If You Only Have 10 Minutes to Clean the Kitchen, Do This One Thing

If You Only Have 10 Minutes to Clean the Kitchen, Do This One Thing

Dana McMahan
Mar 12, 2018
(Image credit: Minette Hand)

Sometimes you really need to get in there and give your kitchen a deep clean, but you literally only have 10 minutes before you need to run out the door, welcome guests, or, well, just go to bed. Can you make a dent in those 10 minutes? I'm here to tell you that you can!

(Image credit: ViktorCap/Getty Images)

The single best thing you can do — I've found, anyway — is to clear and clean the kitchen counter and sink. It's my go-to for when it feels like I live in chaos (which is much of the time).

Because I work from home, my kitchen island (the sole counter in the space) gets pretty cluttered. It gets my laptop, notebooks, and other paraphernalia piled up on it. Phone and computer chargers dangle off the outlet on the side. Dishes clean and dirty crowd in and by the sink. Dog bowls and Kong toys come and go.

People say the kitchen is the heart of the home — well, this single expanse of countertop is the heart of the kitchen and apparently the magnet as well because all the flotsam and jetsam of daily life (mail! Coupons! Water bottles!) somehow all mysteriously seem to land here. I'm sure you can say the same about your counters, even if you don't work from home.

So a reset is absolutely required every day. In the span of 10 minutes (and that's exactly how long it takes — I've timed it) here's what I do.

  • Take everything off the counter and out of the sink. If it doesn't permanently live there (dish soap, hand soap and lotion, and spray cleaner), put it where it goes, whether that's the dishwasher, recycling, the trash, the hall desk, or wherever. I feel better already.
  • Grab the coffee pot that I probably haven't emptied from the morning and empty and rinse that.
  • Spray and wipe down the whole counter, plus the edges and the outside of the dishwasher. I like the Laundress all-purpose cleaner for the nice smell, but the spray nozzle is annoying so I'm on the hunt for something that smells as lovely but functions better — if you have a favorite, please share it!
  • Clean the inside of the sink and the faucet. We have a white sink that shows splashes from coffee and every other thing that makes its way in there, and I can't stand seeing little flecks of food clinging to the inside of the sink, so it gets a thorough cleaning. I might use the Laundress if I just want a nice smell, or an antibacterial cleaner if we've had anything gross in there (dog bowls, I'm looking at you). To make it flat-out gleam, I'll use a magic eraser. You might need this: How To Clean Your Kitchen Sink
  • Dry the counter and sink and sprinkle some baking soda around the drain.
  • If you have extra time, empty the trash, throw the dishrag and towels into the laundry basket, and start the dishwasher.


There's an immediate sense of calm that descends when such a central part of our home is clear of clutter. And since this is, of course, where we do all our food prep, I feel better about having a freshly cleaned surface. I almost don't mind knowing I'll be doing the exact same thing tomorrow.

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