kitchen Towels Daily, If Not More Often

With all this advice to wipe up spills as they happen, and clean your kitchen throughout the day as you eat various meals, you can go through a lot of kitchen towels.

At a minimum change your kitchen towels daily, but I do it more frequently because they get wet and soggy, and I like to use a clean cloth for each spill I wipe up, and a new one to dry dishes, and a new one to wipe faces and/or hands, etc.

I do this so I do not cross-contaminate by using the same kitchen towel multiple times. (You can read this article with more explanation of why to change our your kitchen towels frequently, plus how to wash kitchen towels here.)

I hope using these kitchen cleaning tips will help you and your family enjoy and use your kitchen more.

A bonus is that if you follow these kitchen cleaning tips daily then it becomes quicker and quicker to actually keep your kitchen clean!

Here’s Your Free Printable

Get your free version of the cleaning checklist here. Make sure you put it in your household notebook!

Click here to get your free printable checklist
(opens into new window as PDF)

Additional Free Printables & Checklists On The Site

  • House cleaning checklist
  • Daily household chores checklist
  • Weekly checklist for house cleaning
  • Bathroom cleaning checklist
  • Housekeeping checklist to get ready for guests
  • Spring cleaning checklist
  • Fall cleaning checklist
  • Cleaning supply checklist

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How to Keep Your Kitchen Clean Most of the Time

May 9, 2018

A common question I hear from readers is, “When do you clean or deep clean your kitchen?”. In reality, our kitchen is clean most of the time and how I do this is really simple.

I’m always cleaning it.

Cleaning the kitchen fits into my daily and weekly cleaning tasks and is so much easier to maintain with a couple habits instead of deep cleaning it when it’s a disaster. Here’s how I maintain a clean kitchen most of the time.

Let’s start first thing in the morning and go through the day…

I get up pretty early and start by making coffee and unloading the dishwasher while I wait for the coffee to brew.

This works well because the dishwasher is ready for the breakfast dishes and we can just keep filling it up all day long.

After breakfast everyone clears their own plates and puts them in the dishwasher or on the counter. The kids and I get their lunches packed if it’s a school day and then I do a quick table and counter wipe down once any remaining dishes get washed or put in the dishwasher.

If it’s just me during the day I put my lunch dishes in the dishwasher and if anyone else is home we do another table and counter wipe down once lunch dishes are cleared and in the dishwasher. If I’ve done cooking, prepping for dinner, or baking and the dishwasher is full I run it after lunch so it can be unloaded when the kids come home from school (my big kids take on this responsibility). If it’s not full, I wait and run it after dinner.

Let’s talk about daily tasks that are done, well, daily.

I guarantee that if you aren’t currently taking care of these little tasks during the day it will take you much longer than if you just keep up with them at meal times, during the day, or before/after you leave or get home from work. It’s the simple maintenance that is key to keeping your kitchen (and whole home) clean most of the time!

Daily tasks in the kitchen:

  • wipe counters – after each meal as needed
  • check floors – quick sweep if necessary
  • clutter – put anything away that needs to be put away (mail or school papers on counters, etc.)
  • nightly sink scrub – this is one of my favorite cleaning rituals. After dinner is cleaned up, the dishwasher is loaded, and the table and counters are clear and clean, I make a simple scrub: sprinkle it in the sink and scrub it clean.

Staying on top of the daily tasks is simple when you get into the habit of it. Once you have a rhythm with the dailies, start adding in the weekly cleaning tasks. Here’s my nightly quick clean routine if you want more specifics.

A quick wipe down of the counters and stove every day is key to keeping the kitchen clean most of the time. I use bar mop towels to wipe down counters (in lieu of paper towels) and spot clean/wipe the stove top down nightly as needed as well.

Weekly cleaning tasks in the kitchen:

  • Monday – Bathrooms Day
  • Tuesday – Dusting Day — I have a couple shelves in the kitchen that need to dusted so I do a quick swipe of them
  • Wednesday – Vacuuming Day — I thoroughly vacuum the kitchen floors along with the rest of the house
  • Thursday – Floor Washing Day — I wash the kitchen floors along with the rest of the house
  • Friday – Catch-All Day — Friday is my day to catch up on any uncompleted tasks from the week. I also do some menu planning for the coming week, wipe out the refrigerator, and head to the grocery store to stock up before the weekend. If I have extra time I do a rotating cleaning task or two – every month I wipe all the appliances down and will usually wipe cabinet and drawer knobs and pulls along with wiping down door fronts if needed.
  • Saturday – Sheets + Towels Day — I launder kitchen towels and cleaning cloths on Saturdays in a separate load after sheets and towels.

If you feel like you need a little help getting things done, you might be interested in my Homekeeping Society subscription. Homekeeping Society has a month dedicated to deep cleaning the kitchen but you’ll find that the consistency you establish when you clean a little bit every day will do wonders for your home.

How to Keep a Kitchen Clean and Organized

These simple tips will help you run an efficient and tidy kitchen!

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Keeping your kitchen clean and organized can be a challenge, especially if you have a large family for whom you cook regularly. The kitchen is the social hub of any household. Meals are cooked, served, and consumed in the kitchen. All this activity can leave you with quite the mess on your hands.

We’re all busy, and it’s hard to keep up with all those kitchen-related chores. Here are some simple suggestions that will help you maintain a clean kitchen with little effort!

Design your kitchen around your needs

An ergonomically-designed kitchen is essential to making the maintenance of the place easier. People often talk of using a “triangular layout” for the three kitchen essentials. These are your refrigerator, garbage can, and sink. By arranging them in a triangle, moving between them is quick and efficient. Go from fridge to sink to garbage without ever missing a step!

Check out the Joseph Joseph Kitchen Sink Caddy and Organizer at Amazon

If you have the space, consider storing the trash under the sink. This opens up the room and reduces spills, and it can also keep the family dog from knocking over the bin! Pet moms and dads might want to know about the best trash can for dog owners.

Use space wisely

Not having enough space is always a problem. Keep the kitchen table at a distance from your work area, as it will only serve to obstruct your movement. You might also want to invest in some space-saving measures. An in-drawer knife block or a drawer insert for your spices keeps things organized and out of the way.

See my Totally Bamboo In-Drawer Knife Block review here.

Even small kitchens have more space than we think. It’s just that it’s hard to efficiently utilize all of it. There are a ton of super handy products on the market that can make use of wasted vertical space.

Check out the DecoBros Kitchen Houseware Organizer Pantry Rack at Amazon

Invest in a few racks for the pantry and cupboards, or make them yourself as a fun DIY project!

Check out the DecoBros Pan Organizer Rack at Amazon

Keep your drawers looking fresh and tidy with the best drawer liners for the kitchen!

Develop good kitchen habits

A good general habit to form is to pick things up as you go. Don’t leave it until you’re done cooking. By the end of it all, you’ll only have a bigger mess to clean. The same advice applies to your dishes.

If you have a baby at home, you’ll need to wash his or her supplies with the best dish soap for baby bottles.

Cooking more slowly and being more deliberate in your chopping and measuring is an effective way of keeping things organized and clean. You’ll have less waste to clean up at the end, and you’ll be more inclined to clean up the smaller messes as you go.

Learn how to keep kitchen towels smelling great and stain-free.

Keep your surface cleaners on hand. If you have a surface cleaner alongside the stove, you’re more likely to give it a quick spray and wipe as it’s needed, rather than leaving it all to the end. This will keep grease build-ups to a minimum and ultimately make for lighter work.

Find out which paper towels will help reduce waste!

Cool tricks for maintaining a tidy kitchen

You can buy or repurpose old containers to store your baking supplies.

Here are some nifty extra tips on maintaining a clean and organized kitchen space.

Use a garbage bowl. Keep a bowl or bucket on the countertop while you work. It’s much easier than making frequent trips across the kitchen to the garbage can or compost heap. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without one!

Keep the trash can nearby. Move your trash can to where you’re working. If you’re cooking a big meal or baking, you’re going to have a lot of waste. Moving the trash can closer to you saves you the effort of toing and froing between the counter and bin. This is pretty much the same concept as the garbage bowl, but bigger.

See the best trash cans for dog owners here.

Spoon cups. Do you always seem to end up with a huge pile of kitchen utensils in the sink when you’re cooking? Keep your measuring spoons in a cup of water on the counter. This will clean them sufficiently so that you don’t need to wash them over and over again during the cooking process. Or, if you have a spoon used for margarine, keep it in a separate cup. Likewise with a spoon used for salt, sugar, etc. You can then just reuse the “margarine spoon,” the “sugar spoon,” and so on.

Funnels for effortless pouring. Line your cutting board with a flexible mat. This genius technique can vastly reduce spills. Ever tried to move chopped vegetables to the pan to cook and dropped them all over the floor? If you have a flexible mat, you can curl it into a funnel to effortlessly pour your vegetables into the frying pan. No waste, no mess!

Check out the Cooler Kitchen Flexible Plastic Cutting Board Mats at Amazon

Busy people, tidy kitchens

Follow these easy steps and form the right habits for a cleaner, more efficient kitchen. It might take some time to get used to the new routine. But, once the habits are in place, you’ll be glad you developed them!

Loving the clean kitchen? Keep it up by using the best oven cleaner! You might also want to read this article on how to clean the outside of a refrigerator.

And, for clean cookware, there’s this post on the best dishwasher for spotless stainless steel pots and pans.

Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Sean M. and Melissa D.

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February has arrived and it is time to move into the kitchen for The Household Organization Diet! Need to know how to clean and organize your kitchen? This is the plan for you!

EDIT: You can find the updated 2015 Household Organization Diet plan and free printables HERE.

I hope you all had a productive January with your 30 Day Household Detox. I was quite happy with what we were able to get rid of and am hoping to continue with a weekly “purge” throughout the year. You should also have spent some time organizing all of your cleaning supplies and thinking about a “bare minimum” daily cleaning schedule that you can stick to. Once you have done that, you are ready to start tackling the kitchen!
The kitchen is generally the main hub of the home and can be one of the worst places that we accumulate clutter. This month will be working on cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of all of that extra stuff that we don’t really use or need. And, most importantly, we will be coming up with a plan to keep it that way! Here is my list of what I hope to accomplish this month…

You can download your own copy HERE. There is also a notes section on the bottom so you can personalize your own list. Make sure you check back at the end of the week too – I am working on a few more printables including a month at a glance calendar. I’ll then be putting it all together in a cleaning binder so everything can stay accessible and organized!
Throughout the month I will be posting lots of kitchen organization and green cleaning ideas to help keep you inspired. I have also put together all of my kitchen cleaning and organizing posts from the archives to help get you started…
How to Clean your Garbage Disposal and Microwave

How to Safely Clean Your Oven

How to Clean Your Fridge and Freezer

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

How to Organize Your Pantry

How to Organize Under the Kitchen Sink

How to Organize Your Medicine Cabinet
How to Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets
How to Organize a Kitchen Command Centre
I’m starting on my kitchen cabinets today and will be working through one or two of them a day throughout the month. What are you going to start with first?
You can follow along on The Household Organization Diet with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and find all of the past projects on my Pinterest Board. And don’t forget to download your free printable HERE!
I shared this post at Stone Gable, Tip Junkie, Under the Table and Dreaming, Lil Luna, Tidy Mom and Savvy Southern Style.

Wondering how to keep the kitchen clean without having to spend every day cleaning it? You are not alone.


I often refer to mine as a “working kitchen” because it’s nothing like the kitchens some of my friends have: beautifully decorated rooms where they drink coffee or eat take-out. They’re not into cooking, and that’s okay — they’re always eager to come over when I throw a dinner party.

In contrast, my kitchen is more of a mish-mash of decor where cookbooks and jars of home-canned food crowd the shelves and the kitchen table functions as both a dining surface and a place where my son plays on his laptop.

Since I do recipe development and food photography in addition to feeding a family, I cook at least three meals a day. Mine is a busy kitchen because it’s in constant use, and that means it can very quickly become a shocking mess if I’m not careful.


When most people visit my home, they remark at how clean my kitchen is. Honestly, I don’t spend all day cleaning — I do what I can to minimize messes, which is what these tips are all about.

So if you’re struggling to keep your kitchen clean, here are 20 tips to help you out.

How To Keep The Kitchen Clean

1. Keep the sink empty. Used a glass or a plate? Rinse it and put it in the dishwasher immediately. No dishwasher? Keep a soap-dispensing sponge to make it easy to wash dishes right after use.

2. Use a tray to corral paper clutter. My family has a habit of dumping papers, keys, and phones on the kitchen island. I hung a mail sorter near the door, which reduced the paper pile a bit but other stuff still accumulated. Then a friend gave me a wood butler’s tray which I left on the island until I could find a permanent home for it. Before I could, everyone started to use it to hold their keys, phones, etc., so I left it in place. It corrals the mess on my island, and it looks nice, too. Problem solved.

3. Use coasters under jars. I don’t mean under your beverage glasses, although that’s always a good idea. Put coasters under things like honey and jam jars to catch drips and you won’t have to worry about the sticky mess getting on other things when you rummage through the cupboards.

4. Never work directly on your countertop. If you’re chopping vegetables, use a cutting board. Prep raw meats on top of a rimmed baking sheet so you can just pop it into the dishwasher. Roll out pastry or dough on top of wax or parchment paper that you can toss when you’re done.

5. Use a scrap bowl and a garbage bowl as you prep. Toss vegetable trimmings and peels in the scrap bowl as you’re making dinner, then transfer them to a container and freeze until you have a chance to make vegetable stock. Putting trash like food wrappers into a bowl as you work means you only have to make one trip to the garbage can, so you’re less likely to leave a mess behind.

6. Keep the trash can accessible. No one likes looking at a trash can, but tucking yours under a cupboard makes people less likely to use it. Get one with a foot pedal, and you don’t even need a free hand. Worried about odors? Tuck newspaper in the bottom to catch drips and change it regularly.

7. Keep wipes handy and use them. A container of cleaning wipes under the sink makes it easy to deal with spills and splatters. When you’re done cooking, grab a wipe and go over the counters and the sink faucets. Grab another and clean drips on the floor.

8. Vacuum, don’t sweep. I cannot stand brooms for indoor cleaning. Yes, they’re retro, but there’s a reason for that: technology has improved since Grandma’s straw-bristled broom was her pride and joy. Brooms mostly just move dust from one spot to another, and they leave behind that irritating line at the dustpan. Get an inexpensive stick vacuum and use it on the high-traffic areas in your kitchen at the end of the day — you can get that done during a commercial break, and will be amazed at what a difference it makes! (Or use a cleaning robot like mine.)

9. Use floor mats to catch cooking crumbs. You already know that mats placed at your home’s entrances reduce the dirt people track indoors. They work the same way in the kitchen. Place a floor mat with a non-slip backing in front of your sink, stove, and wherever you stand to prep food. They’ll catch spills along with crumbs, so you aren’t spreading them across the floor as you move.

10. Line the top of your refrigerator. Even if you store boxes of cereal up there, the top of your refrigerator is still a dust-magnet. Cover it with a sheet of wax paper a decorative towel or tablecloth. Switch out with a clean liner every week or two.

11. Spray, measure, and pour over your sink. No matter how careful you try to be, spraying cooking oils or measuring ingredients over the counter is messy. Why clean it if you don’t have to? Do that kind of work over the sink where you can just rinse it away.

12. Use a splatter screen when frying. Frying and sauteing food can leave a greasy, dust-collecting mess on surrounding surfaces. Pop a splatter screen on top of your pan to prevent this and toss it in the dishwasher when you’re done.

13. Cover food while microwaving. Use inexpensive microwave splatter screens and rinse them after use. I’m such a fan of the things that I literally took a permanent marker and wrote on the back wall of my microwave: “USE A SPLATTER SCREEN!” I haven’t had to scrub cooked-on food for years now.

14. Set spoons on a saucer. Cooking spoons, stirring spoons, measuring spoons: don’t put them on the counter! Rest them on a saucer that you can pop into the dishwasher, which is so much faster than having to wipe up a mess when you’re done.

15. Wrap your oils. Even the most careful cook finds that bottles of olive or avocado oil get grimy after a few uses. Cockroaches and other pests are attracted by oils, which is why you need to keep those bottles clean. An easy way to do this is by wrapping them tightly with a paper towel fastened in place by a rubber band. Change the towel during weekly kitchen cleanings.

16. Prep ingredients in bulk. Cleaning a big mess once a week is much easier than cleaning seven or more smaller messes throughout the week. So, look at your weekly menu plan and figure out which ingredients you can prepare in advance. Chopped onions, celery, carrots, and other vegetables will stay fresh in air-tight containers in the fridge, so why not spend a weekend afternoon knocking them out? You can shorten that into a mere half-hour with a vegetable chopper/dicer. (I’m crazy about mine!)

17. Use a baking sheet to catch oven drips. Never — let me repeat that, NEVER — line the bottom of your oven with foil. It’s a fire hazard, and it will most likely void your oven’s warranty. Instead, position a baking sheet on a rack immediately below any drippy food you’re cooking — like casseroles, frozen pizzas, etc. The sheet will catch drips so your oven floor stays clean, and all you have to do is pop the dirty sheet into the dishwasher.

18. Use washable placemats. Like the kitchen floor mats earlier, placemats catch crumbs and keep them from getting knocked around. They also catch drips, which is why it’s important that you buy washable ones.

19. Keep your cleaning spray handy. Even if you’re diligent, there will still be little messes to clean — fingerprints on your appliances, grime on your drawer pulls. Keep a bottle of homemade all-purpose spray cleaner and a microfiber cloth handy.

20. Establish a daily tidying routine. I’m a big fan of following a short daily routine to get every room in the house looking tidy between deeper cleanings. Spend a few minutes each and every day, even if you didn’t cook, to deal with common kitchen messes and your kitchen will always be clean.

More How-Tos:

Cleaning Trouble Spots in the Kitchen
How to Clean a Dishwasher Properly
How to Clean a Keurig — or Fix Your Broken One

Pin 20 Tips to Keep the Kitchen Clean

If you’ve ever visited a friend’s home unannounced only to discover their kitchen is squeaky clean (without any warning?!), you might wonder how they do it. Well, apparently the secret to a clean kitchen is daily upkeep. These are a few of the habits people with spotless kitchens do every day:

1. They use a “one in, one out” rule when stocking the fridge.

“Every time I come home with groceries I wipe the shelves down and remove anything that doesn’t look fresh,” says Monica Friel, owner and professional organizer at Chaos to Order. By removing food that’s no longer edible before adding new items, Friel keeps her fridge from becoming overcrowded and cuts down on clutter and food waste.

2. They combine each meal with a chore.

And that doesn’t mean just cleaning your plate after you eat. “Every morning I use the stove to make eggs. After eating, I remove the metal stove tops and wipe the surface with an organic cleaner,” says Anne Marie Herring, a freelance yoga teacher. Whether she knows it or not, Herring is using a classic “cue” technique for habit-forming: Making a meal acts as the trigger to get her to clean a little — overtime, it would feel weird if she didn’t do follow through with it.

3. They keep wipes where they can see them.

Disenfecting wipes help Stephanie Olsen stay on top of spot cleaning in her kitchen — everything from the messy area around the cat dishes to a spill on the floor. “I usually do double-duty too: If the wipe isn’t gross after cleaning a spill, I’ll fold it over and wipe off the top of the coffee maker, stove hood, or dishwasher door,” she says.

4. They store foods that must be eaten toward the front of the fridge.

Louise Miclat prevents food from spoiling by staying on top of what she has in her refrigerator: “I put all foods that are close to their ‘enjoy by’ date in the front of the fridge,” she says. This way they’re top of mind when she opens the door looking for something to eat – and expired food clutter doesn’t even have a chance to form.

5. They set a timer.

On your mark, get set … and don’t stop cleaning until you hear the ding if you want to follow the advice of freelance writer, Brianna Belle: “I set a timer and clean for 15 minutes every morning after breakfast and every night after dinner.”


6. They use labeled bins, so things never sit idly.

Storage containers aren’t just for your office or closet anymore. “On a daily basis I make sure that books and papers go into bins assigned to each child and I have a catch-all tub for miscellaneous items,” Daphne Mallory says. “It takes five minutes and really tames the paper and clutter in the kitchen.”

7. They empty the dishwasher as soon as it’s done.

“Nothing causes a back up of dirty dishes piling up in your sink faster than a dishwasher full of clean dishes that you still need to put away,” says Household Management 101 blogger Taylor. She likes to multitask and empty it while she’s waiting for other things to finish in the kitchen, like boiling water or food that’s heating up in the microwave.

Getty/Katja Kircher

8. They make wiping down countertops the one rule they always follow.

If you think about what touches your kitchen counters (mail, money, dirty laundry) you’ll want to clean them constantly, according to Susan Metropolitan. “You have to acknowledge how dirty and unsanitary your counters are,” she warns. “I wipe mine down before cooking and after eating so nothing builds up and permanently sticks to my countertops.”

Plus, you can’t wipe down a countertop that’s cluttered. So if wiping them down is the one habit you adopt (baby steps, people), it will also force you to keep them clear.

9. They use the eyeball technique when cooking.

To reduce mess and dishes, Katie Hill has mastered what she calls hodge-podge cooking: “I generally gauge ingredient measurements in my hand instead of pulling out all of the measuring cups and spoons.” But a word of warning: You should skip this technique when baking, which requires more precise measurements.

10. They start fresh with a clean dish towel.

Don’t just use that rag from yesterday. “Clean cloths make for clean working spaces,” according to Jo-Anna from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs, who pulls out a new towel every morning to clean up spills, dry dishes, and set the tone for the day.

Getty/Charles Maraia