Make Short Work of Cleanup in the Kitchen

Which kitchen activity landed in the Top 20 of a recent survey of America’s most disliked household chores?

Doing the dishes.

It’s no surprise.


As Rare as A Rainbow-Colored Unicorn

People who love to clean after cooking are as rare as a, I don’t know, perhaps a rainbow-colored unicorn.

But the harsh reality is cleaning up is a necessity.

So how do you make short work of cleanup in the kitchen so that you can linger longer at the table?

Here’s the secret: Cleanup actually begins when you’re cooking.


Four Tips for Making Short Work of Cleanup in the Kitchen

Here are my four tips for making short work of cleanup in the kitchen.

1. Clean as you go. Dirty dishes are not a badge of honor. Wash that sheet pan, rinse that bowl and put it in the dishwasher, wipe up that spill right away. Keep a broom in corner of the kitchen to whisk away dropped crumbs from underneath your feet. Clean as you go is one of the first rules of the road new cooks learn in commercial kitchens, and it will transform your kitchen experience as well.

2. Air-dry hand-washed dishes. Save yourself some effort and let the natural process of evaporation dry your hand-washed dishes. Set aside a small space with a drying pad or a drying rack to contain these items. I stack mine in the smaller compartment of my sink; it’s my clean sink. Science tells us that air drying is more sanitary than drying your dishes with a towel.

3. Handle it once. Got a dirty dish? Don’t set it aside where it takes up room. Either hand-wash it or rinse it and put it in the dishwasher. This circles back to my first tip, clean as you go.

4. Start clean, end clean. Sparkling countertops and a debris-free stovetop will beckon you to your kitchen. To start this way, you have to end this way. Always wipe down your stovetop after cooking. And Keep a pantry of helpful cleaning products under the sink. A good degreaser is a must-have.

While keeping a clean kitchen may never be at the top of your “I love it” list, with these tips it’s certainly more of a reality than a rainbow-colored unicorn.

White plate with a sage colored napkin lying the center tied twine and adorned with a single sage leaf. The plate is sitting on a wooden table with a fork, a glass, and a white bowl.

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