sparkling clean kitchen sinkThe kitchen is the core of the home. It’s where we drop off our books and bags after a long day at work. It’s where we share our most personal secrets, our best (and worst) home cooked meals, and special occasions formal or informal, planned or spontaneous. The kitchen is the place to be, which is why it needs to be cleaned often.

Each night before I go to bed, I do a quick but thorough cleaning routine, making sure the germs from the day are wiped away and the kitchen is ready to tackle a fresh day’s crumby counters, sticky messes, and burnt on food. I usually begin this cleaning routine right after dinner while the kids are doing their homework and getting ready for bed.

I follow this routine religiously and my kitchen regularly looks like I spent hours cleaning it when, in reality, it only takes about 30 minutes each night. You can have similar results too, if you…

Do these 5 things nightly for a sparkling clean kitchen:

  1. Clear and clean the counters. Because the countertop is used for cooking, unloading groceries, placing mail, and storing appliances, it may harbor more germs than you think. The kitchen countertops are definitely one of the areas to clean often and after each use, most importantly before and after prep work for cooking. To reduce bacteria from harboring, be sure to clean and dry each countertop. A microfiber cloth, some warm water, a sprinkle of baking soda and some dish soap will keep any kitchen countertop safe and clean.

2. Wipe down the sink. The sink should be wiped down at least once each day. For copper sinks, simply wipe down with a microfiber cloth, warm water and some dish soap and us another cloth to dry the sink.

For stone sinks, add some lemon juice to dish soap and warm water. Clean with microfiber cloth and pat dry.

For stainless steel or porcelain sinks, sprinkle some baking soda in your wet sink. Use a microfiber cloth to scrub and an old toothbrush to clean around faucets and drain. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

NOTE: Never use acidic cleaners like vinegar or lemon juice on marble!

Don’t forget the cabinet beneath the sink. Wipe the cabinet door with vinegar and warm water. Dry thoroughly. Check inside since leaky pipes or small insects may be hidden from plain view.  Spot clean cabinet liners. Throw away spent sponges instead of saving them to prevent mold growth. Rehang kitchen gloves on small hooks placed inside the cabinet and stow the day’s plastic bags in an empty tissue box or plastic container.

3. De-gunk the stove and oven. Keeping the stovetop and inside the oven clean can be a breeze if you make a habit to wipe them down each night. The top of the stove can be cleaned the same way as the countertops, with warm water and dish soap. For tougher stains sprinkle on baking soda and gently scrub, rinse, and wipe.

After the oven cools, take a damp cloth and wipe the inside of the oven. Adding baking soda, warm water, and mild dish soap can help remove tougher stains. Just a quick wipe each night can reduce the “torture” of the seasonal deep oven cleaning that we do every four months!

4. Pantry patrol. Check the pantry, refrigerator and freezer for spills, open food boxes and containers nightly. It’s far easier to clean up a spill right after it happens than to find it a week later, after it has spread and dried over an entire shelf of food! Once again, warm water, dish soap, a dab of baking soda and a damp microfiber cloth can clean up any spill fast and easy. Making sure all cereal and snack boxes are tightly shut in the pantry will keep bugs and ants away.

5. Sweep the kitchen floor. It’s a must last thing each night to keep the dirt and dust to a real minimum. Mopping the floor each night is not needed, and who has time anyway? Just sweep with a good bristled broom, or vacuum on heavy days with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner to keep your home a lot cleaner.

Finding your own routine for tidying up your kitchen can save you time and energy in the long run. Start by figuring out which areas of the kitchen are important to you to keep clean and incorporate a quick and easy cleaning strategy that can fit into your busy schedule. Save the deep cleaning for another day and concentrate on just keeping your home germ-free, healthy and tidy.