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9 easy steps to maintain a clean kitchen

It’s that time of the evening when you have just finished dinner and wanting to relax, but the kitchen is filled with dirty dishes that need cleaning.  Do you clean them after dinner, before you go to bed or the next day?  We each have our own preference. When the kids were babies I used to do them the next day as I was just so tired after dinner.  Now I prefer to do the dishes directly after dinner as I like waking up to a clean kitchen and if I left it any later I know I would have the ‘I can’t feel bothered’ feeling, so for me the best time is as soon as we finish dinner.

I find if I start the day with a messy kitchen, I am starting the day with a messy mindset. Below I have shared my 9 easy steps to maintain a clean kitchen, this may help you to create a new routine to control the mess in your kitchen.


9 easy steps to maintain a clean kitchen

I mentioned above that I prefer to wake up to a clean kitchen, it’s because I am a messy cook and when I make dinner I use every pan and bit of bench space available. You can see why waking up to this mess would drive me a little crazy, no room to make breakfast or prepare lunches.


This is how I maintain a clean kitchen:

  1. I only do the dishes once a day.  Life is too short to be washing dishes more than that, I have better things to do.  I don’t mind dirty dishes piling up in the sink through the day, waitingfor the evening clean.  I do however, pack the dishwasher through the day as dishes are used.
  2. Straight after dinner I start cleaning the dirty dishes. I wash all pots, pans, cutting boards, Tupperware, lunch boxes and drink bottles. Then place remaining dishes such as crockery, cutlery, cups etc into the dishwasher.  I do place casserole dishes in there too if there is room, read more about packing dishwasher here.
  3. Clear away the clutter left on the kitchen bench. Your bench will not look tidy until all clutter is removed.  I have a basket where I place all the clutter like kids toys, books, paper…stuff they leave around the house.  The kids clear the basket each night and put their belongings away.  I don’t put it away as they need to take responsibility for their own things.
  4. Wipe over the bench using homemade all purpose cleaner, clean the dining table and every day or second day wipe over stools removing any spills of foods.
  5. Empty sink.  Squirt all purpose cleaner onto sponge and wipe over the sink to make it sparkle clean!
  6. Turn on dishwasher.  Every few days I place all sponges into the dishwasher, this is to clean and disinfect the sponge.
  7. I don’t dry dishes.  I allow them to drip dry overnight and then I put them away in the morning when I am waiting for the kettle to boil for my morning cuppa.
  8. The kids unpack the dishwasher the next day. They have unpacked the dishwasher since the year they started school, it’s good for them to take responsibility and help around the house.
  9. Then I place all breakfast and lunch prep items into the empty dishwasher and wipe over kitchen bench.

All done! It only takes 15 minutes in the evening to tidy up after dinner, then I can rest and relax for the remainder of the evening.

yellow dividerCleaning Checklist

A cleaning checklist which includes daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual tasks.  This checklist will help you remember cleaning tasks and create a routine to suit the time you have available. SEE MORE ABOUT CHECKLIST HERE.

{The Organised Housewife} Cleaning Checklist - Design 2 - 5

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How to clean the Dishwasher

Our dishwasher is used once a day.  It usually cleans our breakfast dishes, dinner plates, cups, mugs and cutlery.  With all this there isn’t enough room for anything else.  However after time the dishwasher itself gets a little grotty and needs a good clean. READ HOW TO HERE.

How to clean the dishwasher

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Tasks to do Chart

My kids have been helping around the house for years.  It first started because they wanted to help me unpack the dishwasher and set the table, then there was fighting about who was going to help (lol, I wish that was the case now).  So I created a responsibility chart to stop the squabbling and I really enjoyed the kids taking responsibility and helping me around the home.

I write down the tasks, then in the circle I put one of my kids initials under each day of the week.  So the tasks are spread out amongst each of the kids. CHART AVAILABLE HERE IN RANGE OF SIZES AND COLOURS.

{The Organised Housewife} Organised Pantry Door - Task To Do Chart


Make your benches and sink sparkle EVERY NIGHT before you go to bed so you rise to a beautiful clean kitchen, your day will be so much better for it.

This post was originally published 24th August 2010, it has since been updated and republished.

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  • […] Make your bench and sink sparkle each night […]ReplyCancel

  • […] The Organised Housewife […]ReplyCancel

  • Thanks for the tips, from your various posts you are really organised and these little steps more often keep things clean and less effort involved in cleaning each time. I'm making a comment because I'm concerned about Spray and Wipe being used so often in an area where food is ingested by your family, in the kitchen and the dining area. If not for the environment I would like to urge you, as a stranger, to make the change to vinegar, for the health of yourself and your kids. The residual chemicals left behind after wiping it on the bench, in your sink and around where you eat might build up, and still be present when your kids put food down when you are not looking. I randomly won a Bosistos box of goodies a number of years ago and noticed they are a sponsor for you to speak at the 2011 Bloggers Conference. Perhaps they could give you a few products to try and review too? I used they spray oil on lots of stuff. If you are delaying the change for a feeling that the vinegar won't do as good a job there is also a product called Orange Power which is a natural cleaning spray. Citrus oil is really good at breaking down dirt and I use it at home and feel sage knowing it isn't dangerous to us. It could be a good transition product? Sorry for the long comment, I am going to subscribe to your blog and watch our lives change with organisation however needed make the comment about the Spray and Wipe. ReplyCancel

    • Katrina

      Hi Ann, thankyou so I am so happy to read your comment doesn't matter how long it is. I completely agree with you and I soon hope to transition over to a green home using vinegar, I will do it soon I promise :) Bosistos have sent me a great pack of goodies which I will be blogging about soon, I am loving their laundry powder. I am so glad that you are enjoying the website. Love hearing comments, keep them coming :) ReplyCancel

      • Jeanette Anderson

        great response from careful with some of the ‘natural oils’…they are often highly fragranced (particularly citrus oil…dlimonene) and can trigger asthma; strong perfume/odours are a major trigger for asthma

      • An alternative to store purchased ‘green’ cleaners is to get a large glass canning jar. Keep all your peelings from lemons/oranges/limes and keep in the fridge. Once the jar is full, fully cover contents with white vinegar. Let sit for 2-3 weeks before useing… and strain it before placing in your spray bottle. Natural cleaner at a fraction of the cost, and a fraction of the chemicals!ReplyCancel

      • Denise Cavanough

        Katrina, I so love there washing powder as well , I also use the eucalyptus spray as a disinfectant for bedding, pillows and so much more.ReplyCancel

    • Kirsten b

      I use lemon oil and water all through the house. If you look up neatfrreak on Facebook, she is brilliant for natural products.. Lemon oil does everything from kitchens to bathrooms to woodwork. Brilliant!! And when you get hot cleaning, you can spray it on your face!! :)ReplyCancel

      • Kate - Kat's Assistant

        Love natural products too.:) Lemon oil? i haven’t heard of that i will have to give it a try.ReplyCancel

  • Tanya

    How LOVELY to read! I very very much love to see how other people keep their homes, i like to hear you dotn wash every cup and dish as it apears and that you do one big lot at night….and i agree less clutter makes it look MUCH better where ever in the house you are :) You are a fresh breath of air for me…i very much need the inspiration..Thank you xox TReplyCancel

  • Jodie

    OK I am starting from the beginning :) I have my work cut out for me 😛ReplyCancel

  • Hi, I found you via Beyond the Baby. I wanted to comment on two things in particular.

    I don’t have a dishwasher and don’t like the clutter on my sink from all the little things used during the day. I place a large plastic basin under my sink and when a tea cup is used or such it is rinsed then placed in the basin under the sink. When the basin is full it is time to do a sink load.

    Another thought is that leaving your dishes to air dry may not be a good idea if there is a chance of any little puddles. I end up with cocky poo on my dishes if there any puddles for them to visit. Gross! Dishes get dried and put away straight away here. Guess it depends on your house and climate though. I am in a 100 year old house in northern NSW so it is warm enough to cockroaches to be prolific especially in summer.

    Best wishes

  • […] 1.  Let your dishes air dry over night […]ReplyCancel

  • Bronte

    You should try the Eureka Eucalyptus and citrus spray…smells so nice and doesn’t have any harsh chemicals, cleans up grease, helps with stubborn stains, disinfects surfaces…I love it.ReplyCancel

  • Emmatipper

    Hi Katrina. Save yourself even more time (and money) and use Enjo fibres instead.ReplyCancel

  • Jo

    Can I ask a dumb question? Did you say you put your sponges into the dishwasher? Do they not fall apart? And if not which ones do you use as I am sure mine would. Also I am interested in the vinegar alternative. Do you know what the ratio is?
    Thanks ReplyCancel

    • I use home brand sponges from woolworths and they don’t fall apart in the dishwasher. In the kitchen you can use pure vinegar in a spray bottle using a fine mist, or you can dilute if you would like 1 part vinegar to 1 part water.ReplyCancel

  • Jeanette Anderson

    hi there…try not to use sponges (they are highly unsustainable; meaning they disintegrate quickly…stock up on half a dozen good microfibre dishcloths..and you can wash and polish dry with your fibres)…and a green alternative is good because you don’t have to ‘spray, wipe and rinse off with warm water’ which is often in the fine print on the chemical spray and wipes…vinegar is a good alternative and of course my product; the Nature Direct Spray and Wipe…it’s one of our most popular concentrates! Happy cleaning!ReplyCancel

    • Microfibre clothes are a great idea Jeanette, yes since writing this post I have transitioned over to using vinegar, I need to write about it soon.ReplyCancel

  • Denise Toomey

    Hi Katrina, love reading your blog and all your tips – you really are an “organised housewife”!!! There are so many ideas and products around now for green cleaning but I’d like to share mine anyway. I have 2 spray bottles under the sink that I make up myself – one is equal parts water and metho (I buy the purple metho – it looks nice when made up in the spray bottle – with a teaspoon of water soluble lavender oil (approx 1 litre in total) for cleaning benches, stove top and sink, and glass table tops and the other is simply 1 litre of water with 1 teaspoon of water soluble lavender oil for my ironing spray. This is just magic. Lavender is well known as a calming and relaxing oil when used in oil burners but it also seems to relax fabric!! Just spray garments lightly prior to ironing for a beautiful finish. I recently surprised my niece when helping her with her housework with this little trick – she hadn’t had time to iron her doona cover so I said just put in on the bed, spray it with the lavender and water mixture and then smooth it out with your hands. She was amazed as all the wrinkles just disappeared – no ironing necessary. And everything smells so lovely. Some garments I just spray with the lavender and water and give a good shake and hang them and they don’t even need ironing. You do need a spray bottle that sprays a nice fine mist though so fabric is evenly moistened without becoming too wet. Cost wise it is extremely economical. Anyhoo, just wanted to share my tips for a change as I am always reading yours. Denise xx (PS The credit for this must be acknowledged as it is one of Shannon Lush’s – another cleaning guru)ReplyCancel

    • I love this tip, ooh the Lavender would definitely make the home smell beautiful. May I ask, where do you find the water soluble lavender oil? ReplyCancel

      • Cakebaker

        Eureka make a water soluble lavender oil…..I presume Chemist or health food shops would stock it.ReplyCancel

      • If you mix the oil with a little metho first, that acts as an emulsifier so it mixes in with the water when you add it :)ReplyCancel

    • Cakebaker

      Oooh this is the tip I was talking about on another comment…Shannan Lush’s ‘no ironing’ tip…from memory she talked a out buying the cheapest Lavender oil is that right?….

  • Narelle

    Thanks for the great tips. My kids dry the dishes as part of their weekly chores, and depending on the constituants of the wash up my oldest will often do the washing up also, minus any sharp objects. Vinegar is great for cleaning, I use it all the time. I like the tip about the basket for the kids things. I think I will use that, and not just for the kitchen. Thanks again.ReplyCancel

    • That’s great to get the kids involved, would be such a great help to you!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn

    Thank you for this post. For some reason it has given me an “I’m doing okay” feeling as this is exactly what I do. Why waste time wiping up when the dishes can drip dry!? It would be even better if hubby did them though! hahaha
    I read all your posts and find time to do some but not others, and I’m okay with that. Maybe when the kids are at school, I will find more time to do all the tasks etc. Love your work. ReplyCancel

    • That’s right, just find the tasks that suit you and that’s a great start Kathryn. Also tea towels harbour germs, so it’s much better for our dishes to drip dry. ReplyCancel

  • Rachel

    I wash my dishes at night and leave in dish rack overnight then put away in morning and start all over i dont have a dishwasher ,would like one but that would mean im one cupboard down.ReplyCancel

    • I have a dishwasher, but find that I still wash every night, yes it would be hard to give up one cupboard. I am wanting a larger oven and would have to give up one, which is why I am putting it off.ReplyCancel

  • Josie Brady

    I just want to point out that vinegar is an acid, and could be damaging to bench tops. It is excellent for removing soap scum, a tip I learned from my builder brother.ReplyCancel

    • Kate - Kat's Assistant

      Thanks Josie, i have caesar benches and i don’t use vinegar on them but find it fantastic for everything else in the house especially the toilets.:)ReplyCancel

  • Whoolp

    I did go through a phase of using vinegar but it has destroyed the surface of my kitchen table. the table is wood with some sort of varnish or something on top. it’s basically eating away at the varnish. it’s fine for bench tops though. Now i use the most environmentally friendly one i can find in the supermarket but they seem to keep changing them. i actually stumble across your blog when i was goggling Nature direct spray and wipe. i am yet to try it.
    hope this is helpful. 

    • Maria Wells

      You need to use vinegar mixed with OLIVE OIL when cleaning wood to protect it. I do not remember the proportions, but I am sure you can figure it out. We have used this for years and our wood looks fine.ReplyCancel

  • Snip

    Hi. I put a couple of drops (no more than about 2ml) of bleach in my dishwashing water. Keeps my washcloth white and disinfects everything… Also helps to keep the sponges disinfected and I replase them as soon as they start to discolour. So I don’t use anything else on my benchtops, just rinse the cloth in the dishwasing water. I also have 2 cloths, one for washing and one for wiping down. We do the kitchen as a family at night after dinner and put the dishwasher on. I just unpack an re-pack it in the morning. We only do dishes at night as I don’t put plastics or pots and pans in the dishwasher.ReplyCancel

  • If you **really** want it to shine & sparkle, or if you have grungy stained bits, tip a bit of Cream of Tartar on your stainless steel (works to cut grease on things like toasters ^ cannisters, too) & then rub at it with a damp cloth. I have never seen ANYTHING work better than that!ReplyCancel

  • Paula Kavanaugh

    What are benches? Is that what we refer to in the US as countertops?ReplyCancel

  • Roz

    A friend once told me that he would never have a dishwasher as “people who have dishwashers always have used items on the sink making it look untidy”. I love my dishwasher and have solved the problem of items that need to be hand washed by buying a cheap plastic washing dish that I keep in the bottom of my dishwasher during the day and all hand wash items hide in it until the evening wash up. It then hides on top of the bin in the under sink cupboard while the dishwasher runs and then is unpacked in the morning. Tidy kitchen – no mess on the sink and no excess washing up sessions!ReplyCancel

  • JennyCB

    I use a homemade ‘green’ spray on everything now. You just fill a spray bottle with water and add 10 drops of eucalyptus oil, 10 drops lavender oil & 10 drops of lemon oil. Make sure they are essential oils not just the fragrance because lavender & lemon oils have antibacterial properties to kill germs and eucalyptus oil will cut thru any grease. I use this spray in bathroom, kitchen, on floors, as a air freshener. Great value & I know it doesn’t have any chemicals which could harm the kiddies.ReplyCancel

    • that sounds like a great formula. I probably couldn’t use it as I have an allergy to anything with a strong scent.ReplyCancel

  • Yes, I don’t believe in horoscopes to tell me what to do in a day. But when I walk in a room and walk back out because I don’t know where to start I jump on your daily newsletter/blog. Thank you for the inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • verity

    theres a australian product called Safe4u vanilla fresh, which contains ethyl alcohol and vanilla, safe for use near food. I use it on all my kitchen surfaces. The vanilla fragrance lingers all day.ReplyCancel

  • Sheridan Ridley

    I love that you get the kids to help out and look after their own things. Some people look at me like I am mental when I say I get my kids to get their own snacks for little lunch, and make their own beds, and tidy their own toys!!
    I don’t dry my dishes either. Tea towels help spread bacteria. Just in case you want to justify it – which I do! lolReplyCancel

    • I’ve learnt that about the tea towels too Sheridan, perfect reason not to use them!ReplyCancel

  • Natasha

    Did you say you put your sponges in the dishwasher? Wow I’ve never heard of it, what a great idea! Thanks for all your ideas and inspiration, I love your blog :)ReplyCancel

  • Jacqui Russell

    You can save yourself even more time by giving the children the task of putting away all the clean dishes in the morning. In our house, our 9yo and just turned 7yo have to empty the dishwasher as part of their morning responsibility. This means I can get on with making lunches and putting the washing on while hubby makes breakfast and the children are taking responsibility for helping the morning run smoothly.ReplyCancel

  • Susan

    I just use microfiber and water for most things. I use a little Gumption or Enjo Marble Paste on harder to clean thing if I need to. We have a rule here “if it can’t go in the dishwasher, it can go in the bin”.ReplyCancel

  • Kerrie Fleming

    I do not own a dish washer so my dishes get done twice a day. First I soak them in very hot soapy water. I then disinfect all my benches and rubbish bin. Then I wipe the kitchen table ,and dust dinning room. Then it’s lounge Room and bedrooms. Beds are made rooms dusted then it’s back to the dishes wash and air dry. I then vacuum and mop my kitchen, bathroom , laundry and toilet floors. Using a spray bottle of disinfectant . When floors are dry almost immediately .i clean my mop dry my dishes an put them away. Whole house is cleaned in 45 Min. Unless interrupted . I do my washing every second day, to keep it up to date. So all in all I have the rest of the day to do ironing ewe, so my routine is not that different from yours. But I do like your extra tips ReplyCancel

  • Pearl


    I also used to let my dishes drip dry overnight. But then one night I found a cockroach in the dish rack, drinking water off the wet dishes … I now always dry my dishes!ReplyCancel

    • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

      Oh no!!! Pearl, you must have got a bit of a shock! I know i would have LOL Yes good idea to get them done that night and then you wake to a fresh, clean kitchen.:)ReplyCancel

  • […] Make your bench and sink sparkle […]ReplyCancel

  • Hannah

    We are currently building our first home and I am keeping a VERY in-depth list of what to clean when. It’s our first time with a dishwasher too so I want to make sure the kitchen is spotless and the dishwasher is clean. I often follow your example, so the dishwasher on once a day it is!ReplyCancel

  • I love the idea of cleaning the sponges in the dishwasher. That’s just genius! My mum has got this thing about waking up to a tidy kitchen too, and I have it too! I love getting up in the morning and everything being just so! xReplyCancel

    • Kate - Kat's Assistant

      Thanks Sammie.:) I know exactly what you mean it just makes me feel happy in the morning when i go out to put the kettle on that everything is so lovely and tidy and a clean kitchen to prepare lunches for the day xReplyCancel

  • Jane

    Kat…. I just love it, love how you share with us the simplest tips that we just don’t think about, thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Yes, I always like a clean kitchen in the morning! you’ve inspired me to get my 7 year old to start helping now too!

    Thank you!
    Lou xReplyCancel

    • Kate - Kat's Assistant

      That’s wonderful Louise!.:)ReplyCancel

  • Waking up to a clean kitchen makes the morning start off so much better! Thanks for the tips.ReplyCancel

    • Kate - Kat's Assistant

      I agree with you 100% Ava. Makes for a nice calm start to the day.:)ReplyCancel

  • Really great tips for keeping the house clean! Thank you! I am a green maniac so it was a pleasure for me to read your article! I liked the section for dish washer cleaning – I clean with vinegar my washing machine! Greets!ReplyCancel

  • I am so glad you said when your kids were little you were just too tired to do them that night. I am currently in a phase/slump/rut of everything is too hard and I’m always so tired after almost 17 months of not sleeping through yet! Occasionally I get the energy and get the housework happening then someone gets sick. It’ll happen one day, and I can’t wait to wake up with a spring in my step.ReplyCancel

    • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

      It does get like that Rachel, you must be exhausted, I hope it calms down for you soon. I have a lovely friend Katie from The Baby Sleep Company that shares tips on how to help bub sleep through the night, and check out her facebook page, she shares tips via video once a week.ReplyCancel

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