Here’s the Least Amount of Cleaning You Can Get Away with During the Summer

published Jul 26, 2022
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Credit: Carina Romano

Summer is for Popsicles and watermelon and BBQs and pool days. It’s for making memories and taking vacations and soaking up the sun.

You know what summer isn’t for? Cleaning. But here’s the rub: Cleaning still needs to happen, especially if you want to enjoy your summer. Coming home to a messy, dirty house after a wonderful day of surf and sun is a real killjoy.

The good news is that with relatively little time spent indoors, you may find that your home stays cleaner for longer in the summer. That means less that needs to be cleaned overall. 

One big key to a summer with minimal cleaning is to give yourself permission to let a few things go. Here are the chores you can put on hold, and the ones you should not skip.

Credit: Joe Lingeman
Good news: You can skip cleaning your windows this summer!

You can put these chores on hold, temporarily.

  1. Dusting baseboards. Baseboards aren’t urgent.
  2. Deep cleaning the oven. You’re probably using it far less in the summer anyway.
  3. Cleaning windows. The summer sun will cause water spots, so wait on this one.
  4. Reorganizing cabinets and drawers. Save this chore for rainy days or the shorter days of winter. 
  5. Decluttering cooking and baking dishes. Again, this can wait. The most effective time to declutter kitchen items is after seasonal entertaining in the fall or winter. 
  6. Oiling cutting boards. Save this chore for cozier days when the family is hanging out together in the kitchen.
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn
But you still gotta keep up with the dishes!

Focus on these chores instead for maximum impact.

  1. Put dishes in the dishwasher right away (or hand wash when necessary). Remember that cleanliness begets cleanliness and being strict about this will keep a sink full of dirty dishes at bay. 
  2. Keep the microwave clean. Nothing is more off-putting than opening the microwave to find an explosion. The summer is no exception. Make it a habit to clean the microwave when messes are fresh, but check it periodically for more thorough cleanings. 
  3. Stay on top of daily and weekly routines. Continue emptying the dishwasher and drying rack every morning, and check the fridge before grocery shopping. Maintain your kitchen shut-down routine.
  4. Keep counters clutter-free. A kitchen with cluttered counters might not be dirty, but it’ll feel messy and stressful. Don’t allow things to sit on the counters. (Just like piles of dirty dishes, counter piles will grow too!). Spend a few minutes a day clearing counter clutter and your kitchen will stay in tip-top shape. 
  5. Sweep or vacuum floors nightly. It’s true that summer often means less time spent in the house, but it can also mean that more of the outside gets tracked indoors. Similar to clean counters, clean floors uplift the entire kitchen. Invest in a robot vacuum, and schedule it to run through the kitchen every night. It does a good job when it comes to picking up crumbs and dirt, and you won’t need to lift a finger to get it done! (Talk about minimal cleaning!) 

Which kitchen chores are you skipping this summer? And which are a top priority in your house? Share your summer cleaning routine in the comments below.