The kitchen is the one room in the house that seems to immediately get dirty once it’s clean and it never seems to stop (similar to laundry, are we right?) and we know—kitchen cleaning isn’t exactly fun. Preparing, cooking, serving and cleaning up after dinner are frequent offenders—5 to 7 times a week depending on how much you eat at home. Dinner happens hundreds of time a year and focusing on keeping it clean constantly can be a lot of work. Can be?—it is a lot of work. With these simple tasks that you should clean immediately before and after dinner in mind, mealtime at your house just got a whole lot easier, and cleaner.
Divide the labor for kitchen cleaning however you need to among your housemates or family, but someone should handle each of these tasks:
1. Clean the Table and Counters
Gather any dirty dishes that are sitting on the counters and pile them next to the sink. Soak anything that needs a good soak in hot water immediately. Deal with any papers, or clutter. We all know that the kitchen is the heart of the home and for some reason, EVERYTHING winds up on the kitchen counter. Use Boulder Clean All Purpose Cleaner, Granite + Stainless Cleaner, or Glass + Surface Cleaner (depending on what type of counter you have) to make sure the kitchen is ready for food prep. Wipe down the table you’ll be eating at to remove any dust or grime that has settled.
2. Check the Fridge
Make sure you have all the ingredients you need for your meal. Checking before hand ensures you have enough time to go to the store if necessary. This is also a great time to throw out any spoiled or expired food or leftovers.
3. Wash Leftover Dishes
That pile of dishes you just put by the sink, did you think you were done with them? Think again. Grab your sponge and even before you cook, wash any dirty dishes that are in the sink. Also, pro tip: to not cause any bottle neck situations later on, go ahead and empty and dishes that are in the dishwasher or dish rack.
4. Wash As You Go
It may seem obvious, but if you wash pots, pans, utensils and tools you cook with as you’re cooking or before you sit down to eat dinner, you’ll have so much less to do after and everyone can linger around the table for a little longer before the pressure of clean-up forces you to your feet.
1. Run Soaking Water
Run some hot, soapy water in your clean sink (yay for doing those other dishes ahead of time!) Put hand-wash items in as you’re cleaning the table and counters. Since you just ate, you should be able to clean any plate with a breezy splash of water before they go into your dishwasher and soaking hand-wash items will help release any grease or food residue.
2. Clean the Table and Counters
3. Wash the Dishes
Go back and wash those hand-wash items that have been soaking plus any other pots and pans that weren’t taken care of before dinner was served. Once all the dishes are finished, clean the sink so that bacteria doesn’t have a chance to build up overnight.
4. Look Around
Take a look around, see if there is anything else that needs to be done. An appliance may need to be wiped down from some heavy use, a can opened may need to be popped back into its drawer. Spills and splatters may have occurred any where or at any time so check faucets, fridge handles and especially the floor before you call it a night. Then, look around at your hard work and let that clean kitchen give you peace of mind as you walk away… at least until tomorrow.
As with any new task or habit, the first time may be the most difficult. The ease of this kitchen cleaning routine comes after you’ve been following it and you’ll start to find less dirty dishes piling up and more spotless counters in return.