I am THE LAST person that is qualified to give anyone advice on how to keep a clean kitchen. Ask any of my college roommates or my husband and they will attest to the fact that I can dirty a kitchen in no time flat. My kitchen is a work horse and often looks like a war zone. When you cook three meals a day, there’s going to be some major damage that takes place. It’s just a fact. Side note: The above picture is my real kitchen. 1960s yellow paisley countertops and tile, orange-ish oak cabinets, and all original appliances. Yes, my friends, this is real. Don’t be jealous. 🙂
I’ve always had a bit of an allergy when it comes to dishes. I’ve never liked them. Who really likes to do dishes? I don’t know, but this girl HATES dishes. I despise them. They are indeed my nemesis. If I never had to wash another dirty dish in my life, I’d be a happy person.
In fact, when my husband and I got married, we had no dishwasher!!!! WHAT? HUH????? I can’t survive without a dishwasher! Oh the agony! I could feel myself crawling the walls with my overactive imagination picturing dirty dishes piled to the ceiling. We’d have our own leaning tower of dishes.
Make me scrub ten toilets, I don’t care, but PLEEEEEAAASE don’t make me wash all those dishes by hand. Call me lazy, that’s ok, but I pleaded with my husband for the sake of our marriage, to invest in a dishwasher. He was NOT going to like the woman he married without one in the house. He agreed, we scraped the money together and bought a lovely used portable dishwasher off of Craigslist that you have to roll over to the sink and hook up to the faucet. It’s nothing pretty to look at, but I tell you what, that sucker is a fantastic dishwasher. We’ve had it for almost nine years and it still works great.
But….I still have a dirty kitchen.
How could that be?
I believe it’s because I’ve developed some ugly habits in the kitchen area.
So while I’m not qualified to tell you how to keep a clean kitchen, I AM qualified to tell you exactly how to keep a dirty kitchen.
You see, in my weird twisted logic, I figured if I could pinpoint exactly why my kitchen looks like WWIII most of the time, then I could reverse those habits to teach myself how to finally keep a clean kitchen for the first time in my entire life.
Five Habits of a Dirty Kitchen
1. Use too many dishes
When I cook, I often use 2 cutting boards, 3 bowls, several skillets, knives, spoons, spatulas, whisks, measuring cups. You name it, I probably have it out, making a mess with it. Is there really a need to use all of those tools for one meal?
2. Don’t clean up spills right away.
When I’m in the groove or in a hurry trying to get dinner on the table before we have to run out the door, sometimes I get sloppy and spill something. Often times, I’ll make a mental note to clean it up when I’m done, but by then, the damage is dried and ten times harder to clean up.
3. Save the dish clean up for “later”.
When dinner is over, the last thing I want to do is clean up the dishes. I’m tired and I just want to veg or hang with my family. There’s only a couple more hours before my kids’ bedtime, and I’d much rather be spending it with my family than washing dishes.
4. Don’t clean as you go.
My mother in law keeps a sink of warm soapy water going while she cooks and cleans as she goes. I think this is smart but I’ve never done it. Dishes pile up and then I’m left with a giant overwhelming mess at the end.
5. Forget to do a daily run, unload, and load of the dishwasher.
If I miss one day for whatever reason, I’m toast. Cue out of control kitchen.
How I’m going to reverse these
1. Use fewer dishes.
This will probably mean more one pot meals, crockpot dinners, etc. The fewer dishes I use, the fewer I have to wash.
2. When I spill it, clean it.
There are always down times when cooking. When something is sauteeing, roasting, or baking, I can take a soapy rag and wipe up spills that may have accrued instead of letting them sit.
3. Immediately after dinner, clean up the mess with my husband and kids.
I figure if I get them involved, the process will go faster and we’ll still be together. Let’s face it, tomorrow I’m not going to feel like cleaning the kitchen either, and I’ll be down one less person in the morning as well. Better push up those sleeves and get to work!
4. Clean as I go.
Hopefully I can finally develop the habit of filling my sink with hot soapy water before I start dinner. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
5. Unload, load, run the dishwasher every single day.
It just has to be done. No excuses.
So that’s my plan. I’m going to try these steps for a month and see if I can develop a routine and habits that I can stick to so that my messy kitchen will be a thing of the past. Can this old dog learn new tricks? I sure hope so, otherwise I’m in big trouble.
While cleaning your kitchen, if you are looking for more non-toxic cleaning recipes for your home, I highly recommend Heather from Mommypotamus’ book, DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes (affiliate link). It is PACKED to the brim with every kind of cleaning recipe you would need. It includes the basics like mop solutions, all purpose cleansers, and laundry care, but also includes more in depth cleaning recipes like deodorizers and air fresheners, stain removal, leather care, metal polishing, scented dryer sheets, fabric softener, and wool dryer balls. I refer to this comprehensive e-book for all of my cleaning needs.