Few people actually enjoy all the tasks that fall under the umbrella of cleaning the kitchen. In addition to doing the dishes it’s a million other tiny things that need to be put away, wiped down, discarded, composted, recycled, and swept or dusted. It’s an avalanche of tiny chores that can sometimes feel so overwhelming it’s easier to just not do them at all.
But what if there was a way to get some of them done, some of the time? Give yourself a break from the pressure to tackle every task every day. Tackling a few of those chores on some days will help you end up with a kitchen that’s cleaner overall in the long run.
So if the thought of cleaning your kitchen fills you with dread, here’s tiny things you can do to get a cleaner kitchen in a “microwave minute.”
The fridge and freezer
1. Throw out any expired food in your fridge
Because there’s nothing worse than pulling out a container of something so green and moldy you can’t even remember what it used to be.
2. Make sure everything in your fridge door is standing upright
Pick a shelf in a cupboard and turn all the ingredient labels so they’re facing forward.
3. Use masking tape to label any containers of leftovers
Bonus points if you add the date you made them!
4. Reorganize your cheese drawer
Whether or not you actually keep cheese in it. These shallow, deep fridge drawers are good at hiding stuff you forgot you had. Take a minute to reshuffle and familiarize yourself with what’s inside.
5. Find the oldest thing in your freezer and throw it out
Admit it, you’re definitely never going to use it!
The sink area
6. Wipe down your kitchen sink faucet
And the inside of the sink basin. Just because it’s where you clean other things doesn’t mean it doesn’t also need the occasional scrub too.
7. Treat the drain to a baking soda and vinegar bath
Dump 1/4 cup baking soda down your sink drain followed by a slow pour of 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar. (Do something else for 15 minutes, then pour tempting hot water down the drain to clean it out.
8. Clean the spot where you keep your sponges
Bonus points for replacing your sponge if it’s filthy (it perhaps is).
9. Scrub down that particularly stubborn pot you left to “soak” in the sink last night
We all do it. No shame in the soaking game. But this is your chance to get it out of the sink and off your mind in 60 seconds. You can do it!
Counters and surfaces
10. Sweep under the counters
Onion and garlic peels love to hang out there. Gross.
11. Wipe the counter under your jar of cooking utensils
It’s easy to forget to clean under things when they never move. You don’t need to do this often, but it’s good to take 30 seconds every now and then to pull it out of its spot and clean underneath it.
12. Change over your kitchen towels
Toss your dirty kitchen towels in the laundry hamper and hang some clean ones.
13. Wipe the area above the stove to get rid of grease and oil buildup
It’s not just the microwave that gets covered in grease if you have a stove hood or cupboards above your stove it needs to get a quick scrub down every now and then too.
14. Kitchen storage and organization
Layer your pots and pans from biggest to smallest
I hate this task because it’s always so loud but you’ll feel so much better knowing that next time you need a small pan it won’t be buried under 5 other heavy ones.
Besides, 60 seconds of controlled loudness to get them nested is better than the unpredictable cacophony that happens when you dislodge a small pan out from the bottom and the rest come toppling out like you’ve just lost the worst game of Jenga, hahaha ok this isn’t funny!
- Exfoliate the top of your wooden cutting board
Sprinkle the surface with a tablespoon of coarse salt and use the cut side of a lemon to remove any stains. Wipe clean when you’re done and rub the surface with a food-grade mineral oil to keep the wood hydrated and prevent cracks.
- Put any stray spice jars back where they go
True story: One time I found a jar of oregano leaves in the living room. It did not belong there!
- Throw out one spice or herb that you haven’t used in years
Most dried spices and herbs will stay good for 3 to 4 years, so if you’ve been carting the same small jar of marjoram from apartment to apartment for half a decade or more… you have my permission to toss it. (By all means keep the jar to store other things.)
Eat the last cookie
Yeah, the one you’ve been saving for whatever reason. It’s taking up space. It’s delicious. You know you want to eat it. So eat it! Enjoy it! Life is short and your kitchen will be exactly one cookie cleaner.