How To Clean Your Kitchen In 15 Minutes!

Yesterday I was interviewed for a feature article in the Gainesville Times Gazette newspaper. A lovely woman by the name of Brandee called and interviewed me for a few minutes about the post “How To Clean Your Bathroom Like A Pro”.

As a former reporter, it was kind of strange to be the one being interviewed, but it was fun too. And the whole experience reminded me that ever since that post, I have wanted to do a follow-up for the KITCHEN! But, since I’M NO EXPERT, I haven’t felt comfortable doling out that sort of advice.

Well, today I found a good source (Sarah Aguirre, Guide) that is definitely an expert, and whose “system” I really liked. As a matter of fact, I tried it out this morning on my kitchen (which was in a particularly MESSY state)…and it worked! Of course this won’t replace the inevitable need for deep cleaning, but it’s a great way to keep on top of the daily maintenance items so that you won’t have to do it as often…or as DEEP!

Here’s the rundown:

1. Gather all of your needed supplies together (listed below.)
Don’t underestimate the value of this step. Trying to find cleansers, dishcloths, sponges, etc. not only eats up time, but increases the risks of distractions that let you forget what you were working on in the first place. Gather all supplies together before you begin.

What You’ll Need:

Trash container.
Basket for stuff that does not belong in the kitchen.
Dish soap.
Other cleaners you normally use.
Dishrag or sponge.
Scrubber for stuck on food.
Broom, mop, or vacuum.

2. Run a sink of hot, soapy water.
If you have a double sink with a garbage disposal on one side, make sure to use the disposal-free side. Keeping the disposal side free will allow you to scrape leftovers down the drain quickly while you work.

3. Scrape off all the dishes into the trash or garbage disposal.
If step 2 has blocked your disposal, scrape the dishes off onto a dirty plate.

4. Place dishes that need to soak into the water.
Try to choose the dishes that are going to give you or your dishwasher the most trouble to get clean. Put the heavily soiled dishes on the bottom. Large dishes like pans and bowls can be filled with hot soapy water and set on the counter to soak.

5. While the dishes are soaking, go through the kitchen clearing out trash from your floor, countertop, cupboards, etc.
Don’t worry about things that are out of place, or don’t belong in the kitchen. Worry only about trash.

Photo: HGTV

6. Move on to gathering all the items that do not belong in the kitchen. Put all these items into a basket (see supplies).
If you have a helper (willing or unwilling) send them off to put away these items. Do not stop working on the kitchen to take these misplaced items to their homes.

7. Put away all of the items that belong in the kitchen but are not in their proper places.
Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by rearranging cabinets, drawers, etc. Simply place the items that are out back where they belong.

8. Load the dishwasher or wash by hand.
If you do not have a dishwasher or don’t like to use one, this process of cleaning the dishes may take more time. If possible grab a couple of other people and form a wash, rinse, dry and put away assembly line. Empty the dirty water and scrape the plate of food off into the disposal if it was previously blocked. Add the plate to the dishwasher.

9. Wash down your countertop, appliances, and sink.
Rinse out sponges and rags. If needed, put them in the dirty laundry. We’re not heavy duty cleaning here. I literally mean wash down the visible surfaces. Don’t open the microwave and scrub it out. We’re not cleaning the crumbs out of the toaster. Quickly wipe it down.

10. Sweep and mop, or vacuum.

Photo: Real Simple

11. Take out the trash
If the trash is full, or tomorrow is trash day, take the trash outside and reline the trash container so that it is ready for tomorrow’s trash.

Photo: Real Simple

One more thing…

Here is my ONE tip to add to this post. Running a sink of hot soapy water before food preparation is SO helpful. As bowls, cutting boards, knives, etc, become dirty, toss them in the sink to soak until you are done. This will prevent food from drying on the dishes and make clean up a lot easier!

Now go forth and CLEAN!  (You have 15 minutes!)

A lesson in speed cleaning is today’s…..

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  1. Robin McCastle says

    Love your cleaning tips! Just a word of caution: A sharp knife in a sink of soapy water is a safety hazard.

  2. Jane says

    These kinds of posts always make me feel inadequate. There is no way I could do all that in 15 min! It takes me a good 30 min just do dishes and wipe down counters/appliances. Probably another 15 min to do the floor. And that’s w/ help and w/o putting anything away (because I make the kids do that before I even start prepping dinner).

  3. Katie says

    I have been putting off cleaning my kitchen all morning…. :)
    Not dreading it so much now! Here I go!!! :)

  4. Kris Van Allen says

    No, Jane, it IS possible! I was happy to see this list, as this is the order and the steps that I do myself, and it really takes less time than you would think.

    If you just try it, I think you will impress yourself!

  5. Nancy says

    When the dishwasher is clean all of our dishes get put away right away. Then instead of dirty dishes going into the sink or on the cupboard they go staight into the dishwasher and no messes. Works great and save a lot of time!!!

  6. says

    From the time I started washing dishes, I ALWAYS put sharp knives in the sink with handle downward, point toward the faucet on the right side of the sink . ANd have never cut myself. Even my daughter would ask “is there a knife in the sink?” and when I said yes, she could put her hand in soapy water and pull it out.
    Habit, I guess. Same as when I make 2 (or more) cups of tea with different amounts of sugar, my cup is always on the right.

  7. Christina Renae says

    Thank you so so much. I don’t mind cleaning, but I am way too ADD to get anything done, because I never know where to start. You made it so easy for me to just clean my kitchen step by step. It looks amazing. Boyfriend couldn’t believe it when he got home.

    Now I just need a list for every other room in the house hahah.

  8. says

    Ok, I had 2 big problems since I don’t clean nearly as often as I should (working on that, it’s why I’m here!) First, I think for the first time ever I put every single thing in my kitchen away. No piles of stuff in one corner that would be put away later. I also realized that the junk drawer is full of things that have no place and I’ve been using that instead of finding a place for everything. Second, it took me 15 min to just clear the counters, that’s how overtaken they had become! It is my goal from here on out to do your 15 minute kitchen cleaning at least 3 times per week, then it should NEVER get to the point that is has been before. I am hoping I really can get it down to a 15 min clean-up and be done. Thank you! Do you do this routine daily?

  9. Jennifer says

    I used to have a huge problem with dishes. Even though I had a dishwasher, no one wanted to load/unload it and the dirty dishes would just pile up out of control. I bought the Dawn dish scrubber, the one where the Dawn/dish soap goes in the handle, and told everyone to do their dishes as they use them. It has worked so far, it’s so much easier to clean when you have the soap and scrubber right there, you don’t have to rearrange everything to fill the sink up with water and it’s really quick and easy. Every time I see a few dishes in the sink that someone forgot, I just wash them quickly and put them on a towel right beside the sink. I do put the dishes away eventually but a lot of times we just reuse them again anyway instead of getting more out of the cupboards! Jillee, I absolutely love your website!!! Thanks!


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