Easy Tips for Quick Kitchen Clean Up

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Can’t stand the mess in the kitchen? Well, before you escape… do your future self a favor and give it a good tidy. Here are some easy tips for quick kitchen clean up.

clean kitchen counters and stove

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. What they really mean is that it’s the messiest, most used place in the home. This is where your people congregate to share a meal, to unload their lunch boxes, to do their homework, to bake cookies, and yes, to make messes.

You and I both know that we should clean as we go when we’re working in the kitchen. And we should always put things away as soon as we’re done with them. And we should never go to bed with a messy kitchen. Your mother taught you all that, didn’t she?

Well, sometimes life happens. And sometimes your kitchen gets to looking like a pack of wild hyenas had a field day with every box and bag spilled and every cupboard open, not to mention more dirty dishes than would take to feed a baseball team.

Or is that just me?

I think it’s super easy for a kitchen to go from clean to Category 5 level disaster. Thankfully, there’s a quick and easy process to get it ship-shape. And it really won’t take as long as you think.

shiny stainless steel refrigerator

Easy Tips for Quick Kitchen Clean Up

Here’s my formula for a quick kitchen clean up:

1. Pick a spot in the room as your starting point.

We’re going to take a 360-degree tour of your kitchen, transforming it as we go. Find your starting point.

I usually go for the area to the right of the refrigerator. There’s not much to the left anyway, so it’s a natural starting point.

Find a clear starting point in your kitchen.

2. Move clockwise through the room.

I prefer clockwise, but you go with what you works for you. From your predetermined starting point, act like a steam roller, or a vacuum, or Mary Poppins — whatever visual makes this work for you.

In order to eliminate repeating your steps, you’re going to move around the room, putting things in order, shutting cupboard doors, putting away appliances and ingredients, taking dirty dishes to the sink, straightening stuff on the frig, relocating Lego men, hair clippies, and all other sorts of hodge-podge to their appropriate locale.

In about 10-15 minutes you can get the basic surfaces cleared off. You earn bonus mom points for making the children cart the hodge-podge where it goes.

yellow tulips and timer on kitchen counter

3. Clean your counters.

People have different definitions of “clean counters”. My friend Jules and I have discussed this in great detail. You know what your standard is; I’m not here to change that.

Right now, put everything away that can be put away. Empty the dishwasher and dish rack. Put every dish and ingredient back in the cupboards. Get your counters to your definition of clean.

woman loading dishwasher

4. Load the dishwasher and get it going.

If you’ve got a dishwasher, we’re in business. Get it loaded and running as quickly as possible. If things aren’t completely baked on, go for the quick wash if you can. Remember, we’re trying to get in and out of here as fast as we can.

I try to fit as many dishes in as possible. And, yes, I will redo someone else’s efforts in order to squeeze as many dishes as can humanly fit.

Over the years I have found what works and what doesn’t as far as economizing space. Experiment with yours. And cram it in!

sink full of dishes and soapy water

5. Hand wash the dishes that are left.

Hopefully, all you’ve got left is knives and pots and pans, which shouldn’t go in the dishwasher anyway. However, I will go on record to say that we’ve sometimes been so backlogged that we’ve had a counter full of hand washing as well as a dishwasher jam-packed full. Ahem.

You do whatcha gotta do. And if hand washing your dishes is it, so be it. I like to use a bottle of hot, soapy water, rubber gloves, and a dish sponge.

I wash the remaining items by hand, rinse, and stack in the drainer to dry. I change the sponge weekly to eliminated bacteria.

clear counters and sink in kitchen

6. Wipe down surfaces.

While the dishes are drying in the rack, I scrub the sink with cleanser and wipe down the counters. I use a vinegar in a spray bottle for the counters.

If you power through, you can clean up the worst of kitchen disasters in less than an hour. Thirty minutes if you really focus and play some rocking tunes.

Obviously, the “quickest” way for kitchen clean up is to clean things as they get messy. But, let’s be real. Sometimes things pile up. So find the quickest way to dig out and start digging!

If kitchen clean up (and being in the kitchen at all) is the bane of your existence…

then it may be time for a Kitchen Refresh. If the kitchen really is the heart of the home, how can you enjoy it more? How can you make your time in the kitchen feel like a simple, easy part of your day instead of absolute drudgery?

I’m not talking about remodeling. I’m talking about reforming your expectations of YOU AND YOUR KITCHEN.

cover of Kitchen Refresh planner

With Kitchen Refresh, you will

  • determine what your BEST in the kitchen should look like.
  • learn how to organize your kitchen in ways that best suit your lifestyle.
  • develop strategies and schedules for keeping your kitchen clean.
  • take your meal planning to the next level of deliciousness and economy.
  • learn to grocery shop more efficiently.
  • simplify your kitchen prep.

Kitchen Refresh is a planner to help you be YOUR BEST in the kitchen and offers the ideas and worksheets to help you make it happen day in and day out.

Easy Tips for Quick Kitchen Clean Up | Life as Mom

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Corrie at "Cents"able Momma says

    Great tips! My mom also microwaves her sponge and dishcloth for a few seconds to disinfect it. I always forget…and my microwave is currently broken.

  2. gerolami19 says

    My kitchen looked very much like that today- how nice to know I’m not the only one trying to dig myself out of the dishes some days!

  3. steph says

    I would have to change that “sometimes your kitchen gets to looking like this.” to pretty much everday my kitchen gets to looking like this. Aaahh! This weekend I was trying to tackle the grimy disgusting burners on the stovetop. Yes I tell myself that I am going to wipe them down on a regular basis because then food won’t be burnt on there for all eternity. However, after dinner other more urgent issues arise. So the mess in the kitchen carries on. Oh well I would rather make sure the kids have a bath and let the burners get grubby.

  4. FishMama says

    You got it, Steph! There’s more to life than clean burners. We can scrub those when we’re old!

  5. cooking like a frugalite says

    You have a beautiful kitchen! Thanks for sharing. Jennifer @ cooking like a frugalite

  6. shopannies says

    sounds like a great game plan thanks

  7. Jendi says

    Great advice!
    It is amazing how many non-kitchen things get in the kitchen.
    I’ve ceased to be amazed at Legos. They just get everywhere.


  8. Eli's Lids says

    Our dining room table is the place that gets piled up here… ug! I was going to do that today… now it is 4pm and I have to get dinner going for hubby’s return from work!

  9. Nikki says

    I cook 3-4 times a day, everyday. My kitchen is continuously messy but not dirty. I feel like there is a difference. We have 10 people and I’m starting to delegate different parts to keep it from being crazy. I think for me, the hardest part is all the random stuff that ends up in there! Toys, hair stuff, clothes?!, and tools. But I do a very similar systematic approach to getting it back under control. And it works until life calls me away!

  10. Busy Mom in Alabama says

    I do what I call the “crazy wash”. When I have a lot of pots to wash, I lay out a beach towel, yes a beach towel! Then mama washes as fast and as thoroughly as she can and rinses and stacks it on the towel. There is someone on the other end with a clean towel to dry and put away. We try to see how fast we can do it. LOL! I’ve gotten pretty quick at getting them cleaned the first time. :-). Makes it more fun to do it with my 11 year old son and he gets a kick out of watching mama! ?

  11. Patricia says

    I had to laugh out loud – because as I just came from doing dishes (partial) and wiping counters – it was FILTHY, FILTHY… and as I’m old and can’t stand for too long, I need to do it in stages – don’t have a dish washer – just me. I had a woman who came in and cleaned my kitchen and bathroom – but she can’t come anymore so I have to do it. Today I washed two sink loads of dishes, silverware, plastic containers – tomorrow I’ll was more dishes and pots and pans, Wednesday (storm day here) I’ll do the floor and stove. Then I will do as you say, I will keep it that way. It felt good to wash and scrub and wipe off part of the counters… By the weekend I’ll be caught up with everything. THEN the dreaded cleaning out of my refrigerator… maybe on Sunday – I’ll do it and then take the rest of the as REST… LOL – I wonder who does God’s dishes?

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