9 Brilliant Tips to Help You Clean Your Kitchen Faster, According to Busy Moms

published Jan 11, 2022
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Mother multi-tasking with infant daughter in home office
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As a full-time working mom who writes about cleaning and organizing for a living, I’m always looking for ways to keep my house clean without dedicating tons of time to the job — especially when it comes to my kitchen. Between getting my writing done and taking care of my two young sons, I often just don’t have enough time to deep-clean on a regular basis (let alone brainstorm new ideas for making cleaning easier and faster!).

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I’m convinced that as parents, we benefit from sharing tips too — like how to clean the kitchen effectively, in less time. Not a parent? You still can benefit from speedy cleaning. That’s exactly why I surveyed my working-mom friends to get their best tips for quickly cleaning the kitchen.

Here are nine tips to clean more efficiently — especially if you’re tight on time.

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani/Kitchn

1. Clean as you go.

My college friend Kristine Talley says there’s one tactic that keeps her kitchen clean during extra-busy weeks. Rather than waiting to clean until bigger, more time-consuming messes accumulate, she makes it a point to clean the smaller messes as they happen. Whether you wash a few dishes after dinner or scrub down your baking sheet right after you whip up a batch of cookies, you’ll be way less stressed when you make time to clean messes one at a time.

2. Invest in a smart vacuum.

We’ve all dreamt of having someone else do the work for us, and thanks to smart technology, that’s not entirely out of the question. Lauren O’Brien, one of the busiest moms I know, swears by her Roomba for keeping her kitchen floors free of crumbs, dirt, and other debris. “I often set it when I’m leaving the house so my floor is clean when I get back,” she says. 

3. Or get a stick vac.

If a Roomba doesn’t make sense for your home, try buying a stick vac and keeping it plugged in near your kitchen, so you can vacuum your floors after each snack or meal. My friend Kate Frerich loves the Dyson stick vacuum, but lots of brands sell similar, less-expensive models that make cleaning hard floors and rugs a cinch.

Credit: Ashley Abramson

4. Stock up on microfiber cloths.

My friend and fellow mom Cassie LaFollette says microfiber cloths are her go-to cleaning tool in the kitchen. She uses them throughout the week to wipe down the table, counters, and even scrub away at sticky messes. The best part is, because microfiber cloths have lots of little fibers, they easily lift away germs. That way, LaFollette doesn’t need any special products for everyday cleaning — and it takes less time when you don’t have to hunt down an all-purpose spray.

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5. Set a timer.

Emily Rinde says after each meal, she sets a timer for five to 15 minutes, depending on how much availability she has. She then works as fast as she can to do a speed-clean in her kitchen. “Whatever I don’t get to is saved for later when I have more dedicated time,” she says.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

6. Clean while you’re waiting for something else.

Another brilliant tip from Rinde: Clean one thing while you’re waiting for something else in the kitchen. For example, you could wash a dish or two while you wait for water to boil, load the dishwasher when you wait for your air fryer to preheat, or sweep and mop while dinner bakes in the oven.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Buy cleaning supplies that you actually enjoy using.

So much of staying on top of kitchen cleaning is motivation (especially when you’re short on time). To boost her drive for cleaning, Amanda Warner always buys aesthetically pleasing supplies (like a cute dish rack for drying a clean plate), and she makes sure her cleaners smell good too. You won’t want to force yourself to deal with the lingering smell of lavender if you don’t like floral scents!

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

8. Protect your oven from messes.

Why clean a huge mess when you can prevent it in the first place? That’s how my friend Liz Berg, also a mom, thinks when it comes to her oven. Instead of letting messes drip down (say, the oil from baked potatoes), put a baking sheet on the rack underneath to catch any falling messes. You can even line it with foil if you want.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

9. Use easy-to-clean cooking tools.

A pot, pan, or baking sheet covered in burned-on food can take a lot of extra time and elbow grease to clean. To save time on cleaning pots and pans, Ashley Hooker stocks her kitchen with nonstick cookware, which is way easier to clean than the other stuff.

Related: The Slickest, Absolute Best Nonstick Skillets You Can Buy Right Now

Do you have tips to work more efficiently in the kitchen? Tell us your experience in the comments below.