Do you have a clean kitchen?
When we get overwhelmed it’s easy to let the house go, especially the kitchen. After all we’re often in the kitchen all day. First it’s breakfast, then teach kids math, then lunch, then the science experiments, and finally dinner. No wonder the kitchen get’s skipped in the evenings!
Don’t. A clean kitchen is the secret to getting life back under control.
As homeschoolers, it’s vital to have a clean kitchen.
First there’s the whole question of sanitation. The kitchen breeds germs and bacteria. Reports claim that the kitchen sink can be more filthy than the toilet. EWWW!
Then there’s crumbs on the counter, cleaning the cutting boards, and plates that will mold and run away if left for too long. Ugh.
Let’s just not go there.
The kitchen is also where we feed our family. We serve breakfast, make lunch, and cook dinner in the kitchen. It’s the heart and soul of the house.
When the kitchen is filthy, cooking turns form a simple chore to a horrible task as we search for clean pots and pans, clean dishes, and clean utensils.
Homeschooling happens in the kitchen for many families, especially those of us without a dedicated homeschool room.
We sit down with the kids to run through math at the kitchen table. Kids use the kitchen table for science experiments, history projects, and creating masterpieces of art.
The kitchen is the hub of the family, so let’s get the kitchen clean.
1. Plan for dinner
You’re not going to want to cook a 3-course meal after scrubbing the kitchen down. Make plans for dinner now. Plan to order pizza delivered to your doorstep, through an easy meal into the crock-pot, or ask your husband to pick up take-out on the way home.
Plan dinner now. You’ll thank yourself at 5pm.
2. Wash dirty dishes
Let’s face it. When a kitchen gets out of control, the usual culprits are mounds of dirty dishes. Dishes are left from breakfast this morning, dinner last night, and that midnight snack some teen enjoyed.
Pots fill the sink. Pots clutter the stove tops. Pots and pans are haphazardly tossed about the kitchen.
Let’s get those dishes clean! If you have a dishwasher, load it and start it humming merrily along.
If not, fill the sink with soapy water. Toss all glasses and silverware you can find into the sink to soak while you enlist your kids to help. Even my 4 and 6 year olds can dry and put away silverware, plastic glasses, and measuring cups.
An easy order for hand washing dishes is:
- Cups and glasses
- Silverware and measuring utensils
- Plates (if they’re congealed, let them soak for 5 minutes or so in the soapy water first)
- Pots and Pans
Generally the idea is to wash from cleanest items to dirtiest items. It helps you keep from either making the cups super filthy or having to change the water every few minutes.
So wash, dry, and put away all the dishes, pots, and pans lying around the kitchen.
3. Wipe down counters and table
Once you have a handle on the dishes, pots, and pans, it’s time to wipe down the counters and table.
Congealed spots can be tackled with salt (it’s an awesome grainy substance that grinds away gunk) or left soaking in a small puddle of water for a few minutes.
Spraying the counters and table with kitchen cleaner works really well too. Wipe everything down and take a look around you.
The kitchen should be looking much better.
4. Clean the stovetop
Before you scream, there’s actually a method to my madness. Stove fires often start as a result of a filthy stovetop. Grease builds up. Pancake drippings are everywhere. Eventually something catches fire and poof! The stovetop is in flames.
Clean the stovetop before that happens.
As you begin, toss any drip pans into the sink to soak. Then carefully (often stovetops have delicate surfaces) soak, scrub, and clean the stove top.
5. Clean the fridge
Chances are, if you became overwhelmed, the fridge is a mess. It’s not just dirty with spilled milk or juice. It’s also full of moldy leftovers, rotting vegetables, and weirdly colored sour cream.
While we’re tackling the kitchen, clean the fridge. Toss anything that’s questionable in the trash. Get rid of that weirdly colored sour cream and don’t even consider keeping it for a science experiment!
My preferred method is to empty the fridge onto the kitchen table, pull out the shelves, and wash them in the sink. Then I wipe down the inside of the fridge, put the shelves back, and return all good and edible food to the fridge.
Everything else gets dumped. Seriously, you can plan for moldy sour cream experiments later. Right now you’re cleaning the kitchen.
6. Clean the sink
Now that we’re through cleaning everything under the sun, or at least it feels like it, it’s time to clean the sink.
There are a couple ways to go about it. First you can fill the sink with water. Next dump a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of bleach into it and let it soak for an hour.
Check your dish soap first though. I once used a dish soap that included ammonia. And you know, never ever ever mix ammonia and bleach.
You can also use baking powder and vinegar to clean a stainless steel sink. Don’t use an abrasive cleanser on it though, you’ll likely ruin the finish.
My ceramic sink shines when I use Clorox, an abrasive cleanser that includes bleach. I scrub the sink, let it sit for a few minutes, scrub again, and rinse it off. It keeps the sink clean.
Periodically I do fill the sink with water, toss a cup of bleach in, and let it soak. The sink always looks so much cleaner when I’m finished. It’s also a great time to clean water bottles as well. Just toss them into the sink to soak in the bleach water.
7. Sweep the kitchen
Give as thorough of a sweeping as you can. As I’m always telling my kids, sweep under the table. Sweep up all those crumbs and drippings from last night’s dinner.
8. Take out the trash
By now the kitchen trash should be full and rather odorous. Empty it!
What you are not to clean
We’re just getting the kitchen under control so the family can enjoy cooking, eating, and homeschooling in the room. You can produce 3-course meals and enjoy the process. So let me tell you what we’re not doing today:
- Alphabetizing the spices. Seriously, don’t even consider it.
- Wiping down the outside cabinets. I’m certain it needs to be done, but now isn’t the time.
- Rearranging the pantry. Save it for a Saturday or deep cleaning day.
- Cleaning under the stove and fridge. Not now.
- Cleaning light fixtures
- Scrubbing under the sink
- Emptying all the cabinets and scrubbing the shelves
We’re not giving the kitchen a deep cleaning, all we’re doing is getting it back under control. Back under control so we can enjoy cooking for our family. We have a place to homeschool our kids. We can say yes to those science experiments and art projects.
Now that you have a clean kitchen, enjoy an easy meal tonight and don’t sweat breaking out the paper plates! You deserve a relaxing evening after all your hard work. Just double check your clean kitchen before going to bed.
You’ll wake up to a clean kitchen tomorrow!