Many people assume that if you are a stay at home parent or if you work from home, as I do, then you are bound to have a spotless home, with everything neatly in place. That is not always the case. When I visit my friends who work outside the home and have many other commitments, I am surprised to see how immaculate their homes look. No clutter in sight! Everything where it should be. Of course, this could be the result of a last minute clean up before company comes over. Rather than mention how to clean the whole house in 30 minutes or less, I am going to focus on the kitchen.
Reasons why the kitchen gets dirty so quickly
I believe that one of the most important rooms in the house to keep clean is the kitchen. Think about how often it is used to prepare food and then cook. Family members go into the kitchen to get a drink, some food or to look for something. If you have a cat or a dog, they may also like to wander into the kitchen. You may not allow them to walk into the kitchen or for cats to jump up onto the counter tops, but can you be sure that they stay on the ground during your absence? Have you ever wondered why you seem to find the odd cat hair on the counter top when you are so sure that the cat “never” jumps up there? It is realistic to assume that pets do break your house rules while you are gone. It is easy for them because they have no one there to tell them off! So the bottom line is, the kitchen will get dirty quicker than most other rooms because it is used so often.
To achieve a clean kitchen, do so in stages. First of all, wipe down counter tops each day, rather than waiting to do this once a week. This will help maintain a hygienic work surface each time you prepare food and will also catch any dust or pet hairs that may have built up over the week. Even a kitchen that looks clean, can be dirty. Make sure you wash dish cloths and tea towels daily. After several uses, they really need to be washed, rather than be reused for a few days. It is easy to forget, but try to use a different strategy that works for you. I put the tea towel off to one side so that I know it needs to be washed and I always keep clean ones stocked in two drawers so I will not run out.
It is best to deal with spillages as soon as they occur to prevent someone from slipping and hurting themselves. It will also help keep the floor clean. Depending on the type of floor you have in your kitchen, you should sweep and mop often. Even if you are not able to mop each day, then you can at least sweep up any debris to help maintain a clean and tidy floor. I’m amazed at how quickly floors get dirty, even though we do not wear shoes inside the house.
Ideally, you should clean the stove top each time you use it. Wipe it with a clean, non-abrasive cloth and wipe the top and bottom parts of it, to remove dust build up. Ovens can be done less often, depending on the need. Microwaves should be cleaned often as well. To remove food smells, heat up a cup of water with a few drops of lemon juice. This will neutralize food smells, leaving pleasant fragrance.
Clean the fridge on a regular basis. While you are doing so, check all food items to make sure they have not expired and throw away anything that has. Food that has gone off will not always smell bad. So maintain the hygiene of the fridge too.
The inside of cupboards can be cleaned less often than areas that are used on a regular basis. But keep the outside clean. Think of all the times you leave marks and fingerprints on the cupboards each time you open them, so bear this in mind when you clean.
Try to keep refuse away from food items and to empty bags on a regular basis. The bin will also need to be cleaned to remove dirt and to neutralize the smells inside it. The smell of rotting food can drift into the whole kitchen and this is not very pleasant.
Whether you have a dishwasher or you continue to wash the dishes by hand, try to keep up to date with this chore. It is easy to fall behind with this and then you have a large pile up before you. Load up the dishwasher and after the cycle has ended and the dishes are dry, put them away neatly. The same can be said for hand washed dishes. The overall appearance of a kitchen improves drastically if the dishes are put away.
Kitchens are not the place for clutter! One way to avoid this is to make sure that counter tops are free of clutter. Only place items that you will require on a regular basis on the counter tops, such as a coffee maker or spice rack. Do not leave bills or junk mail laying around in the kitchen. If you must have them in the kitchen, place them inside a drawer. So decide what you need to have out and find a place to store everything else, that is within easy reach.
So rather than worrying about cleaning the kitchen all in one go, try to break down the individual jobs that need to be done and look at them as separate tasks. That will help make keeping the kitchen cleaner and tidier.