5 Cleaning Habits You Should Start Immediately

updated Feb 19, 2021
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ear view of couple working in kitchen at home.
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Not all habits are bad! No, biting your nails is not a good habit. But wiping up spills as they happen is a good one! Ditto for putting ingredients back in the pantry when you’re done with them. There are lots of good habits — especially when it comes to keeping a well-run kitchen. And implementing thoughtful habits in the kitchen tends to have a snowball effect on how well your kitchen space performs. 

Stop biting your nails and take a look at this list. Below, you’ll find five habits to start right now. Each one of them will help to improve the functionality and cleanliness of the space. 

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1. Start clearing out the fridge before you make your grocery list.

We often hear a similar version of this tip: to clean out the fridge before you grocery shop. But turning your attention to the fridge before you even meal plan or make your list is even better. You’ll be able to not only toss expired items, if there are any, but to make plans around what you already have and need to use up. Finish this clear-out by wiping down shelves and quickly putting anything that’s out of place back where it belongs. Then everything will be ready for the fresh groceries you bring home. 

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2. Start wiping down your stovetop after every use.

I mentioned something above about wiping up spills as they happen. Lots of you probably do this already. You’re not a monster who lives with dollops of pasta sauce on your counter! But what about your stovetop? The best way to keep your stovetop clean is to wipe it down after every use before spills and splatters get a chance to harden and become even harder to clean. While you’re at it, consider wiping down your microwave too.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Start planning a regular time to run and unload the dishwasher.

Eliminating the dishwasher bottleneck goes such a long way in greasing the wheels of your kitchen machine. In our house, the dishwasher is supposed to get turned on every night and unloaded each morning. Sticking to a routine means never having a dishwasher full of either clean or dirty dishes when you have more dirty ones that need to go in. Also, a dishwasher ready to receive dirty dishes all day means never having an “excuse” for dishes to pile up in the sink. 

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4. Start clearing off counters daily.

Letting messes accumulate on counters is asking for trouble because they grow and multiply. Without vigilance, pretty soon a couple of pieces of mail turn into a pile that includes the LEGOs that were on the floor, the screwdriver that needs to get put back in the tool bag, and the hair ties and detangler that also need putting away. But a clean counter hopefully reminds you to keep it that way by taking the 30 seconds to put your items where they belong in the moment. A dedicated few minutes a day to clear off your counters helps keep the counter clutter problem from becoming overwhelming. 

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5. Start shutting the kitchen down every night.

Shutting down the kitchen is a nightly cleaning ritual that re-sets your kitchen for the next day. The kitchen shut-down routine at my house includes scrubbing down the sink, taking out the trash, vacuuming the floors, and wiping down the counters. A clean kitchen is a gift to your morning self and starts the day off with a clean kitchen you’re more likely to maintain.  

What are some of the good kitchen habits you employ? Tell us in the comments below.