Cooking up a storm in the kitchen is all well and good, but it always leads to a monumental clean-up operation afterwards. And if your life is already hectic, finding the time to clean up properly may not be easy. But it doesn’t have to be this way… if you’re organised and prepared from the moment you grab your first pan.
By using these 10 simple tips every time you cook, the cleaning afterwards won’t take a huge chunk out of your day.
1. SET UP A GARBAGE BOWL
To keep your workbenches, chopping boards and range clear of debris at all times, set up a makeshift garbage bowl or bin right next to where you’re working. You won’t need to walk over to your kitchen bin every time something needs to be thrown away, so keeping your kitchen clean and organised will be far easier.
2. STABILISE YOUR CHOPPING BOARD
If your chopping board is sliding all over the place as you cut and chop, you’re not only putting your health at risk, you’re probably creating a lot of mess. To keep the board in place, anchor it with a cutting mat. If you don’t have one, use a slightly dampened tea towel.
3. PICK UP IMMEDIATELY
Don’t leave dropped food and packaging on the floor for later, as this will create a much bigger job afterwards. Also, food might get kicked around and trodden into the floor, which will create even more work for you when it’s time to clean up.
4. ORGANISE YOUR WORKSPACE
The best way to minimise mess in the kitchen whilst cooking is to clean as you go, and this is much easier if you’re organised. Create mini workspaces for each task, and position a garbage bowl, cloth and sanitiser at each one. Clean up your mess as and when you make it, and the task of cleaning up later will be minimised.
5. TAKE YOUR TIME
Give yourself plenty of time to cook. Not only will this make the experience a great deal more enjoyable, it will ensure that your chopping, peeling and general preparation is deliberate and contained. And you will also have the time to clear, wipe and tidy between different tasks. This may be counterintuitive for you if you’re an experimental cook or you’re always busy, but taking your time could actually save you time in the long run, as the cleaning at the end of the process should be relatively straightforward.
6. HAVE A SPRAY BOTTLE OF SOAPY WATER AT THE READY
Hot spills, meat juices, sauces and general food debris is a lot more difficult to clean up when it becomes hard and engrained. So the easiest and quickest way to clean is to attack these spillages and droppages as and when they happen. Fill a spray bottle with warm, soapy water, and clean as you go. If you’re disciplined about this, your workbenches and cooking range will need only a quick wipe when you’re finished.
7. USE A SPLATTER SCREEN ON YOUR COOKING RANGE
If you’re frying, there’s a very good chance that fat will pop and spit throughout the process – and much of it will end up on the walls and work surfaces in your kitchen. To stop this from happening, place splatter screens over your skillets and frying pans.
8. DO MORE PREP OVER THE SINK
If you’re measuring potentially messy and greasy ingredients, it’s always best to work over the sink. When the inevitable splashes and spillages happen, all you’ll need to do to get rid of them is run the tap for a few seconds.
9. STEEP UTENSILS
Instead of having cooking utensils pile up during the cooking process, fill a large jug with hot water, and use it to steep and rinse utensils between uses. Do this every time you cook, and the time you spend on washing up will be cut considerably.
10. LINE YOUR OVEN AND GRILL WITH TIN FOIL
If you were to ask 10 people what their most dreaded kitchen cleaning job is, nine of them would probably say cleaning the oven. This dirty, laborious job usually requires the use of caustic cleaning agents, which can cause breathing difficulties and skin irritation. But you can make this job a lot easier, and the need for it a lot less frequent, by lining your oven with tin foil. The majority of the fat and food will drop onto the foil, and not onto the surfaces of your oven. Cleaning will then be a simple case of replacing the tin foil and giving the inside surfaces of your oven a quick wipe down.
Cleaning your kitchen after cooking up a storm doesn’t need to be something you dread. All you need is a little planning and organisation.
If you have any kitchen cleaning tips, please feel free to share them in the comments section below