Cleaning the kitchen can be one of the most time-consuming projects when it comes to home maintenance. It’s not surprising, considering how much goes on in the kitchen, between cooking, cleaning dishes, baking, and even eating if you use your kitchen as a dining area.
Doing a full deep clean of your kitchen can be a full day’s worth of work, but there are a few ways to help keep your time spent in the kitchen cleaning manageable. To be honest, I’m not a fan of letting the mess build up until you have to binge-clean on a huge cleaning day.
I feel that makes me feel completely overwhelmed by the mess and I become paralyzed on how to start! It is much easier to do it a little at a time, all the time, so it never gets so overwhelming.
There are 4 main things that cause kitchen cleaning to take longer than necessary:
- Timing of cleaning
- Having too much to clean
- Improper cleaning tools and solutions
- Not having a system
Here are some specific examples of how your kitchen cleaning might take a lot longer than you’d like, plus tips to fix it!
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Not Cleaning Soon Enough
The kitchen is one of those rooms that gets harder to clean the longer you neglect it. Some rooms like living areas you just have to wipe up the dust and do a quick vacuum or sweep, but the kitchen can become a nightmare if neglected for too long!
Since you’re working with food, it has a tendency to stick to dishes, pots, pans, and utensils if left to sit for too long. The cabinets and backsplash can also hold on to splatters, grease, and dust.
Cleaning your dishes and cooking surfaces immediately after your meals can help cut down on cleaning times since that food won’t get the chance to really stick on.
Now I wouldn’t clean all the cabinets after each time I cook, but a quick glance to catch any spills before they dry on goes a long way in making the cleanup much easier!
I usually just do this with a clean cloth with hot soapy water when I’m wiping down the counter and stovetop. It only takes an extra few seconds to quickly scan for any drips or splashes on the cabinets or backsplash and wipe them up.
Keeping your kitchen decluttered and organized is another big key to making your cleanup as hassle-free as possible.
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Get rid of anything that you don’t need, and anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen. Make sure you put everything away as you finish cleaning it, leaving your counter space clear and free from obstructions.
This gives you easy access to your countertop space for wiping it down and cleaning your surfaces without having to move things back and forth.
This is a huge reason why I keep a minimalist kitchen! The more things you have, the more things there are to clean! If your countertop is filled with small appliances, you have shelves with nicknacks, and your spices are all on display instead of neatly labelled in a cupboard or drawer, these all become things to clean and clean around.
It’s much easier to wipe a simple flat surface than to lift up and wipe down every item on display, plus the countertop. Anything sitting on the countertop is likely to get splattered with food when you’re cooking and collect greasy dust over time if you don’t wipe it down regularly.
Investing in some cabinet, drawer, fridge, and freezer organizers can help make sure everything has a home, and keep your storage areas decluttered so you can easily find what you need.
Not Having a Plan
Having a battle plan for tackling your kitchen is essential. Without a clear start and endpoint, you’ll just end up taking care of some of the easy stuff or waste time and energy on tasks that can wait until the end.
For example, if you need to mop the floor at some point, save that for last so you’re not stuck waiting for the floor to dry before getting back to your cleaning.
Start by making a list of everything you need to get done in the kitchen and prioritize it (usually dishes or cleaning cookware being at the top) and put anything with long wait times towards the end like mopping.
This also applies to having helpers in the kitchen. Make sure each task you delegate can be done simultaneously rather than having more than one person trying to work in the same area, or having a bottlenecked work flow where one person cannot complete their task until the other person is finished.
For example, have one kiddo wipe the table and sweep the floor, while the other kiddo loads the dish washer, rather than have them both try to load the dishwasher together.
Choosing Hard to Clean Materials
Not all materials are made equal, and some are harder to clean than others. If you have a choice in the materials you use in your kitchen decor, keep cleaning and maintenance in mind.
Usually more porous materials like wood, grout, or some natural stone will take a bit more work to get clean than smooth materials like stainless steel or porcelain since dirt and grime can slip into the pores and crevices.
Wood can be difficult to clean thanks to the grain of the wood being perfect for trapping bits of dust and grime. Wooden furniture has some unique upkeep requirements and can be stained by oils and other things.
You’ll want to use cleaners specifically made for wood furniture, like a butcher block countertop, so that you don’t stain or damage your furniture.
Using the Right Tools
Since there’s so much to clean in a kitchen, it’s important to use the right cleaning supplies to handle each task. Your standard rag and soapy water can only take you so far.
Depending on the type of countertops you have, a simple wipe down might not cut it. If you’re dealing with porous materials like granite or cleaning the grout between your tile, having an old toothbrush or this grout brush can help with scrubbing those hard to clean areas.
When cleaning dishes by hand, making sure to have the right scrubbers can save you hours each week!
Not Using the Proper Cleaner
Regular dish soap is only going to get you so far. If you really want to get your kitchen clean, you’ll need to use the right cleaners to make the most of your cleaning.
Since most kitchen grime is oil-based, vinegar actually makes a great cleaning agent, especially if you prefer natural cleaners. Just mix a little vinegar with water and scrub away at that caked-on grease and oil.
If that doesn’t work, there are also degreasers made specifically for kitchen cleaning.
If your kitchen has that stale cooking smell to it and you can’t seem to get it to leave, it might be a sign you’re neglecting your cabinets. Odors that get into the air from cooking can seep into your cabinetry and other furniture, not only leaving cooking odors but also staining your furniture if left to build up for too long.
Wipe down your cabinets regularly with the appropriate cleaners, and do it right after cooking greasy food or around holidays where the kitchen sees more use than usual.
Your floor is just as important as the rest of your kitchen. Tile grout can trap and hold onto dirt and odors from cooking very easily thanks to grout being porous. Try using a grout sealer to lessen the effect.
Save time cleaning the floors by making sure to wipe up any spills immediately. Prevent mess by not wearing outside shoes in the house. Do a quick sweep or vacuum daily to remove crumbs. Unless you have had a big spill, you don’t need to mop every day.
Keeping your time spent in the kitchen to a minimum is all about proper upkeep and maintenance. As long as you keep on top of your cleaning and clean as you go, you’ll find yourself spending a lot less time on cleaning sprees that kill your whole day.