One morning in college, after having dinner at a friend's house on Sunday, I was helping in the kitchen and doing what I was taught to do. The methodical steps drilled into me by my mom were so rote that they’d become second nature, even for an eighteen-year-old. I didn’t think anything of it until my friend said, “Wow, you really how to clean a kitchen!”
A few years later, I still clean my kitchen in the same way, and I am also teaching my kids to do so.
Here is my mom’s reliable 5-step kitchen-cleaning plan:
1. Clear the table.
This may seem obvious, but the key is to complete all operations at once. Place dirty dishes next to the sink or dishwasher, and put away all items that should be in the refrigerator or pantry.
Don't forget to wipe the edges of the condiments before replacing lids and ensure that each bottle and container is clean before putting them in the cabinets. Wipe each item quickly with a damp cloth.
End by wiping the table. Don't swirl the cloth around where you see dirty areas; you will definitely miss some. Wipe methodically to clean the entire surface of the table.
2. Do the dishes.
Put any and all dishwasher-safe dirty dishes in the dishwasher. You do not have to pre-wash, but you must remove the large pieces of food first. You don't want to keep anything on the dishes that will "bake on" in the dishwasher. Also: Do not load anything in a way that it will block the tap water to reach other dishes.
Next, wash all the remaining dishes by hand. This includes all knives, any plastic, pots and pans, and delicate or special items such as heirloom tableware. Use as hot water as possible. Put them on the dish drainer and let the air do the work.
3. Clean your stove top and wipe down your counters.
Now that your counter is neat and tidy, it is time to clean the kitchen surfaces. Clean the stove top if you used it. There are no shortcuts or workarounds! Clear the grates on the gas stove, remove all small debris, and then wipe it all clean. Next, wipe down the countertops. The same rules apply to your counters and table. Don't just wipe down the obviously dirty spots. Be organized and clean the entire surface.
4. Clean the sink.
Empty all food sink filters and drain covers. Pick up any cleaner you like and sprinkle it on the sink. Scrub with a dedicated brush to clean the sink. Rinse well.
5. Discard the trash.
Take out the trash. This is the last step in cleaning the kitchen. A clean, empty trash bag is the finishing trick to make a kitchen remain fresh and clean for the next day.
Use a touchless trash can. You may pick up bacteria every time you lift the lid to throw trash. A sensor trash can will automatically open its lid when sensing a wave of your hand. A totally hands-free and convenient option to add extra cleanliness to your kitchen.
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