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, About.com 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:
Basket for stuff that does not belong in the kitchen.
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.
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.
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.
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!