Mothering Forum banner

Advice to cut down on kitchen clean up time?

1530 Views 24 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Ygle
I've been organizing/decluttering for a few months now, and I'm happy to say that in the rest of the house, there is no room that takes more than ten minutes to clean up at the end of the day. However, my dang kitchen seems to take a good 30-45 minutes to clean up, with washing dishes, wiping counters, and sweeping the floor. Does anyone have any tips to keep on top of it better so it doesn't take forever at the end of the night? (or worse, not get done and then I'm stuck doing it in the morning). I'm trying to wash things as we use them, but I also have a two year old and we eat pretty much every meal at home, so things pile up fast. I am home during the day while DH works, and then I WOH about 15 hours a week in the evenings, so sometimes the dinner dishes stay around for awhile. Thanks for any advice.
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
I was just thinking about this last night. My thought was that it just truly takes practice. The more you practice, the faster it takes.

I say this because I never had a "routine" for cleaning the kitchen--it just got done when I needed it to be clean because I wanted to cook, or when I was unnaturally motivated. I've been trying to get into the habit of cleaning it every night now. At first I was really discombobulated, going from one task to another without any real direction. Now I do things in a certain order, and I just feel more organized about doing it. It just took me awhile to get it down.

I'll be checking back to see what everyone else suggests.
Wash while preparing, before eating, after eating, just getting whatever amount done while you can -- starting washing isn't a commitment to wash everything. I have had nightmare dish pileups since my daughter was born, and just the past few days have made it a priority to get them done ASAP ... and what I've found is that a couple of minutes here and there really do make all the difference in the world, especially the ones spent while in the kitchen cooking anyway. Finding myself with five minutes worth of dishes at the end of the day instead of those from a couple of full meals has been very refreshing.

Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
Wash while preparing, before eating, after eating, just getting whatever amount done while you can -- starting washing isn't a commitment to wash everything. .
yeah that. My dishwasher needs repair and I am too cheap to repair it, so for several months we've been washing dishes in the sink. I find that it helps to always have hot soapy water in the sink. At least nothing is getting caked up.

When I cook, i try to clean as I go. Sometimes I get distracted by kids etc., but when I am done chopping, say, Itry to brush all the ends & whatnot into the compost bucket, and rinse the knife. As I use ingredients, I put them back in the cupboards. Or I try to.

I have dogs, so they are good for some fallen items. lol

Just keep swimming...swimming...
See less See more
Yeah, well, you've seen what's happened to my house in the last week.

I need to find another dog to rescue ASAP. I can't cope with this whole toddler "floor" issue. I mean, seriously, it's a wonder Jericho wasn't 500lbs.

Um . . . otherwise, we just try to keep up with the washing. I can get a lot done in five minutes. Those five minute breaks are hard to come by during business hours, but they add up after 5pm.

Oh, and DS likes to wipe the cabinets. Hand your DD a wet rag and set her to work on the cabinets, stovefront, or dirty spots on the floor.
Have as little as possible stored on the counters so you can easily wipe them down without having to pick up appliances etc. Always always do a quick wipe after cooking so you don't need to spend extra time on stuck on food.

Originally Posted by Fujiko View Post
I was just thinking about this last night. My thought was that it just truly takes practice. The more you practice, the faster it takes.
I've been cleaning kitchens for 20 years and it still takes me close to an hour.

I don't find that cleaning as I go saves me any time. It still takes as long at the end of the day. Picking up and packing the dishwasher as I go helps my mental state, but it takes just as long to open the dishwasher and put in the dinner dishes as it would to put in dinner dishes plus daytime stuff as well. I've tried it both ways, and with no dishwasher at all.

I think kitchens just take longer because they get dirtier and need to be cleaner. If DVDs needed to be washed after watching I'm sure the living room would be time consuming, too.
See less See more
the mind is a powerful thing.
Clean as you go is good, but I find it tough with little ones always trying to climb my leg while I prepare meals. However, I've started to do a few minutes of cleaning while waiting for my kids to put on shoes/wash hands/generally screw around instead of doing what I ask them.
I'm glad I found this thread. I thought there was something wrong w/ me b/c cleaning the kitchen --really cleaning it--always takes me about an hour.
See less See more
Hmmm, I cook and clean at the same time - just the dinner dishes to go in the dishwasher and start it. I did chuck anything that couldn't be machine dishwashed *Except my Knives*. They get washed right after I use them, no matter what and back on the magnetic rack. I have a bowl with soapy water in it for my sponge as I'm cooking.
Even cleaning start to finish with the mopping takes 15 minutes. Perhaps it's my tiny galley kitchen? Or lack of stuff on the counters? Or medium standards?
My suggestion is just to make yourself do everything immediately. I have a 2 & 4 yr old (& 1 on the way) so I understand the snack/eating all day thing. I wash every dish, wipe every counter, unload the dishwasher, etc. immediately or before I allow them to have another snack. It is a pain at times, but I do not tend to let things stack up like I used to and then it took a long time to clean and was overwhelming for me. I keep a foaming soap pump with 1 part dish soap and 3 parts water to wash dishes. One squirt on a wet cloth and I scrub the few dishes, rinse, dry and put the up in minutes. I really consider clean up a part of every snack - you have to prepare it and you have to clean it up. My girls get one sippy cup out at a time. If they loose it in the house then they have to find it to get more drink usually. If we want something to eat, then the previous snack dishes have to be completely cleaned up, it is just the new house rule.
It's sad but I try to think of my kitchen cleaning time as relaxing. I hand off my clingy, velcro baby to dh and clean the kitchen. It's amazing how some things become enjoyable when you don't have a whiny baby in your arms.
It's easy. Make your teenagers clean it!
: Then it only takes me a minute to go over what they have missed. That and keeping the dishwasher empty so everyone can put the dirties in as they go.
See less See more
We just finished the after dinner clean up so I have a fresh report from the field.

Before we sit down to dinner the dishwasher has been emptied of clean dishes and any extra dirty things in the sink are rinsed and put in the machine. The empty dishwasher gives the washer a fresh start, which is good for morale. And the kitchen counters are kept clean throughout the day most days. I clean the dinner prep mess while dinner is cooking and one of the kids sets the table.

After dinner but before desert one of the older two loads the dinner dishes in the dishwasher while the other takes out the trash, recycling and compost. DD helps whomever she chooses.

I help the dish washer by prepping the cooking dishes and anything really messy. Then I wash down the dinner table and sweep the floor. We all work about 20 minutes and everything is done. (Dh is away or he would help. When he's home we sometimes just get the kids started and retire for a coffee in the living room. Well, we did that three times to date, but it was lovely).

After the kids are alseep the dishes are clean so I empty the dishwasher--great for morale in the morning--and do any last minute clean ups.

When it works it works beautifully, but it works like this only about 50 percent of the time. Nights we have activities I do the kitchen when the kids are in bed. And it does indeed take 30-40 minutes. I listen to a book on tape or NPR and it isn't horrible.

My cabinet fronts need cleaning. I think DD would love to take on that job in the morning.
See less See more
Also fresh from the that phrase, here is our method:

DH, DD (age 8), and I all participated in cooking dinner. Simultaneously, we all three emptied the dishwasher and DD set the table for dinner. Then, we put dirty dishes into the dishwasher. After we finished eating dinner, DD fed the cat, DH put food items away, they both loaded their own dishes into the dishwasher, and I put my own dishes in and then hand-washed the pots and pans from dinner and wiped down the counters, stove, etc. DD shook out the placemats and DH took out the recycling.

From start to finish (preparing, eating, and cleaning up dinner), it was about an hour - maybe less.
I try to make sure there is no "dead" time in the kitchen. So for example I will rinse recycling or wipe down a counter while waiting for the kettle to btoil. Even though it's only a couple of minutes each time it seems to help.

Also making sure the dishwasher is emptied in the morning means I can put things in it as I use them and run it as soon as it is full. Otherwise I come to load it and find I have to much stuff to fit.
This is a brilliant thread. I think back to it a lot when I'm making dinner:
Wash while preparing, before eating, after eating, just getting whatever amount done while you can -- starting washing isn't a commitment to wash everything.
That. We load the dishwasher as dishes get dirty and I run it in the morning as I walk out the door. Unload as soon as I get home. Then I wash the stuff that doesn't go in the dishwasher (coffee pot, pans, etc). I usually wash while I'm cooking and clean up the dirty dishes as soon as we're done eating.
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.