Keeping your kitchen clean and tidy can feel like an endless battle, especially if you cook often. Dirty dishes pile up, crumbs scatter across counters, and spills seem inevitable. But having a neat, organized kitchen not only looks nicer, it makes cooking easier and more enjoyable. Here are 10 tips to help keep your kitchen clean as you cook and tidy up after meals.
Clutter is the enemy of a tidy kitchen. Reduce clutter by:
- Storing seldom used items like fancy dishes or extra appliances.
- Purging old, unused kitchen tools and gadgets.
- Keeping only the kitchen essentials within easy reach.
- Using organizational tools like drawer dividers, a utensil crock, or a knife block to neatly store cooking tools.
Clean as You Go
Cleaning up as you cook prevents messes from accumulating. Have your sink, some paper towels, and a small trash can readily available. As you prep ingredients and cook, wash utensils, wipe spills, and discard scraps and packaging.
Deal with Dirty Dishes
Don’t let dishes pile up in or next to the sink. Either have someone wash or load them in the dishwasher as you cook, or make cleaning the kitchen part of your post-meal routine. Soak any dried-on food and rinse dishes before loading them in the dishwasher.
Use Paper Towels Strategically
Paper towels are handy for wiping up spills and grease splatters while cooking. But use them sparingly and look for reusable options when possible. Some ideas:
- Use dishcloths and tea towels instead of paper towels for some cleaning tasks.
- Let a spoon rest hold messy cooking utensils.
- Contain spills with a splatter screen.
- Line baking sheets with reusable silicone mats instead of foil or parchment.
Take Out the Trash
Don’t let your garbage cans overflow. Empty them regularly, especially if they contain food scraps. Use cans with lids to help contain odors. Take the trash and recycling out right after preparing meals to keep the kitchen smelling fresh.
Clean as You Store Food
Putting food away promptly and properly helps prevent messes. Follow these tips:
- Wipe down food packaging before storing.
- Transfer leftovers to airtight glass or plastic containers.
- Immediately store perishable foods like meats and cut produce in the fridge.
- Clean up any crumbs, drips, or spills that happen when putting food away.
- Organize the fridge and pantry so items don’t get lost.
Deal with Spills ASAP
Don’t let spills sit on your kitchen counters or floors. Clean them up right away so they don’t get tracked around the house. Spray with a homemade cleaner and wipe up with a dishcloth. For tougher dried-on spills, use a scraper or scrubby sponge.
Keep the Sink Clear
A pile of dirty dishes is an eyesore. Always empty the sink before meals and don’t let dishes accumulate. Remove dishes from the sink to wash or load into the dishwasher. Keeping the sink clear also makes hand washing easier. Place a drainer nearby to hold clean, wet dishes.
Crumbs are inevitable with cooking and snacking, but you don’t have to live with a crumb-covered kitchen floor. Sweep up crumbs daily or every few days. Use a rubber broom that easily collects crumbs without flinging them around. Vacuum occasionally to remove any remaining debris.
Declutter Kitchen Surfaces
Keep appliances and kitchen surfaces clear of clutter. Here’s how:
- Store small appliances like the stand mixer, toaster, and microwave when not in use.
- Display fruit bowls, pretty jars, or other decorative items to take up empty counter space.
- Keep counters cleared except when prepping food. Put everything away when meals are done.
- Consider mounting spice racks and utensil holders on the walls or inside cabinets to free up space.
Establish Cleaning Routines
Regular cleaning prevents any room from getting too messy. Try these tips for kitchen cleaning routines:
- Do a quick daily wipe-down of appliances, counters, and the sink to remove grease, drips, and mineral deposits.
- Give the kitchen a thorough scrub weekly. Scour sinks and countertops, mop floors, take everything out of the fridge to clean it, etc.
- Deep clean appliances like the oven every few months or as needed.
- Organize cabinets, check expiration dates, and toss old food every couple of months.
Implementing just a few of these tips can help you maintain a cleaner, tidier kitchen every day. The extra minutes spent wiping counters or loading the dishwasher are worth it for a more organized, pleasant cooking and dining experience. A tidy kitchen not only looks nicer, it cuts down on time spent cleaning up later