There truly is nothing like a home-cooked meal, is there? Well, a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into preparing a hot, delicious meal for the family will leave you feeling more than grateful to the person who has cooked it! Along with the amount of preparation, time and energy that goes into cooking a family meal, the messy aftermath that needs to be dealt with post-eating can be pretty overwhelming.
Of course, the logical thing to do is keep your kitchen clean while you cook (as far as possible, at least); however, sometimes things get out of hand and order/cleanliness goes out the window! Nevertheless, when the system fails while cooking, that needn’t be the case when it’s time to clean up.
More often than not, people dread cleaning in any shape or form, simply because they don’t know where to begin. Particularly when it concerns kitchen cleaning, a well-structured plan or guide to follow is helpful in getting the job done in a systematic, time-efficient, and effective manner.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the lack of cleanliness and order in your kitchen, here’s our guide to tackling it (systematically) from beginning to end.
1. Clear All Surfaces of ‘Extras’
By ‘extras’ we mean anything that shouldn’t be left on a kitchen surface. From ingredients that belong in the refrigerator or cabinets, to spare kitchen tools that are to be stored in drawers; the first step to cleaning and organising your kitchen is to put things back where they belong. This includes clearing surfaces of items that don’t belong in the kitchen to begin with!
Apart from bringing in unwanted items, another common practice in many kitchens is to push things aside or simply put them on another counter or shelf to make space for a task like cooking or making a sandwich. This is typically the root cause of kitchen clutter which can very easily be avoided with a new practice – putting things away as and when you find them out of place.
2. Do the Dishes > Wipe Down the Sink
If you have a dishwasher, put your dirty dishes inside so that your kitchen sink is empty. In case you plan to clean your dishes by hand, it would be smart to leave them soaking in the sink for a bit while you finish up clearing surfaces around the kitchen (refer to step 1).
After you have taken care of the dishes and your sink is empty, give it a quick scrub with a sponge and some dish soap. This will not be the final cleaning of your sink so there is no need to spend too much time and energy in doing a thorough job. The goal here is to have a fairly clean kitchen sink so that you can fill it up (halfway) with warm water to make a soapy solution. Use a minimal amount of liquid dish soap to make the solution in your sink or basin (if you don’t have a sink stopper). This will be used to clean other areas and surfaces in your kitchen, as well as to rinse out cleaning tools when needed.
3. Clean the Stove + Chimney
For many, the stove and chimney (if you have one) require the most attention because of stubborn grease and food spills. In households where cooking is a daily task, you will find the mesh filters of an overhead stove chimney caked with grease, while the stovetop is covered in stains. Nevertheless, the cleaning solutions for these two crucial components are fairly easy if you follow the steps below:
- Remove the filter mesh.
- Pour liquid dish soap onto a sponge, dampen it, and wipe over the mesh to spread the cleaner around.
- Soak the mesh in hot water while you clean your stovetop .
- Once cooled down, remove the mesh, and clean it with a scrubber and dish soap.
- Rinse off and leave to dry or towel dry; replace thereafter.
- Mix one part white vinegar, three parts warm water, and a little dish soap; pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake well (before every use).
- Remove stove burners (if any) and soak in warm water.
- Spray the stovetop with your homemade cleaning solution and leave it to sit for five minutes.
- Clean with a non-abrasive scrub pad.
- Apply extra cleaner and spot clean stubborn stains.
- Wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove the solution.
- Dry with paper towels.
- If you’d like to buff your stovetop, do this using a little olive oil and a microfibre cloth after the surface has dried completely.
- Replace the burners once dry.
4. Wipe Appliances and Cabinets
The simplest way to clean the exteriors of kitchen cabinets and appliances is by using a store-bought or homemade all-purpose cleaner. It is not only effective in removing grease and stains, but also extremely convenient to use! A quick wipe down with a dust cloth and your choice of cleaning product will revitalise the exteriors of various components in your kitchen. Here is a list of kitchen areas you can clean using all-purpose cleaner:
- Cabinet and drawer exteriors + handles
- Refrigerator door + handle(s)
- Microwave exteriors
- Stove knobs + chimney hood
- Oven door + handle
- Bar stools or chairs (frame work only)
5. Clean Shelves and Tables
Shelves that hold spice bottles and kitchen tools tend to collect dust, while kitchen tables are prone to grease and stains from meal preparation. Therefore, kitchen cleaning is incomplete if any of these areas are overlooked.
Now, to go about these tasks in a systematic manner, here is what you need to do:
- Clear the shelves and tables using the kitchen counter to accommodate items for the time being.
- If the shelves have liners and the tables have cloths, replace them with fresh ones after you’ve finished cleaning.
- Wipe off dust from the surface with a rag before using all-purpose cleaner and a microfibre cloth to remove stubborn dirt and stains.
- After you’ve put fresh liners and cloths over your kitchen shelves and tables, finish off by wiping the contents to be placed back on them.
6. Give the Counters a Deep Clean
Kitchen counters and islands are exposed to bacteria from raw poultry, all kinds of spills, and greasy pots and pans. While a daily wipe down is necessary to keep your kitchen counter looking decent, a deep clean to sanitise and revitalise the surface is a must! For this, a quick, systematic process should be followed like the one below:
- Clean up any debris and crumbs by wiping the counter with a cloth or a mini, handheld broom and dustpan (these are perfect for sweeping up crumbs from coffee/dining tables).
- Mix equal parts water and white vinegar, and add a little dish soap to the solution; pour this into a spray bottle and shake well to mix the ingredients properly.
- Spray the counter generously and leave it for a few minutes.
- Use a scrubbing pad to remove grease and stains. If too much of the cleaning solution has evaporated before you can begin scrubbing, spray the counter again and start cleaning immediately.
- Wipe over the counter with a clean, damp towel to rinse off the cleaner.
- Dry the counter with paper towels to avoid water stains.
7. Scrub the Sink + Faucet
Before you drain out the sink, scrub it down thoroughly. Bear in mind that cleaning your kitchen sink should also include surrounding areas as things can get pretty grimy when dirty dishes are left lying around. Be sure to clean the faucet and other fittings by wiping them with a cloth dipped in diluted white vinegar. This ingredient is great for sanitising surfaces and removing hard water stains. Finish off cleaning your sink with a good rinse, followed by drying with a towel or paper towels.
8. Take Out Trash > Clean the Floor
Now that everything above knee-level (perhaps?) has been scrubbed, wiped, and cleaned, all that’s left to do is take the trash out and get your kitchen floor cleaned up. It’s not uncommon to have a sticky kitchen floor, especially if you’ve got kids that like to munch on snacks while on the move! For this reason, we find vacuuming to be more effective in cleaning the kitchen floor as opposed to sweeping. This is because dirt and dust tend to cling to sticky residues on the floor, leaving unsightly stains that require more effort to remove.
Nevertheless, you can get rid of stubborn stains and make your kitchen floor shine again with the help of a grease-fighting cleaning product and a microfibre pad mop. After you’ve mopped the floor, it helps to quickly dry the surface using a clean, dry mop. This ensures that no dirty footprints are left behind if a household member walks into the kitchen while the floor is still wet. It’s also advisable to spot clean spills or stains to avoid sticky kitchen floors altogether!
Although the kitchen may be one small room in your entire house, things can get pretty messy which, in turn, makes cleaning efficiently seem tougher than usual. To simplify your kitchen cleaning, it pays to know where to begin, where to end and, of course, everything in between!