9 Tips that Keep Your Kitchen Cleaner All the Time

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Tired of your kitchen always looking messy? These tips help keep your kitchen so much cleaner that you’ll look for reasons to show it off.

Woman wearing rubber gloves shows how to keep her kitchen cleaner by wiping countertops with a microfiber cloth

The kitchen is “command central” in most homes. For many of us, the kitchen is not just a place to store and cook food but also where our kids do homework, where we fold laundry, where we linger over a cup of coffee while we chat with friends.

When your kitchen is a mess, it can ruin your mood. Who wants to cook if it first means scrubbing a reeking pile of greasy dishes? How can anyone linger at the table over coffee if they’re grossed out by an overflowing trash can? Learning to keep your kitchen cleaner helps get every day off to a better start. Who knows, you might even want to cook more often once it’s more pleasant to use.

1. Minimize What’s on Display

In most kitchens, countertop space is a scarce resource so treat it as such. The fastest way to reduce clutter on your kitchen counters is by insisting that everything on them must earn its place weekly. If you don’t use a small appliance every week, move it from your counter to the cabinet. Either declutter and organize your kitchen cabinets to make space, or get rid of the gadgets you don’t use. The less you leave sitting out, the less you’ll have to keep clean.

2. Put Away Food Properly

Some household pests like pantry moths enter your home by hiding in food packaging like cereal boxes or bags of grain. Other household pests like fruit flies are drawn to foods left sitting on your counter. To keep your kitchen cleaner, transfer dry goods to air-tight storage containers and discard the packaging. Put away food immediately after meals or snacks, and store produce in the refrigerator instead of on the counter.

3. Straighten up Before Grocery Shopping

If you aren’t already in the habit, learn to plan a weekly menu so you aren’t buying more than you need. Then, check the contents of your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry cupboards before you head to the store. Are there creative ways to use what you already have on hand? While you’re in there, straighten and wipe your shelves and crisper drawers and discard expired food.

4. An Easy Way to Keep Your Kitchen Cleaner is to Degrease Things after Use

The main source of dirt in most kitchens is cooking grease which attracts pests, collects dust, and smells awful. To keep your kitchen cleaner, stash a spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of liquid dish soap under the sink. Add a couple of drops of essential oils for fragrance if you like. Use it to degrease your cooktop and microwave after use. You can also use it to clean up food spills in the oven as soon as it’s cooled after cooking.

5. Wipe Counters Before And After

Just because countertops look clean doesn’t mean they are. Who isn’t in the habit of setting grocery bags, the day’s mail, or their handbag on the kitchen counter? Those things may not look dirty, but they transfer an enormous amount of germs to your countertop. So, get in the habit of using that homemade spray on counters before and after cooking, or keep a container of homemade sanitizing wipes on hand to make it a speedy task.

6. Empty the Trash on a Schedule

Keep your kitchen looking cleaner and smelling better by using a trash can with a lid rather than one that sits open. A lid helps contain flies and odors and keeps people from having to look at its contents. If you cook often, consider switching to a touchless can that opens automatically. (I use this one.) Then, empty it nightly even if it’s not full. If the thought of tossing a half-empty bag bothers you, swoop through the rest of the house and add the contents of your bathroom and bedroom trashcans to it.

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7. Change Your Linens

A smelly dish rag can stink up your entire kitchen. So can damp dish towels that have started growing mildew. If family members use the kitchen sink to wash their hands, hang a separate towel for their use. Then, make a point to change all of your kitchen linens at least once a day.

8. Have a Floor-cleaning Routine

Many kitchens have doors that open onto the deck, backyard, or garden. Some also have doors that open to the garage too. The more ways to enter your kitchen, the more dirt gets tracked into it. Then there are the food spills and crumbs to deal with, too. To keep a cleaner kitchen, vacuum or sweep the floor daily and mop up grime and spills at least once a week. (This homemade floor cleaner controls germs and you don’t have to rinse it.)

9. The Ultimate Way to Keep Your Kitchen Cleaner: Shut It Down Nightly

People who don’t live alone know that doing the dishes and putting away food after dinner doesn’t mean the kitchen stays tidy all night. That’s why everyone needs a nightly kitchen tidying routine, to ensure trash and dishes don’t fester overnight and stink up your home. Get into the habit of tidying up and closing down your kitchen an hour or two before bed — when everyone’s had a chance for their after-dinner snacks — and you’ll start each morning on a more pleasant note, too.

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