When your kitchen is dirty, it affects every minute you’re at home. The mess nags you from your morning cup of coffee to the handful of shredded cheese you sneak on the way to bed.
Start following these tips to keep your kitchen clean, and it will stay tidier all week long. The more of them you put into action, the less often you’ll need to scrub or scour your kitchen surfaces. Then that morning cup will taste a whole lot better because you’ll be savoring it in a kitchen that you can be proud of.
How To Keep Your Kitchen Clean
1. Make Dishwashing Easier
Dirty plates and utensils will pile up in the sink if it’s too much effort to deal with them. Run your dishwasher after dinner and empty it before bed so that you start the day with a clean sink. No dishwasher? Let hand-washed dishes dry on a rack while you’re relaxing after dinner. (I love this collapsible rack that I stash under my sink.)
2. Protect Counters During Food Prep
If you’re chopping vegetables, use a cutting board. Prep raw meats on top of a rimmed baking sheet that you can pop it into the dishwasher. Roll out pastry or dough on top of the parchment paper or silicone mat you’re baking on. The fewer things that come in contact with your countertops, the cleaner they’ll stay.
3. Measure, Pour, and Spray Over Your Sink
Some kitchen tasks make a mess no matter how careful you are. For example, using cooking spray, measuring ingredients, or ladling soup into serving bowls. If you don’t enjoy scrubbing your counters after each meal, do those things over your kitchen sink. Then all you have to do is rinse the mess away.
4. Use Scrap Bowls While You Cook
Collecting kitchen scraps in a bowl as you cook reduces the risk of dropping them on the floor. Add scraps from your meal after you’ve finished and add them to the compost pile if you’ve got one. Or, transfer them to the freezer to use later. (Related: 12 Kitchen Scraps You Should Freeze and Re-Use.)
5. Stop Stovetop Splatters Before They Happen
Ever skip certain recipes because they’ll coat your kitchen with grease splatters? You don’t have to take those meals off the menu. If you can’t cover the pan while you’re cooking, use a wire splatter guard (like this one). Pop it in the dishwasher or give it a quick wash after each use.
6. Use a Good Cover While Microwaving
Using a paper towel to cover microwave foods is wasteful, and they don’t always stay put. Try a plate or overturned bowl for a cover that stays in place. Or get these inexpensive microwave splatter screens that we use. I’m such a fan that I wrote “USE A SPLATTER SCREEN!” in permanent marker on the back wall of our microwave. I haven’t had to scrub cooked-on food since.
7. Put Coasters Under Condiments and Jars
Using washable coasters under condiments keeps them from messing up your shelves. They’re great to use with things like honey or syrup that leave pantry shelves sticky. To clean the pantry, all you have to do is wash the coasters and wipe — not scrub — the shelves. (Related: How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths for Good.)
8. Use Liners In and On Your Fridge
Lining refrigerator shelves and drawers make them easy to clean. Try cling wrap or clear liners on shelves. Using newspaper or paper towels in drawers keeps produce fresh longer, too. Don’t stop with the shelves, though! Line the top of your fridge with a tea towel to collect dust and launder it every couple of weeks.
9. Catch Drips in Your Oven
Using foil on the bottom of your oven is a fire hazard and will most likely void your appliance’s warranty. That doesn’t mean you have to put up with baked-on messes, though. Stick a baking sheet on a rack below drippy things like casseroles, frozen pizzas, or lasagnas. Take the sheet out after cooking, let it cool, and pop it into your dishwasher.
10. Keep the Trash Can Accessible
Under the kitchen sink is the worst place for your trash can. If it’s not accessible, you wind up leaving stuff on the counter, and then it’s easy to forget. Switch to a stand-alone, foot-operated trash can, and you also won’t have to empty it as often. Are you worried about garbage can odors? Tuck newspaper sprinkled with baking soda in the bottom to catch drips. Change it when you take out the trash.
11. Make Nightly Floor Cleanup Easy
Brooms send dust flying around a room and leave a line of debris when you’re using the dustpan. Use a cordless vacuum or powered sweeper in the kitchen instead. Run it under your table and at the base of cabinets nightly, and your kitchen will always look clean. (Related: Recommended Cleaning Tools.)
12. Spend 5 Minutes Tidying Daily
Make tidying easy by tucking a rag and non-toxic cleaning spray under your sink. Once a day, spray and wipe appliance fronts, any clear space on your counters, and the tabletop. Rinse the cloth and add some soap then give your sink a quick wipe to finish up. (Related: Daily Whole House Cleaning Routine.)
The easiest way to keep your kitchen clean is by preventing messes in the first place. For those unavoidable spots and spills, make clean-up easier so you can deal with them fast. Then spend a few minutes daily doing a little tidying, and your kitchen will look clean around the clock.