Okay, so a half hour might not be enough time to deep clean your entire kitchen. But when a full-blown, floor-to-ceiling cleaning session is out of the question, this 30-minute routine will keep your space tidy, sanitary, and usable. After all, there's nothing wrong with a "nearly spotless" kitchen.
Set your timer and get going.
Clear the clutter (3 minutes).
We get it — the kitchen counter is the holy grail of catch-all storage spaces. It's the most convenient place to plop down your unopened mail and car keys and sunglasses. But in order to get your kitchen's nooks and crannies as clean as they can be, you need to be able to actually, you know, see them. Move that clutter elsewhere, if only temporarily.
Get some long-term help: 5 Habits for Keeping Clear Countertops
Put food away (2 minutes).
That box of cereal from breakfast? And the salt from when you refilled your cellar? It all needs to go back into the pantry or cabinet. You just don't need all this extra stuff on your counter.
Clean your cleaning supplies (1 minute).
Your dishes will only be as clean as the thing you use to clean them with. Toss your dirty dish towel in the hamper and grab a new one. Then, wet your sponge and nuke it in the microwave.
Watch the video: 1 Minute to a Cleaner Sponge
Load the dishwasher — but don't run it just yet (3 minutes).
Lucky enough to have a dishwasher? Yay! Now use it. Get all those dirty dishes out of the sink and into the dishwasher. Make things easier for Future You and load it in organized groups (plates with plates, measuring cups with measuring cups, and so on). Wait to actually run the dishwasher until you've finished cleaning the entire kitchen, though — that pile of newspapers could be hiding one last dirty fork.
Load Up on Dishwasher Info
If you don't have a dishwasher, use this time to get all your dirty dishes in one place (the sink!). Fill the largest vessel in there with hot, soapy water and dunk the smaller items — utensils, measuring cups, etc. — inside. You can wash them now, but depending on how many dirty dishes you have, you might need to hold off until you have more time.
Toss expired items from fridge; wipe the exterior (5 minutes).
Quickly assess the contents of your fridge. If anything looks moldy or generally suspect, get it out of there. (Don't forget to check the shelves on the door!) Then, wipe the exterior with a damp cloth that's been soaked in clean, soapy water. Dry immediately with a paper towel, dish towel, or microfiber cloth. If you have a stainless steel fridge, you may also use a special stainless steel cleaner. Make sure to dry in the direction of the grain to prevent streaking.
For another day when you have more time: How To Clean the Refrigerator
Spray and scrub the countertops (3 minutes).
With all the clutter cleared out of the way, you should be all set to give your countertops a quick spritz using a paper towel and a non-abrasive kitchen cleaner, an ultra-mild bleach solution, or even just soap and water.
Clean Those Counters
Get crumbs off the stovetop (3 minutes).
In order to really clean your stovetop, you'll have to spend some time putting in the effort. For a quick, good-enough-for-now clean, just remove the grates and use a dry paper towel to sweep up crumbs and coffee grinds. Wet another paper towel to erase any stains.
Do the deeper clean: How To Clean a Greasy Gas Stovetop with Just Soap and Water
Quickly wipe down small appliances (5 minutes).
Using a dish towel, soap, and water, go over all your appliances that regularly sit out on the counter. No need to dig out your food processor if it's usually stashed away (although you will have to clean it at some point). Don't forget the inside of the microwave!
For another time: The Kitchn's Guide to Cleaning Your Small Electric Appliances
Sweep the floor (3 minutes).
Get out the old-fashioned broom and dustpan and go to town. Don't forget to hit the corners and along the toe kicks.
Empty the trash (2 minutes).
No matter how clean your kitchen is, it won't smell clean until you get that rotting trash out of there (remember, you've got a bunch of expired food from the fridge in there now!). Take it outside and put a fresh, new bag in its place.
A bigger project: How To Clean a Kitchen Trash Can
And ... time! Look at that: You're practically Marie Kondo. Now you can move on to the other 3,529 things that are begging for your time.
What else do you do when you do a quick kitchen clean?