I wasn’t always comfortable in the kitchen. TV dinners were a staple and “cooking” involved a box of brownie mix and some eggs. This meant the kitchen was often neglected when it came to cleaning – dishes piled up, messy countertops, you get the idea.
As I’ve been trying new dishes (I cooked leeks for the first time last week!) and discovering a joy of cooking fresh, healthy-ish meals, I’ve found myself spending more time in the kitchen. More time in the kitchen meant it was time to get serious about keeping the kitchen clean.
Along the way I’ve learned a few tricks that hae made keeping a clean kitchen easy. I still need to do a “deep clean” when needed, but these easy kitchen tips extend the time between those cleanings.
1. Clean as you cook
After watching my zillionth cooking show, I started doing my own version of “Miz En Place.” This essentially means that you get all of your dish ingredients ready (chopped, diced, peeled, etc.) before you start cooking. After the ingredients are ready, I quickly clear the counters and put the dirty prep dishes in the sink or dishwasher before things hit the fire.
This make a big impact in cooking space and also makes the final cleanup is easier – a lot of the dirty dishes will already be in the sink or dishwasher when it’s time to wash.
2. Give everything a designated place and put things back.
While we can all get a little caught up and leave a jar or spice on the counter, the important thing is we put it back. If you forget to put things away right after cooking, just make sure you do the next time you walk through. I’ve found that if everything has a specific drawer, cabinet or place to “go”, it’s much easier to remember to put things where they belong.
3. Use the Dishwasher
If you have a dishwasher, putting dirty dishes into the dishwasher will help keep counters clear. Using a powerful all-in-one cleaner like Finish Max in 1 will help you get your dishes sparkling clean. We use Finish Rinse Aid as well and combined, these two products help our dishes come out clean and spot-free. Considering we use mineral-rich well water, this is no easy feat. Using your dishwasher can also help you save water, while avoiding dish pan hands. Finish offers several great tips for how to get the most out of your dishwasher.
If you don’t have or don’t use a dishwasher, try to wash the dishes after each meal (or if you forget, first thing in the morning) so they don’t pile up.
4. Wipe Down Countertops
Giving you countertop a quick wipe down between cooking will help keep dirt from building up. Use a dry towel or cloth to wipe off any loose and dry crumbs. Follow up with a damp towel (with a bit of dish soap) to finish up the cleaning. Doing this step daily means I haven’t had to use heavy-duty cleansers as often.
5. Use Vinegar
Vinegar is not just used for cooking. It’s a great, all natural product you can use to clean virtually everything in the kitchen – from removing hard water stains around the sink to preventing grease build-up in the oven. Mix it with a bit of baking soda to create an all natural scrub. For difficult spots, I soak a paper towel in vinegar and let it sit for several minutes while the vinegar does its work.
Do you have any favorite tricks for keeping your kitchen clean?