Kitchens are not only the heart of our home, they are our home’s workhorses. And with all that heavy duty, they also collect the most dirt, grime, and food particles.  Most of us recognize that daily kitchen cleaning takes more time than almost any other kind.  And unless we’re willing to give up cooking at home, that’s probably not going to change.  But what if, using simple, practical tips and tools, we could keep the kitchen clean in only half an hour a day?  We make that our goal and we usually reach it.  Read on to see if our plan can work for you. 

Stay on top of the mess.  Cleaning as you go is essential.  Put away dirty dishes every time you use them.  Put food back in the fridge as soon as you’re done with it. Wipe counters each time you create crumbs. Empty the dishwasher the first time you find it full and before a load of new dirty dishes has time to pile up on the counter.  Cover food you are heating in the microwave to prevent nasty messes as it cooks. Basically think proactively and clean in real time.

When you’re ready to begin more thorough cleaning, set a timer in five minute increments. Using a five-minute timer before beginning your cleaning will remind you to stay on task.  It also serves to balance your perception of how hard the work is.  In five minutes you can accomplish a lot! With four of these five minute chunks, you’ll be amazed at what you gets clean.  And you’ve only spent twenty total minutes of effort!

Accomplish your after-meal or end of day cleaning by following a routine.  Here’s ours.  First, put away any food, pantry, or other clean kitchen items found on your surfaces.  Next, grab anything that does not belong in the kitchen at all and add it to a box or basket for putting away later.  Now pick up everything that’s left - it should all be dirty dishes in need of washing.  Rinse and stack these next to the sink.  Your surfaces are now clear but still dirty, so take a moment to wet down your cloth and spray each surface with a light cleanser.  Now you’re ready to load the dishwasher (unload first, if necessary.)  Finally clean any pots and pans or other items needing hand washing. You’re done with the basics! If you still have energy left, spot clean your floors with a dustpan and clorox wipe.  Voila!  Clean kitchen in a quick few minutes!  If you’ve followed the clean-as-you-go technique we mentioned above, you’ll have a much easier job getting the whole kitchen cleaning done at the end of the day.   If you haven’t, don’t despair.  Just use the routine and give yourself twenty minutes in five minute chunks.  

Some days, keeping on top of the mess will be all you can do.  But on the slightly easier days add one deep cleaning task to each day’s normal tidying up. This could mean wiping down the fronts of all appliances, cleaning out one cupboard, organizing pots and pans, or scrubbing down the sink and cleaning and buffing the faucet.  Just one item a day means the whole kitchen stays deep cleaned on a regular basis.  One great list for what to clean daily can be found here. 

Kitchen floors need cleaning more often than the rest of the house due to their high use.  Aim to sweep or vacuum your kitchen two to three times a week.  Investing in a mini cordless vacuum will make this job much quicker and easier. Following up the vacuuming by using a mop with disinfecting wipes to clean the highest traffic areas will leave your kitchen that much more sparkling!

Do your best to give your kitchen a clean up at the end of each day. Even if you don’t get the dishwasher emptied or refilled you can still clear the counters, rinse and stack all dishes, and wipe down your surfaces.  Waking up to clean counters is one of the best starts to any busy day.  Adopting this habit really can change your life!