7 Things in Your Kitchen You Don’t Have to Clean Nearly as Often as You Do

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Most of the time, when I’m researching a cleaning story for this site, my takeaway is: I’m not cleaning well enough, or often enough. My sink can get dirtier than a toilet bowl. My sponges? Full of bacteria. The floor that I totally swept last night? Still has coconut flakes on it from yesterday’s breakfast. So it was a relief to search for things I’m cleaning too much.

Let’s assume, for the purpose of this story, that you, dear reader, clean everything super well and all of the time. With that established, here are the things you don’t need to clean as well or as often.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

1. Your moka pot

The one thing I was cleaning more aggressively than I had to! While you should thoroughly rinse the machine out when you’re done making coffee, there’s no need to use soap. Many coffee pros believe that leaving coffee’s naturals in there makes for a better cup of espresso.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

2. Cast iron skillets

No, you should not leave food sitting in your skillet, but classic cast iron skillets can only benefit from the oil left behind from cooking. So don’t scrub it every time. Depending on what you’ve made, you could just give it a quick wipe with a paper towel.

See our deeper-clean method: How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

(Image credit: Reagen Taylor)

3. The stovetop

While some people get sort of annoyed when they can see a fine mist of oil along the stovetop, it’s fine to leave it for a week or so. If you have a big spill, wipe it up, but otherwise no food is going to come into contact with a slightly soiled stovetop, so it’s not necessary for your health to clean it every day.

When It’s Time to Clean Your Stovetop

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

4. Your flooring grout

If you’re getting into your grout with a toothbrush every time you mop the floors in the hopes that you can keep it white forever, perhaps it’s time to let that go? According to one of my favorite cleaning experts, you might be better off accepting the inevitable and never cleaning it.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

5. Your drains

If your sink is smelling, or water is clearly not draining, then break out your baking soda or commercial cleaner to get it moving again. But if you’re doing it preventively, resist: According to one pro I spoke to, there’s no point in messing with your drains if they’re working, and cleaning them too aggressively could do more harm than good.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

6. Your small appliances

Depending on how often you use them, it isn’t really necessary to clean the interiors of small appliances like the toaster or microwave that often. While you can give them a wipe-down every few days if the exterior is dirty, most manufacturers only recommend cleaning the interior about once a month.

More on Cleaning Small Appliances

7. Your cookbook collection

Do you dust the top of your cookbook collection while you’re doing the counters? If so, take a break: Unless they’re right next to the stove on open shelving, those cookbooks probably aren’t all that dirty. Just dust them a few times a year.

What are you hoping to clean less often?