I HATE a messy kitchen! So I try to take immediate care of any messes as they happen… especially keeping dishes caught up. If I have lots of dishes to wash, I work on cleaning other areas of the kitchen while the dishes soak. I always use hot water. It’s a bad idea to try to save money by washing dishes in warm or cool water because the cooler water will not sanitize the dishes or completely dissolve any grease, and a greasy film will form on the dishes as they dry. Dishes washed and rinsed in very hot water will dry clear and spot-free by themselves… with no wiping necessary. (Plus you’ll save by not having the cost or effort of washing so many dish towels.)
Something else that I have found very helpful is that every evening I spend a few minutes cleaning up any messes that have accumulated during the day. Because I do this every night, it takes only a few minutes… and the rewards are huge because the kitchen ALWAYS looks clean.
First I concentrate on removing anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen. I use an extra laundry basket or a similar-sized container and gather up all the “stuff” that should not be in the kitchen. If I am in a real hurry to get the room looking more presentable (like company is coming in ten minutes), I put the basket somewhere out of sight and deal with it later. Otherwise, I take a few minutes right then and carry the basket with me as I move from room to room returning everything to its proper place.
I put everything that belongs in the kitchen back where it belongs. This includes dishes back in the cupboards, food boxes or containers back in the refrigerator or pantry… basically I take care of anything that is out of place.
I wipe over the refrigerator and other appliance surfaces with a soft cloth dampened with cleaning solution (or equal parts vinegar and water) to remove any dirt or fingerprints and “shine” the surface. I pay special attention to the stovetop, soaking burned-on food spills, then cleaning with soap and water and “polishing” with a dry cloth.
Once all the dishes are washed and put away, I use fresh hot, soapy water to clean the sink and wash off the countertops and tabletop.
I take care of the trash and recyclables, including clean liners if needed.
I sweep or vacuum the floor. If there are sticky spills, I wipe them up now.
Finally, I take a quick look around the room to see if anything looks messy or is out of place. If I find something out of order, I take care of it now.
It is so wonderful to wake up in the morning to a clean kitchen… especially with no dirty dishes piled in the sink. It’s a great start to a new day!