5 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Look Cleaner in 5 Minutes

published Jan 24, 2018
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(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Good news: It really doesn’t take that much to make your kitchen feel cleaner — in fact, five minutes is plenty of time for a quick revamp. Because kitchens tend to be some of the smaller spaces in our home, it’s not as much work as you may think to tackle a small project that’ll make a big impact. Don’t believe me? Time yourself as you do one of these tasks — or some other kitchen chore you dread — and you’ll find that it goes by way more quickly than you realize.

Here are five ways to make your kitchen look cleaner in five minutes.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

1. Clear the countertops.

The number-one thing that makes your kitchen feel messy: Cluttered countertops. While it’s easy for the kitchen counter to become the drop zone for piles of mail and whatnot (as I look at mine, I see a box of tissues, kids’ toys, hairbands and brushes, and a mess of charging cables, among other things), getting that under control is one of the quickest, most satisfying things you can do. Because most of those things actually belong somewhere else!

For items that really do need to live there (see: tissues and cords), consider using a small tray to corral them into one area so it looks tidy, even when they’re still out. Those items that don’t belong in there? Get a basket (even a laundry basket will do!), dump all the misplaced objects, and start sorting.

More on Organizing Countertops

(Image credit: Elissa Crowe)

2. Put away the dishes.

A corollary to clearing the countertops: If you have a pile of dishes in or next to the sink, or drying on the stove, your kitchen will feel cluttered. Dry them with a dish towel and put them away! Sometimes I’m temped to leave things out (that damp saucepan is probably going to be used again in the next 24 hours!), but the minute you put the dishes away, the whole space has a little more room to breathe.

Related: The Most Important Step When Hand-Washing Dishes

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

3. Spray down surfaces.

Even if your countertops are empty, they look cleanest when they sparkle, and I’ve found that just a swipe with a sponge usually leaves some greasy, filmy swirls. Plus, spraying down the countertops takes about two minutes to do: Just spritz your favorite grease-busting mixture on your surfaces and wipe it up with a microfiber cloth or paper towel. Bonus points if you spritz the stovetop and front of the oven and microwave at the same time. Seeing your reflection? That makes stuff seem clean.

(Image credit: Syda Production)

4. Sweep the floor.

It’s easy to ignore debris on the floor — especially since it tends to accumulate in zones that aren’t 100 percent visible, like around chair legs and near the toe kick of your kitchen cabinets — but that thin layer of dust all over, plus a few extra crumbs, can dull the look of your floors and make the space feel dirty. Sweeping it up is quick work and makes a huge difference! (Especially once you find a broom and dustpan you really love.)

(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

5. Wipe down your windows.

Particularly in the winter months, when the sun is weaker and the days are shorter, a good way to brighten up the kitchen is to simply wash the windows! They might not look dirty, but on gray days you can use every ounce of sun you can get. One note: Don’t do this on super-sunny days (because the window cleaner might dry before you wipe it off, leading to streaks) or if it’s way below freezing (as it could freeze on a cold windowpane!).

What quick cleaning tasks do you tackle when you’re hoping to make a big impact in your kitchen?