On busy weeknights, the last thing you want to do after dinner is clean up the kitchen and wash the dishes. Unfortunately, it’s important that these chores are taken care of, otherwise your kitchen can become a nightmare in no time. That doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a few tricks to make the process a little easier and less time-consuming though. The following six kitchen cleaning hacks can help you better manage your time, so that you can actually relax before going to bed.
1. Clean as You Go
The easiest way to expedite post-meal kitchen cleanup is to tidy your preparation areas and items as you work. For example, you can wash cutting boards and knives while your chicken and vegetable sheet pan dinner is roasting. Additionally, keep a microfiber cloth or dish towel handy so you can immediately tend to spatters and spills, as they’ll be more difficult to clean if you let them sit and harden. Cleaning as you go is also important because it helps you reduce the odds of cross-contamination occurring in your kitchen.
2. Regularly Wipe Items Down
Ketchup bottles, jelly jars and containers of vanilla or olive oil can all get pretty grimy over the course of a meal. And when that grime is left to sit, it congeals and can pick up dust and other gross gunk that makes its way onto countertops and shelves. Therefore, it’s a good rule of thumb to give these items a once over with a damp microfiber cloth before returning them to their rightful place in the fridge or kitchen cabinet. Take this kitchen cleaning hack one step further by quickly wiping down the shelves or surfaces where you’ll place these jars and bottles, too.
3. Embrace Plastic Food Storage Containers
Certain ingredients and foods can make a huge mess when left in their original packaging. Flour and powdered sugar can coat cabinets with fine dusts, while fruits or berries can leave refrigerator shelves riddled with stems and husks. Nip this mess in the bud by using plasticware to corral these food items. Label clear storage containers before filling them with flours, sugars, pastas or grains. Then, stow your fruits and veggies in labelled bins that can be easily washed when needed.
4. Organize Your Fridge, Cabinets and Pantry
An organized kitchen is a more efficient kitchen, and the less time you have to hunt for ingredients, the more time you’ll have left to clean as you go. Another benefit of maintaining an orderly kitchen is that you’re less likely to knock things over rooting through cabinets or the fridge, meaning you may have fewer messes to clean. The following tips can help you get your kitchen in order:
- How to Organize Your Refrigerator
- Take Control of Your Kitchen Cabinets with These 5 Organization Tips
- 5 Stellar Kitchen Organization Ideas
5. Learn to Love Liners and Trays
Liners and trays come in handy all over your kitchen as they can make spills easier to clean — and in some cases — eliminate kitchen cleanup altogether. Here are several ways you can simplify your life by using these items:
- Line baking or roasting trays with foil to minimize cleanup.
- Apply shelf liner to the insides of your cabinets so you can easily wipe up spills.
- Make easy-to-clean refrigerator shelf and drawer liners from plastic placemats.
- Store meat, poultry or seafood on a tray inside of your refrigerator so juices that run out don’t contaminate other foods. (Just make sure you clean that tray frequently.)
- Invest in reusable oven liners so you don’t have to worry about scraping off baked-on grime if the lasagna bubbles over.
6. Clean Dishes and Countertops Before Bed
If you clean as you go, dinner dishes really shouldn’t take longer than 10 to 15 minutes to wrap up, even if you’re washing by hand. And countertops only take a few seconds to wipe down with a microfiber cloth and some DIY cleaner. Go ahead and get that over with before you go to sleep. Or, if you have older children, make after dinner kitchen cleanup their nightly chore. Taking care of this task sooner than later will be well worth it when you don’t have to start your day with a sink full of dirty dishes and grimy counters.
Is your life so hectic that you barely have time to eat dinner much less cook it and clean the kitchen? It can be hard to maintain a daily housekeeping schedule while answering emails and making sure the kids have done their homework. If this sounds familiar, contact ASCC for some cleaning backup, so that you can come home to a cozy house and maybe even get a chance to relax.