How often should you clean your kitchen?
Does it seem like you are in a constant battle with the cleanliness of your kitchen?
In this series, we answer the question: 'how often should I clean my home?'
You should clean it daily. That’s it. That’s our answer. But we don’t mean clean your WHOLE house EVERY day from top to bottom.
So we will break it down into a few different parts: a daily, monthly, and yearly cleaning routine.
What needs a clean every day needs a different routine to things that you can give a deeper clean less often.
All you really need is 15 minutes each day. Here we're discussing day two of your cleaning schedule's week: the kitchen.
As we’ve already mentioned, making your bed, vacuuming, and airing out your rooms should happen every day.
If you haven't already read our article introducing the basics of your cleaning routine, make sure to check that out.
It talks about the importance of regular cleaning and how it affects our mental health. It also lays the foundation for daily cleaning (which takes about 5 minutes).
For the final 10 minutes of your daily cleaning schedule, you will choose one room and give it a quick surface clean. We started in the bedroom, and now we'll tackle the kitchen.
DAY 2: The Kitchen
On your second day, dedicate 10 minutes to cleaning the kitchen. The kitchen is where you spend one-third of your time when you're at home, so it's pretty crucial to keep it tidy or else it gets really out of hand.
A lot of these items we perform whilst we are using the kitchen. After a while, it just becomes a part of the usual process of cooking and it won’t feel like you’re taking any extra time from your day.
Initially, you may have to actively seek out the time to complete these next steps, but it will become natural.
Here’s how we spend our 10 minutes each week to keep our kitchen clean and free of clutter:
ROTATE YOUR FOOD
Decluttering should happen often, for peace of mind as well as your health. We all have that jar of chutney that's maybe a year or two past its use-by date (I’m looking at you, Mama!)
Putting your older produce in view or towards the front of your pantry and fridge and prioritize the use of the older produce.
Make sure your fruit and vegetables are on display. You’re more likely to reach for that nectarine if it’s on your countertop!
CREATE A SHOPPING LIST
Take the time to write up a list of the things you usually use and what you’ve run out of. After rotating your food you’ll be less likely to buy multiples of the same thing.
Choose fresh ingredients and shop locally (foods with low mileage are best!).
Lists ensure less food waste and a healthier lifestyle as you’re more likely to eat fresher food.
They also save you money and time when you're at the shops. Make sure you stick to your list and don’t spend too long trying to decide if you need that extra tub of ice cream that’s on special.
Dishes, much like laundry, is one of those things that can get wildly out of hand if you put it off that little too long.
Our best tip is to clean-as-you-go. During your cooking time, always spend that time waiting for something to simmer or boil cleaning dishes or at least putting them into the dishwasher.
We don’t have a dishwasher (I know, the blasphemy…), so we like to have a sink already full of hot, soapy water to dump dirty dishes into.
It’s much quicker to dunk, scrub and dry instead of waiting for the water to get hot, adding soap every time and letting the water run.
In my family, we used to leave all the dishes to a couple of people after dinner to clean and dry and put away.
My brothers used to fight over who would wash/dry as we thought putting our hands in the sink of dirty dishwater was the WORST.
This system works, but it makes it so much more of a chore than a routine. By cleaning as you go, you spend the same amount of time cooking, but there will be less to tidy up after you’ve finished.
Before you start cooking, it will make your life so much easier if you prep your ingredients prior (just like you’re on your own cooking show) and lay them out on a large plate or platter. This will allow you to clean up your prep areas just as you start to cook.
Once that is done, clean up your scraps (check out our small space composting system) and clean any utensils or surfaces prior to and during your cooking time.
As you continue to cook, put dirty dishes/utensils straight into the sink. If you’re not cooking something that needs you to be present (like a soup or stew), clean whilst it bubbles away.
If you need to be constantly stirring (like a risotto) dedicate the time spent cleaning to before you put that rice in.
By the time it’s finished cooking you would have already pretty much cleaned all your dishes! And if you’re a lucky one who has a dishwasher, always put it on that night (if it’s full). You’ll thank yourself in the morning if all your dishes are clean.
When it comes to putting away your dishes, this can be a simple 2-minute task you complete each morning along with your bed making.
Once you get into the routine of having a clean kitchen every night, you’ll get used to putting them away after breakfast.
Similar to the dishes, you should clean floors and surfaces during and when you are done with the cooking process.
Spend an extra five minutes going over your stove and benchtops with our DIY all-purpose spray, getting rid of any grease or spilled food.
Make sure you also put away any unused ingredients. This should be done during your prep time, but there’s nothing worse than realising you left that block of cheese on the benchtop overnight.
Finally, sweep the floor. Get rid of any crumbs or dropped scraps. We don’t wear shoes in our house so it’s really important we don’t crunch on a stray crouton.
A kitchen is a place that can easily become cluttered and overwhelmingly dirty.
Spending 10 minutes, one day a week to ensure the benches are clean, old produce is being used and your dishes are clean and put away will encourage you to start doing so more often.
If you start to clean-as-you-go, the kitchen clean might not even need to be a dedicated 10 minutes of your day. Eventually, a clean kitchen will become the norm!
And just remember, your cleanliness is not a reflection of your success. We still (mainly me) have dishes in the sink and greasy benches from time to time.
If you can't quite get as far as putting away those dishes, don't stress! Be kind to yourself; at least you got out of bed! Be gentle but be firm. You'll get there eventually!
This advice column is part of our 'How often should I clean...' series. We're going through day by day where you should be spending 10 minutes to keep your house tidy and free of clutter. In tomorrow's article, we'll be tackling the living room.
Is there anywhere else you struggle to keep clean in your house?