Kitchn Love Letters

I Cook for a Living and This is the Surprising Tool I Use to Make Cleaning in the Kitchen a Breeze

published May 9, 2022
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Credit: Viv Yapp

Fun fact: Line cooks can clean just as well as we can cook. As soon as dinner service ends, we begin “breaking down” the kitchen, also known as cleanup time. And every night at a busy restaurant requires a deep clean in the back of house. After working in multiple professional kitchens, there are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way that make the cleaning process more efficient. When I saw a fellow cook use a squeegee to clear soapy water off of the kitchen surfaces, I had a major aha moment.

All my life I’ve been using handfuls of single-use paper towels, rags, and questionable sponges to clear away streaky wet marks and cleaning spray off of my countertops, kitchen table, cabinets, backsplash, refrigerator, you name it. Little did I know that the OXO Stainless Steel Squeegee (more typically used for windows, showers, and mirrors) gets the job done in the kitchen, too, and much better than previous cleaning tools I’ve tried.

The OXO Squeegee has an ergonomic handle and 10-inch flexible rubber blade to pull water or cleaning solution away from just about any surface in your kitchen. Unlike a paper towel or rag, where I’m wiping aimlessly in circular motions, the straight-lined squeegee helps to make sure I don’t miss a spot. I start at one edge and simply work across the kitchen counter, line by line. Just spray the kitchen surfaces with your disinfectant of choice and squeegee away with no streaks or missed corners. The tool is especially useful for reaching the backsplash, which is always a pain to maneuver with just a towel and the palm of my hand, and the extended handle makes that task so much easier. Plus, when water splashes up onto the counters after doing the dishes, you can swipe the excess water straight into the sink with the squeegee.

In restaurants, our cleaning method is more intense than simply spraying down surfaces with disinfectant. We fill small buckets with soapy water, (at home you can use a mixing bowl for this), and then we take roughly textured sponges to scrub the counters before squeegeeing all that moisture straight onto the floor. From there, we mop up the soapy water from the countertops to clean the floor (a place where bits of food and grease tend to get trapped). Just whip out the twist mop or Swiffer to clear off the excess soapy water, and just like that, you’re cleaning with efficiency like a pro!

Once you add this squeegee to your kitchen cleaning routine, you’ll likely have the same aha moment as me. Because it makes cleaning easier, more efficient, and overall less burdensome, I can only imagine that this game-changing restaurant cleaning hack will be the best $18 dollars you’ll spend all week.