How to Keep Your Kitchen Clean + Free Printable Checklist

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Oh, to have a clean kitchen. Wait, even better, cook homemade meals and still have a clean kitchen. Today I’m sharing my best tips for how to keep your kitchen clean plus a free printable checklist!

But first, I’m sharing my new kitchen with before and after pictures!

How to Keep Your Kitchen Clean + Free Printable @

I know full well what it feels like to walk into a messy kitchen in the morning. That feeling of discouragement and stress. Knowing I have hungry kids to feed and need to clean the kitchen so I can cook.

A messy kitchen really does make me feel bad.

We’ve lived in our home since 2003. We moved here in February. I was pregnant with Laura {my youngest child} and she was born in June. I don’t know if pictures even exist, but my little kitchen was yellow. The walls, the cabinets, inside and out. And I had a green tile floor. The soffit had a very retro brown and orange wallpaper from the 70’s.

I loved that little kitchen for a while but as the years went on, the kitchen began to decline to the point where I felt very frustrated. I eventually painted it, but unfortunately, being young and inexperienced, it never occurred to me that the previous owners would have used oil based paint and I spent six months painting over it with latex. Within weeks of finishing the job, the paint began to bubble and peel.

For over 15 years the kitchen had bad plumbing, a dishwasher that didn’t work, missing or broken cabinet doors, peeling paint, and a really ugly floor. I’ll be honest and tell you that every time I walked into my kitchen I felt discouraged. It was terrible.

Kitchen Renovation @

And I will also tell you that renovating our kitchen, which took about 6 months was totally, worth every penny, every inconvenience and every microwaved meal.

Now, I’m very blessed to have a kitchen I love. I literally love walking in there. It’s still a small kitchen. But it has cabinet doors and plumbing that works!

I’ve been meaning to share these photos of my kitchen with you for a few weeks now. My contractors finished the kitchen part of our house renovation just a day or two before Thanksgiving. The contractors have been in my house five days a week since mid June of 2018! That’s about 8 months now. They are no where near done… but it’s getting there!

I do want to say that I did not stage any of these photos. They were taken at random times over the last few weeks and the kitchen may or may not have been perfectly clean or decorated. This is real life y’all.

So this is the main part of the kitchen. When you walk into the kitchen you have the stove and microwave on the right and the fridge and dishwasher on the left.

I chose a dark gray cabinet for the bottom and white cabinets on top. I love the contrast and the custom look of the cabinets. Lowe’s did our cabinet install and they did a great job.

The walls are painted in the lightest gray color and all of the trim throughout the house is a semi gloss white that has really brightened up the house that’s already been painted. I picked out a inexpensive subway tile with medium gray grout for the back splash.

And, I picked out an inexpensive granite counter top and really love it. It’s durable, beautiful, and always looks clean even when I forget to wipe down the counters. It’s hard to see spills or crumbs unless you’re looking real close.

We did Pergo waterproof flooring which I cannot possibly love more. The floors are amazing.

We did not purchase a new dishwasher. We bought this dishwasher before I decided I wanted stainless steel appliances and it sat in our garage for about four years before we used it. It’s a Bosh so we decided to wait to buy a new dishwasher until we really need one.

Like, I said, these photos aren’t staged. This is what my kitchen typically looks like if you walk into my home at any given moment. Sometimes it’s spotless, but not always.

Kitchen Renovation @

On my refrigerator I have two clipboards hanging. One holds my weekly menu and the other holds my to do list for the week. And most of you will remember Annie. Her favorite spot is on my kitchen rug!

Oh, and I absolutely love my kitchen sink. I purchased a stainless steel sink with an extra deep bowl. I can have a sink full of dirty dishes or even have my largest stock pot soaking in the sink and you can’t see any of it. It’s amazing.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t still need to maintain a clean kitchen!

Kitchen Renovation @

The butler’s pantry is between the kitchen and dining room and before it was wall to wall cabinets. The cabinets were deep and there was only about 24 inches of counter space. It was difficult for me to utilize the space because the cabinets were so deep and hard to use.

Here’s what the butler’s pantry looked like before the renovation. This isn’t the best photo, but it’s the only one I could find and was taken several Christmas’ ago.

And here’s what the butler’s pantry looks like now. It’s so much better! I chose glass doors for displaying my collection of Fiesta Ware and the cupboards below have pull out shelves which make it so easy to store my heavy casserole dishes and serving bowls.

I absolutely love it. And having the counter stretch all the way across makes it feel so much bigger!

Kitchen Renovation @

I have always loved cooking for my family and I cooked a whole lot of food and fed my people well over the last 15 years even though the kitchen was not my ideal space. It is really nice to be able to cook in this new kitchen though.

Go to Bed with a Clean Kitchen

I get emails from you guys all the time telling me you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin with getting your house in order. Believe me when I say, I’ve been there!

Feeling overwhelmed when your house is out of control isn’t a good feeling, but it is possible to overcome!

1 Corinthians 14:40 tells us, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” So when things are no longer in order, we feel all kinds of bad feelings.

It’s time to get things back in order. 

There are a number of reasons why cleaning a messy space may feel very overwhelming.

  • you hate cleaning
  • you’d rather be doing other stuff
  • you think it will take longer than it actually will
  • you feel visually overwhelmed when you look around

So, if you feel overwhelmed by your messy house and don’t know where to begin, I will always encourage you to start in the kitchen. If you don’t get anything else done today, clean your kitchen.

And I’ll go even further than that. 

If you don’t get anything else done today, go to bed with clean dishes and a clean sink. 

When you feel overwhelmed, it’s not going to help much if you set a goal for yourself that feels impossible. You want to feel success and have a sense of accomplishment!

related: How to Clean When You Feel Overwhelmed

Going to bed with a clean kitchen and then waking up to a clean kitchen is like gold. It’s such a good feeling. And if you are used to waking up to a sink full of dirty dishes or counters that need decluttering and wiping down, you know what I’m talking about.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But if you kitchen is a mess, you aren’t going to feel like fixing much of a breakfast. And if you’re kitchen is a mess, you won’t feel like you’re on top of your to do list or ready to tackle bigger and better goals.

Here’s the thing, it’s when we focus on doing the very basics and making those chores daily habits that we will begin to create a self disciplined life. And having self discipline will really change the way you do things at home. You’ll find yourself doing chores when they need to be done instead of procrastinating. And as a result, you will feel less stress.

Maintaining a clean kitchen can change your life. 

So, to get started, let’s focus on washing the dishes and cleaning your sink.

How to Wash the Dishes & Mealtime Clean Up

If you have a dishwasher,

Tools Needed

  • Dish draining rack and mat
  • Clean dish towel
  • Rubber dishpan (keeps dishes from breaking)
  • Dish Cloth, Clean Sponge, or Dish Brush (for Cleaning the dishes)
  • Bottle Brush
  • Pot Scrubber
  • Rubber gloves if you prefer
  • Dish liquid soap

Mealtime Clean Up: The Order

  1. Clear table.
  2. Brush off tablecloth and pre-treat spills with stain remover. Or wipe down table.
  3. Stack dishes next to sink.
  4. Begin hand washing or load dishwasher

Hand Wash Dishes in this Order

There really is a proper way to hand wash your dishes! The idea is that you want to wash the least dirty dishes first. So glasses would be first and you would finish up with greasy pots and pans.

  1. Glasses and Mugs
  2. Flatware, Silverware
  3. Plates, Bowls
  4. Pots, Casseroles

How to Hand Wash the Dishes

1. Begin by making sure your sink is clean. Empty the sink if needed. Squirt a small amount of your favorite cleaner into the sink and scrub with a clean sponge or cloth. Rinse the sink.

2. Place your drying rack on the right hand side of the sink with a drain mat or clean towel underneath.

3. Fill sink about ½ full with hot water adding liquid dish soap to the water while the sink is filling. The water should be as hot as your hands can stand. Be sure the soap has dissolved. Swish you hand in the water if needed. Use enough soap to eliminate grease in the water, but not so much that it does not rinse off your dishes easily. Note the manufacturer’s instructions if you are not sure.

4. Use a clean dishcloth or fresh sponge. For bottles and vases, you should use a good bottle brush.

5. Begin washing dishes that are least soiled first. Generally, this would be your drinking glasses, and flatware. Rinse each item and place in the drying rack, or on a clean towel.

6. Next wash plates and bowls. If your dishwater becomes too soiled, you should stop and refill the sink with fresh hot water and dish soap. If the water has become lukewarm, you’ll need to add more hot water or fresh water.

7. Finally, wash your serving dishes, pots, and pans. Changing the water as needed.

8. If dishes are rinsed in hot enough water, they should air dry almost immediately. Once you have washed everything, or as you run out of needed space in your drying rack, put dishes away in their respective places.

9. Dry dishes with a fresh and clean drying cloth if water is still present. Drying your dishes by hand will also remove any streaks or spots left by the water.

10. Dishes should be put away as soon as you have finished washing. Your kitchen will look much more pleasing and orderly without stacks of dishes sitting on the counter.

My Favorite Tools for Cleaning the Kitchen

I also purchase a lot of my cleaning supplies from Grove Collaborative. You can find all of these products or similar ones on Grove and I love their VIP perks! Getting my box of household supplies every month is something I always look forward to!

Tips to Help you Keep your Kitchen Clean

  • Unload the dishwasher as soon as possible making it easier to put dirty dishes away.
  • Let your kids help you unload or load the dishwasher.
  • Hand washing dishes is also a good job for older kids.
  • Clean as you go. Wash mixing bowls and other prep-ware immediately

How to Maintain a Clean Kitchen

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when the kitchen is a mess.

I don’t know about you, but if my kitchen is a mess when I wake up, it pretty much guarantees I’ll be behind the rest of the day. In fact, it usually means I can’t catch up and feel overwhelmed the rest of the day.

Does that ever happen to you?

The number one thing you can do to get a jump  start on the day is to go to bed with a clean kitchen. Now this may seem obvious, but for a lot of you, I know this has been a major issue in your life.

Walking into a messy kitchen in the morning is discouraging.

I love to cook, but I hate cooking in a dirty kitchen. So if the kitchen is a mess when I go to cook breakfast at means I have to clean the kitchen before I cook which means breakfast prep takes twice if not three times as long as it should.

Then, if I don’t get the kitchen clean right after breakfast, that means I have to clean the kitchen before I can cook lunch. And the same for supper.

It’s a vicious cycle. Know what I’m talking about?

When you wait to wash the dishes till later, you are ensuring you’ll have to use more elbow grease to get the  clean. Dried on food takes more work to scrub clean. But if you do it as soon as the meal is over, it takes just seconds to wash, fine, and dry the dishes.

Of course you may have a dish washer, but the same principle applies. You’ll just feel better if you do it right away. I promise.

Some of us are procrastinators by nature. We put off those things we don’t want to do because of a sender of dread. We feel like the chore is so unpleasant that we just put it off for as long as possible. Part of that issue is a lack of self discipline.

Having self discipline basically means that you do what you know needs to be done even when you don’t feel like it. You may be disciplined in some areas of your life and need some improvement in others. The good news is that it is possible to cultivate a heart of discipline.

Establishing good habits is the key to overcoming messiness. And good habits begin with self-discipline. I believe you can train yourself to be self disciplined at home.

related: The Disciplined Homemaker: 30 Day Challenge

The other part of procrastinating that is the fact that we may well dread task because when we put off doing a chore, it really is worse when we finally do it. We condition ourselves to believe a chore is really much worse than it would be if we just did it immediately.

How to Keep Your Kitchen Clean + Free Printable @


1. Go to bed with a clean kitchen. You’ll be happier in the morning and feel better about yourself too.

2. Allow ample time to cook the meal you have planned. You’re more likely to create a big mess if you are in a super hurry.

3. Clean as you go. Wash those missing bowls as soon as you are done using them. It only takes seconds! Wipe up those spills as soon as they happen. It’s so much easier!

4. Clean the kitchen and dinning area as soon as the meal is over. If you have kids this is a good time to put them to work.

5. Stay on top of those big kitchen chores like mopping the floor and scrubbing the some and refrigerator. Frequent cleaning {weekly} means less time is required to clean, which means you can go on with your life quicker and it won’t be hanging over your head like a black cloud.

Deep Cleaning

You will still need to spend time each month deep cleaning your kitchen. But maintaining a clean kitchen daily will make the process of deeper cleaning much easier. Appliances, floors, cabinet doors, and more all need to be scrubbed and cleaned on a regular basis to maintain their appearance and keep grime and bacteria at bay.

How to Clean Your Kitchen Sink

As I said earlier, if you don’t do anything else today, make sure you go to bed with clean dishes and a clean sink.

Years ago, I remember reading the FlyLady and she said to “shine your sink.” Now, I’m not sure what her method is for shining your sink, but in my house, I like going to bed with a clean sink.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Load the dishwasher with all of the dishes I can.
  2. Hand wash any remaining dishes, pots, or pans.
  3. Wipe down the counters.
  4. Dry and put away any dishes that are still out.
  5. Rinse the sink with water.
  6. Sprinkle a powdered scrub inside the sink.
  7. Use a sponge or cloth to scrub the inside of the sink, around the base of faucet, and the faucet.
  8. Rinse away the cleaner, leaving a clean sink.
  9. Rinse out sponges, dish cloths, and dish brushes.

Several nights a week I will also do the following to kill germs and keep my cleaning tools fresh:

  1. Fill sink with 2 or 3 inches of sudsy water and add a little bleach to the water.
  2. Add sponges, dish brushes, and other items I want to clean to the water.
  3. If I have stains on my dish clothes I’ll add a little extra bleach to whiten and remove stains.
  4. In the morning, drain the water, rinse each item off well.
  5. Hang dish clothes up to dry.

How to Clean the Garbage Disposal

If you have a garbage disposal you should run it every night for a few seconds as part of your kitchen sink routine. Once a week or so you can also grind a lemon wedge inside the disposal to clean it well and make it smell good.

Keeping Your Kitchen Clutter Free

One of the biggest issues many of us has is clutter. And the kitchen often has it’s fair share of clutter on the counters, inside the cabinets… We live in a society where it just seems like we are always looking for more and better stuff.

I’m not a gadget person. I have a few different appliances I use on a regular basis. But for the most part, give me a few utensils, some good knives and I’m good to go.

However, before my kitchen was renovated, it was packed full of too much stuff. It drove me crazy. When we had to remove everything out of the cupboards, I realized just how much stuff was in there! It was terrible y’all.

So, once the new cabinets were installed and it was time to put things away, I made decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of very carefully. I still have a few cupboards that are empty. I’m being super careful about filling them up! I want to make sure that everything that goes back into my kitchen is something I love and or something I will truly use.

Keeping your cabinets organized is made so much easier when you don’t have too much stuff crammed inside. Less is better. I promise!

related: Should Christians Use the KonMari Method + How to Declutter for Good

Also, keeping your counters free of clutter will lessen your stress. Visual clutter increases your feelings of stress and anxiety. Think about it. How do you feel when you walk into a room in your house with lots of clutter?

Citing a study from the Princeton University Neuroscience InstituteAnne-Marie Gambelin says,


Purging clutter from your kitchen can make it easier to keep clean. When the counters are clear, it’s easier to wipe them down, prepare meals, and you feel less stress. When you cabinets have visual space, you have room to store the things you really need.

Think about ways you can clear the clutter from your kitchen. 

Free Printable Checklist

5 Tips for Maintaining a Clean Kitchen Printable @

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How to Maintain a Clean Kitchen

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  1. Your kitchen renovation looks amazing, and I love your butler's pantry space! Thank you for the tips and encouragement for keeping a clean kitchen. I agree that it is a pleasure to walk into a clean kitchen each morning. It doesn't stay that way for long with breakfast and packing lunches and such, but it doesn't take too long to return it to order once the house has cleared out for the day. :)
  2. I started with the book 'Ordering your Private World' by Gordon Macdonald. From him I learned to pare down n keep only what I needed. Started with my kitchen and got rid of every double or item I didn't use or need. Still have room on my shelves after 38 years. It is truly freeing!
  3. Such a beautiful kitchen you have. Love your kitchen color choice decoration everything you have done in your kitchen. As a housewife I want to say, this one looks like my dream kitchen. I will keep it in my mind. Thanks for the sharing this amazing project with all of us.