5 Things You Should Never Do When Cleaning Your Kitchen — And 3 Things You Should Always Do

updated Nov 1, 2021
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While organizing comes down mostly to personal preference, there are definitely some black-and-white rules when we’re talking about cleaning. Not only do you want things to look clean, but you also want them to be clean (and safe) — especially in the kitchen where you’re preparing and eating food! So allow us to present you with the most basic guiding principles for cleaning the kitchen effectively and efficiently. Here are some hard-and-fast rules to keep in mind when cleaning the kitchen.

5 Things You Should Never Do When Cleaning Your Kitchen

1. Don’t use the same rag for multiple purposes.

Rags are reusable, washable, and tough on messes. But used the wrong way, they can spread germs. Keep separate rags for separate purposes. For instance, you may use one rag for wiping children’s hands and faces, one for wiping down counters, and another for doing dishes. Color-coding your rags or using different types of rags for different purposes helps distinguish them so you aren’t wiping the mess from your kid’s face all over the counter you think you’re cleaning. 

Credit: Lauren Volo

2. Don’t use a sponge any longer than you’re supposed to.

Fact: Sponges can be a literal breeding ground for bacteria. And no, microwaving your sponge is not the answer. To make sure your sponge is safe, replace it weekly. Or consider using rags and replacing them daily. 

3. Don’t let little jobs become big ones.

In a room full of appliances large and small, make sure you make those “stitches in time.” A microwave that’s quickly inspected after each use and wiped down whenever splatters occur (when they’re fresh!) is far easier to tackle than a microwave with messes from multiple uses. Same goes for the oven and fridge. Clean messes up quickly and then you won’t have to chisel them off later. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Don’t mix cleaning solutions.

This one is pure science. You may think that one strong thing plus another strong things results in a super-strong cleaner. But the sum could actually be pretty dangerous (for yourself or your kitchen). One key rule: Never mix bleach with anything else.

5. Don’t clean around the clutter.

So many things that aren’t even kitchen-related seem to end up in the kitchen, just because we’re all in there so much. Even kitchen-related stuff can clutter up a kitchen. All that stuff makes it hard to clean and you’re not doing anyone any favors if you simply clean around it. Instead, put things away where they belong and then get to cleaning.

3 Things You Should Always Do When Cleaning the Kitchen

1. Do clean from top to bottom.

This cleaning rule applies to the kitchen — and every other room in the house. Starting at the top and working your way down gives you the cleanest clean. For example, the crumbs that spill to the floor when you’re wiping down the counters will get cleaned up when you sweep if you follow this principle. 

Credit: Devon Jarvis

2. Do keep your cleaning supplies in one place.

You’ll be a more effective kitchen cleaner if all your kitchen cleaning supplies are kept in one nearby space. This way, you won’t be running up and down the stairs to get wipes and sprays and rags and … you get the point. We’re big fans of a cleaning cart or a caddy that you can carry around with you while you work.

3. Do clean then disinfect.

There is a difference. Cleaning will help make your surfaces look nice and shiny; disinfecting is what will kill germs like bacteria and viruses. You do have to do both — especially these days.