The Secret to a Cleaner Kitchen

I enjoy organizing. Sure, it’s hard work, and when I’m knee-deep in whatever I’m sorting and rearranging I can feel overwhelmed and bitter. But at the end, when the drawer or the shelf or the room is neat and orderly, I get that rush of accomplishment: satisfaction in a job well done.

Cleaning doesn’t give me that rush. Ever. Yes, I like a neat, clean house with shining floors and sparkling mirrors. But those results (possibly because they’re so fleeting—thanks, kids) never feel worth the work. At least not my own work: The few times I’ve had professional cleaning help, I’ve absolutely loved walking through the door to appreciate the fruits of their labor.

Kitchen Cleaning TipsSince I’m the one cleaning these days, I try to minimize the pain as much as possible—particularly in the kitchen, which gets really filthy in a hurry.

The number-one way to keep the kitchen cleaner? Never let it get dirty.

Okay, okay, I know that’s not entirely possible. But you can come close. For example, you can clean the kitchen faucets so that there are no water spots, clean the sink if you put dirty dishes right into the dishwasher instead of letting them pile up in the sink first, you’ll never have a sinkful of dirty dishes to deal with. (And you do know that if your dishwasher is new-ish, like fewer than 7 years old, you don’t have to rinse dishes before loading, right? Modern dishwashers are designed to clean unrinsed dishes, and you’ll just be wasting water if you rinse them—unnecessarily—first.)

When you’re cooking, use a grease screen to keep oil from splattering up from the pan and onto nearby surfaces. Wipe up spills around the cooktop and on its surface while they’re wet—it’s much easier to clean off a wet spill right away than to chip off a dried-up, burnt-on mess later. See a spot on the floor? Wipe it up with all-purpose cleaner now; you won’t have to scrub at it with your mop three days from now. Whipping egg whites in the stand mixer? Clean off those flying flecks ASAP—before they turn to meringue-cement as they dry.

You get the picture: Clean as you go. It’s that simple.

Unfortunately, you’ll still have to “deep clean” from time to time (wish I knew how to eliminate that all together…) but not as often.

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