Did you know that your kitchen is infested with bacteria? (It is, and it’s gross.) Here’s how to properly clean your kitchen to protect yourself and your family with these kitchen cleaning hacks.
After reading this post: you’ll know exactly how to clean your kitchen to keep it free of harmful bacteria & eliminate the everyday grub by using these quick and easy kitchen cleaning hacks.
Did you know that your kitchen is actually dirtier than your bathroom?… I didn’t.
In fact, for years I didn’t even know that of all the rooms in our house, our kitchen was the dirtiest.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this post, I’m going to start out by saying: I’ve never been one to let my kitchen get TOO dirty, but let’s be honest – I’m a wife, a homemaker, I run a business, AND I have a very busy little one to take care of… so you can imagine that our kitchen isn’t always (or ever) squeaky clean.
But, after learning how dirty the kitchen really is, I decided it was definitely time to learn how to keep my kitchen clean-er on a day-to-day basis.
I know there are many other homemakers out there who, like myself, want to have a clean kitchen free from harmful bacteria – so let’s dive right in and learn how to clean the kitchen the RIGHT way (so you’re not making it dirtier than it already is).
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One of the most frustrating things about keeping your kitchen clean on a daily basis is that if you skip even just ONE day of cleaning, it quickly becomes an overwhelming mess that requires a lot of time to get under control again – which is why it’s SO important to dedicate even just a few minutes each day to keep your kitchen clean.
And, with these easy kitchen cleaning tips that we’re about to get into, it isn’t all that hard. You’ll find yourself being able to maintain a cleaner kitchen than ever before, all while weaving these kitchen cleaning tips into your day-to-day (this way you aren’t creating more work for yourself, you’re just working smarter).
How can I clean my kitchen? (and keep it clean)
The kitchen is the core of the home. It’s where you go first thing in the morning to make a steaming hot cup of coffee, it’s where your kids rush to when they get home for that after-school snack, and it’s where your family gathers to eat dinner together night after night.
It’s also a place where germs and bacteria thrive, because of its moist and dirty nature.
That same study also suggests that most kitchen cloths and sponges harbor large amounts of harmful bacteria, which means when you wipe down your kitchen counter, table, stovetop, and anything else, you’re actually just spreading germs around rather than cleaning the surfaces.
(Which, quite frankly, makes me want to throw away all my dishcloths and sponges right now and just use these instead.)
All this to say, it’s time to clean your kitchen. Stat.
But, where do you start when your kitchen has bacteria hidden in every nook and cranny?
That’s exactly what we’re about to dive into – how to clean the kitchen to actually get it clean (instead of just spreading germs around).
You’ll also learn a couple easy kitchen cleaning hacks that I use to make cleaning my kitchen so much easier and faster.
The first thing you’ll want to do when it comes to cleaning your kitchen is put your dishcloth, hand towel, and kitchen sponge in the washing machine and set it to the hottest cycle.
Ideally, you should be washing all your kitchen towels and sponges daily to avoid the spreading of bacteria and germs.
(Which, let’s be honest, you probably aren’t going to do. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to wash my kitchen towels EVERY day. So, maybe try to do it at least every 2 – 3 days.)
How do I keep my kitchen clean daily?
Here you’ll find some of the best kitchen cleaning hacks around, and there’s one question that many people find themselves asking every day, “How can I keep my kitchen clean daily?”
The kitchen gets used multiple times a day, every single day of the week.
You wash dirty hands in the kitchen sink, you deal with raw meat, you spill food and drinks, and remnants of food escape to their hiding places in the corners of the floor.
So, learning how to keep your kitchen clean on a day-to-day basis plays an incredibly important roll in the safety of your family’s health.
Here are a few daily kitchen cleaning tips that you can start implementing right away to keep your kitchen clean every day:
- Use paper towels to clean up spills. Your dishcloth and kitchen sponge both harbor insane amounts of bacteria. This means that when you clean up a spill with your sponge, you may be cleaning up the visible mess, but you’re actually just spreading bacteria onto and around the surface that you wipe up (and then all the other surfaces that sponge touches after that). Using paper towels will clean up the mess without spreading germs.
- Clean up after each meal. Rather than letting dishes sit by the sink – or on the table – until the evening (or five days from now), wash the dishes or load them into the dishwasher after every meal. This will help keep your kitchen looking clean, not cluttered, throughout the day and will make it so you don’t have to spend hours scrubbing dishes in the evening.
- Clean spills up right away. When you clean spills up right when they occur all you’ll have to do is grab your paper towel and wipe it up. However, if you let the spill sit all day it will set and you’ll end up having to scrub at it to get it to come off.
- Clean the kitchen sink every night. The kitchen sink sees the brunt of all the germs, dirt, and bacteria in the kitchen – and while you may think you’re washing your dishes in the sink, you may actually be soaking them in a bacteria-infested area (and then scrubbing them with a bacteria-infested dishcloth). Make a habit of washing your kitchen sink every evening with a clean dishcloth, soap, and the hottest water your hands can handle. You can also purchase a kitchen-safe disinfectant spray and wipe it out with a paper towel daily.
- Take out the kitchen garbage. If you leave the garbage for too long it will start to stink up your kitchen, then the smell can quickly move to the rest of your house. To avoid stinking up your house, take the trash out daily. If your kitchen garbage takes a week to fill up, consider purchasing a smaller garbage can to eliminate odors.
- Use a kitchen-safe disinfectant spray (I recommend this cleaner since it’s non-toxic so you don’t have to worry about it coming in contact with your food) and paper towels after handling raw meat. When you wipe the juices from raw meat up with a dishcloth, even if you thoroughly rinse that dishcloth, the bacteria will cling to it like a leech and spread to the next thing it wipes. To avoid the spread of germs, use paper towels to wipe up messes then dispose of them immediately.
- Sweep the floors nightly. Every night you should be quickly sweeping your kitchen floors. As I mentioned earlier, the kitchen is the core of your home, which means it gets a lot of traffic in and out of it every day. Which means, the crumbs and dirt on the kitchen floor will cling to the feet the travel through it and migrate to other areas of your house. Eliminate the need to vacuum your floors multiple times a week by sweeping the kitchen floor every evening.
- Use paper towels to clean up raw meat juices and messes. You should pay special attention to the places where you were working with raw meat – these are the places that if you use your dishcloth to wipe up, you should immediately put that dishcloth into the washer. But, I recommend using paper towels to clean up any raw meat juices and substances, because the thought of wiping all that bacteria up with my dishcloth seriously grosses me out. I like it much better when I can just wipe it up with my paper towel then throw it straight into the trash.
How do I keep my kitchen clean while cooking?
Another popular question many people have is how to keep the kitchen clean while cooking.
If every time you make a meal it looks like a tornado tore through your kitchen, these tips are for you:
- Take everything you need for the meal out BEFORE you start cooking. This includes all the ingredients you need for the meal, as well as mixing bowls, pots, pans, and serving dishes, then set them up in the different areas (put everything you need for salad in one area, everything you need for the main dish in another area, etc.).
- Prepare some paper towels (I use Perk paper towels – they add a sense of humor to mealtime). Instead of just keeping your roll of paper towels nearby, pre-rip the paper towels so that you can easily grab a single towel without having to touch the entire roll with dirty hands. This way you can quickly clean up any spills that occur while you’re cooking, wipe up the countertops as you go, and quickly clean your hands when moving from task to task.
- Put things away as soon as you’re done with them. Unlike before you start cooking, when you take everything out at once, you’re going to put ingredients, dirty dishes, and everything else you use away as soon as you’re done with it. Done with the salt? Back in the cupboard it goes. Done with the mixing bowl? Put it near the sink (or in the dishwasher).
- Designate a “trash bowl”. Grab your biggest mixing bowl and set it on the counter as your trash bowl. This will collect everything from garlic wrappers to carrot peels to packaging. Place any trash you create throughout the meal into this bowl, then when you’re done all you have to do is dump the bowl in your garbage can, instead of going around and collecting little pieces of garbage from various places in your kitchen.
- Fill the sink with hot, soapy water. Before you start prepping and cooking, prepare a sinkful of soapy water and let it sit. As you’re done with bowls, utensils, and other dishes while you cook you can put them straight into the soapy water to soak. (When dealing with greasy dishes, I like to use this specific dish soap. Just make sure you get the original scent, it works best.)
- Don’t start eating until the dishes are done. There’s nothing worse than spending an hour washing dishes after dinner while your family takes off to do their own thing. As soon as you’ve got dinner in the oven cooking and everything prepped, quickly wash all the dishes you made dirty before everything sits down for dinner, this way after dinner the only cleanup left to do is put the dishes your family ate off of in the dishwasher and wash the serving dishes.
- Clean spills up right away. Fresh spills are FAR easier to clean up than spills that have had time to set into the countertop and – dare I say – leave a stain. If you leave a spill for too long before wiping it up, you’ll have to get out your kitchen scrubby and spray cleaner and scrub at it. If you clean the spill up right away (and I mean right away. Stop what you’re doing and wipe up that spill) all you need is a piece of paper towel and the spill will lift right off.
If you take time to implement these tips you’ll be able to keep your kitchen clean and organized while cooking every night – and avoid long hours spent scrubbing dishes that got left too long and trying to lift stains off the countertop because a spill didn’t get cleaned up right away.
Why can’t I keep my kitchen clean?
Maybe you feel like you’ve tried everything to keep your kitchen clean, but by the end of the day, it has ALWAYS reverted back to a big mess.
You’ve read all the articles, implemented all the tips, and you still can’t manage to keep your kitchen clean.
It feels hopeless.
But it’s not.
Usually, the main reason why so many people struggle to keep their kitchens clean is because they don’t make time for it.
Trust me, I know you’re busy and that it doesn’t seem like you have time to do these small cleaning tasks every day.
But, it makes a lot more sense to take 5 minutes out of your day to clean dishes up as you go rather than spending an hour every evening scrubbing dishes… doesn’t it?
As a busy mom myself, I don’t have time to spend every moment of my day scrubbing dishes and wiping countertops.
I barely even have time to take a shower, so spending hours cleaning my kitchen isn’t exactly what I desire to do with my time.
But, even though I’m busy and really don’t have time to clean my kitchen, I’ve found ways to fit cleaning my kitchen into my daily life.
By doing something as simple as cleaning as I go, I’m able to maintain a clean and dirty-dish-free kitchen (most days).
And you can do it too.
By cleaning up as you go you don’t have to try to find 5, 10, or even 30 minutes in your day to spend cleaning the kitchen, all you have to do is take the time you already spend in the kitchen prepping meals and use it wisely.
Pro kitchen cleaning tip (and the reason why it still looks dirty):
Another reason why you may find your kitchen feeling dirty even after you just spent an hour binge-cleaning it is if your appliances are a mess.
Particularly, if you have stainless-steel appliances.
Stainless steel appliances are great. They look awesome, except for one thing… they show off fingerprints, water drops, and smudges like there’s no tomorrow.
Really, your kitchen can be spotless, but if your appliances are all smudged up your kitchen won’t look clean at all.
Now, if you don’t have stainless steel appliances you will be able to simply take a cloth and wipe the appliances down to clean them.
However, if you have stainless steel appliances the process can be a bit more tedious.
Stainless steel will show streaks, lint, and any small smudges RIGHT after you’ve wiped them down. It can seem like there’s no winning with these appliances.
But, there’s one tip I learned from my years in housekeeping that I’ve carried with me and use regularly – and it works like a charm.
Here’s how to clean stainless steel appliances:
Wipe the appliance down with a damp cloth. Don’t worry about making it look perfect. It won’t. This is just to get any loose dirt off of the surface – the next two steps are the ones that matter.
Next, grab some plain old baby oil (make sure it’s original. This is what I use) and paper towel and rub the baby oil into the appliances following the way that the grain of the stainless steel goes.
(Be sure to use a paper towel for this job, not a rag, as rags will leave lint and streaks.)
After you’ve applied the baby oil, you’re going to take a clean piece of paper towel and gently rub it across the appliance, starting at the top of the appliance and working your way to the bottom.
If you get to an area that is particularly smudged up, work in small strokes until the smudges come out.
Then, take a fresh piece of paper towel and wipe your appliances all the way from one side across to the other side in long, continuous strokes (as to not leave streaks), working your way from top to bottom.
Repeat these steps for all of your stainless steel appliances and they will shine like new.
The bonus is, not only does this remove streaks, fingerprints, smudges, and water spots, it will also keep your appliances from getting smudged up right away again.
If you use a regular cloth and water to wipe the appliances down they won’t shine and the smudges will still be visible. AND they will quickly smudge up again shortly after.
How to clean up everyday kitchen messes
Kitchens get used multiple times a day, 365 days a year, by many different members of the family, friends, and guests.
Which can only mean one thing…
…there’s bound to be a lot of messes being made in that room.
And not everyone (ahem, kids) knows how much easier it is to clean a mess up right when it happens, rather than letting it sit all day then having… mom… spending five minutes scrubbing it in the evening.
The first thing you need to know about cleaning up kitchen messes is this:
Clean messes up as soon as they happen.
Write this on a piece of paper and post it on the fridge. Tell it to your kids every morning. Grind it into your – and your family’s – brain until everyone’s doing it.
Because it’s 1999x easier to clean a mess up right away than to clean it up after it has set.
Right up there with cleaning messes up when they happen is using the right tools to clean up the mess.
For example, if you just have a glass of water that tipped over, by all means, grab your (clean) dishcloth and wipe it up.
However, if something else spilled – say, raw meat juices – you do not want to use your dishcloth to wipe it up.
Dishcloths harbor a whole lot of bacteria, and when you use them to wipe up messes that contain mounds and mounds of bacteria themselves, you’re just adding to the mess. (And then any other surface you wipe after wiping up that mess becomes contaminated, too… even if you rinsed the dishcloth out in between uses.)
If you have bacteria-infested messes, it’s best to use paper towels to clean them up. That way the bacteria can go straight into the trash.
I’ve never been one to have paper towels easily accessible, but since learning about how grossly infested with bacteria dishcloths are, I’ve been convinced that using paper towels to clean up bactera-filled messes is a smarter move.
This way the germs are out of sight, out of mind.
Here’s how you can keep your kitchen clean when you have no time to spare…
When you’re brewing your morning coffee, clean out the dishwasher and put any dishes that were hand-washed and left out to dry overnight away.
When you’re preparing meals, load dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher or wash them by hand before sitting down to eat.
After meals, clean up the rest of the dishes and wipe the table and countertops before leaving the kitchen.
And, finally, keep a roll of paper towels easily accessible to encourage yourself (and your family members) to clean messes and spills up right when they happen, rather than leaving them.
It’s really as simple as that.
If you can get yourself to stay on top of your kitchen throughout the day, keeping it clean really isn’t that difficult of a task.
The best cleaning tips for the kitchen that are quick and easy is just to keep on top of it.
Sometimes, there is no “hack” or “quick tip” that will give you the results you desire. Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and put in the work.
And that’s what you have to do in your kitchen, except, keeping your kitchen clean with these tips really aren’t time-consuming. You just have to do them.
So, go ahead and throw your dishcloths, hand cloths, and kitchen sponges in the washing machine and wash them in the hottest water possible (you can also wash your sponge in the dishwasher if you prefer).
If you don’t have paper towels on hand, grab a pack and keep them easily accessible for kitchen clean-up.
I’d love to hear from you – what are some of your quick & easy kitchen cleaning hacks? Or, some kitchen cleaning tips you couldn’t live without? Feel free to share them with everyone below.