Kitchen Cleaning in Less Than 20 Minutes

Kitchen Cleaning in Less Than 20 Minutes ::

Once a week, I clean our kitchen.  And for the 62 minutes after I’m finished when we’re not in it, all is right with the world.

Having a scheduled time to do this each week is what allows me to walk away from a stove covered in grease and a microwave caked in exploded food.  Because I know that it won’t be like that indefinitely.  Having this routine provides the simultaneous freedom of not being held captive by mess or the guilt to clean the mess.

But as much as I love having a clean kitchen, actually doing it is not my favorite task.  So I’ve had to find a way to do it quickly and get the most reward for the least amount of work. #storyofmylife

Weekly Kitchen Cleaning in a Flash

Wash out the sink

Scrub & rinse the sink.  Put the drains in the dishwasher.

Kitchen Cleaning in Less Than 20 Minutes ::

Wipe Down Surfaces

The verb “wipe down” is very carefully chosen to describe this task.  I use a Norwex EnviroCloth for all of my kitchen cleaning (except the sink…… although as I’m typing this, I’m not sure why….).  Using this cloth means that water and the cloth are the only two tools I need to clean my entire kitchen.  No messing with multiple bottles, sprays, rinsing and all the stuff that takes time that I don’t want to spend on cleaning.

In our kitchen, surfaces include: Window ledge, Faucet, Countertops, Backsplash and Appliance fronts.

Start at the top and work your way down.  Our window ledge is above the countertop, so that get’s wiped off first and the dirt from the ledge is pushed on to the counter.  When the counters are wiped off, everything gets pushed to the floor.

For the countertops, anything siting on the countertop is moved (another reason to keep kitchen counters clear!) and wiped underneath, then moved back.

Our appliances are stainless steel and the Norwex rag works great for those too.  It works best if the rag is rung out well and, truthfully, the Norwex Polish Rag works best on stainless steel because it doesn’t leave streaks.  Oh well.  We live here.  Streaks and all.

Kitchen Cleaning in Less Than 20 Minutes ::

Wipe Down Stove Top

For a gas stove, remove the grates & burner tops and wipe off all of the hardened food.  I scrub what will come off with the EnviroCloth and call it good.  Once or twice a year, when I deep clean the kitchen, I will scrub the grates (with a specific cleaner that is made for the ceramic) and use a more abrasive cleaner for the stubborn spots on the stove top.

Kitchen Cleaning in Less Than 20 Minutes ::

Clean Microwave

This is my favorite hack.  Before wiping anything else down, cut up 1-2 lemons and put them in a microwave-safe bowl (or measuring cup) and fill it with water.  Put it in the microwave for 5 minutes.  The steam loosens caked on food and the lemon smells divine.

Remove the lemon water and wipe out the microwave – remembering to start at the top and work down so that you don’t have to repeat cleaning a surface.

Kitchen Cleaning in Less Than 20 Minutes ::

Kitchen Cleaning in Less Than 20 Minutes ::

Wipe Down Refrigerator Shelves

This is not a full clean out of your fridge.  Just move stuff around as you wipe to get most of the surfaces.  Good enough is good enough in this case.

Wipe Floor Mat

We have a Wellness Mat in front of our kitchen sink that gets picked up off the floor one time a week and this is it.  Once I have no more uses for my rag, the floor mat is the last item that rag cleans.  The Wellness Mat is a non-porous material, so it cleans very easily.  If you have a different kind of mat in front of your sink that requires laundering to get it clean, toss it in the washing machine.

Clean the Garbage Disposal

Remember the lemon water that cleaned your microwave?  It’s not done working yet.  Pour the contents into the disposal and run for a long time with lots of cold water.  The lemons deodorize any residual food smells.  For extra credit, toss in a few ice cubes to sharpen the disposal blades.

Kitchen Cleaning in Less Than 20 Minutes ::

Clean Floors

Now that everything that used to sit on a surface in your kitchen has been wiped on to your floors, it’s time to take care of that.  Sweep (or, in our case, vacuum) the floors.  This is part of my daily cleaning, but on kitchen-cleaning day, if I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I will bust out the crevice tool and get in those hard to reach nooks and crannies.

Kitchen Cleaning in Less Than 20 Minutes ::

Total, this takes 20 minutes (if I’m not interrupted – which almost never happens).

The kitchen is 90% clean when I’m done which is good enough for me for everyday life.  This routine has helped me find the balance between taking care of what we have and maintaining it, but not being a slave to a perfectly clean kitchen.

I enjoy being in our kitchen and cooking a meal for my family.  And when I make a huge mess, I do the dishes and wait until Monday morning to take care of the rest.

Kitchen Cleaning in Less Than 20 Minutes ::

If you’re feeling ambitious and want to deep clean your refrigerator, start here.  Or, get the inspiration for a cleaning routine here.  

7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean

My house is never completely clean.

A combination of my preferences and our family’s schedule don’t lend itself to one ‘house-cleaning day’.  So, I do a little bit a few days a week; Monday is laundry & a monthly chore, Wednesday is kitchen & bathrooms, Thursday is mopping and Friday is vacuum or dust.

This system works for me, so for that reason, I like it.  However, it means that there is never one time when my entire house is clean.  The bathroom & kitchen surfaces are sparkly clean on Wednesday afternoons, but the floors in those rooms are nasty.

I’ve learned to be okay with it.  Because our house doesn’t look dirty.  

By doing a few small things each day, my house looks and feels (mostly) clean.

The best part?  It takes 25 minutes – max – each day.

1 – Make the Bed

I don’t know what it is about a made bed, but it holds magical powers.  Even when it’s surrounded by strewn clothes and dust bunnies, straightened blankets and propped up pillows amidst the chaos bring a sense of calm and accomplishment.

Make Your Bed - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean

Do it as soon as you can after getting up.  It will help build your momentum.

2 – Empty the Dishwasher

We have reached the stage of adulthood where we run the dishwasher once a day.  I remember a time in my early 20’s and I was talking with friends (who were the age I am now) about how they ran their dishwasher every day.  I couldn’t wrap my brain around it.  How could one family possibly dirty that many dishes in 24 hours?!

It happens.

As part of our evening routine, we run the dishwasher after supper.  It is finished by the time we go to bed, so we open it and pull the shelves out to let it air dry overnight.

Having an empty dishwasher makes breakfast clean up faster.  More importantly, it leaves no excuse not to put that morning’s breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, which means you don’t start the day with the sink and counter piled up with dirty dishes.

Empty the dishwasher - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean

Empty the dishwasher - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean

I do both of these tasks before my children wake up and before the swirl of morning craziness begins.  This helps me maintain my sanity.

3 – Wipe Down Kitchen  Counters

After clearing the table and putting all of the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down your kitchen surfaces.  I don’t use a cleaner because I use my Norwex rag, but you most certainly could use a countertop cleaner if that’s what you prefer.  Push all of the food and crumbs on the floor.  You’ll deal with those soon.

Wipe down kitchen counters - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean

4 – Supper Prep

(This has nothing to do with a  clean house, but it doing this in the morning will pay off later in the day)

I am a huge proponent of meal planning.  No matter which method you choose, just do it.  Your grocery bill and evening self will thank you.

By knowing what you are making for supper that night, you can do whatever prep is necessary in the morning to make your evening go that much smoother.

More often than not, for me, this is simply pulling meat out of the freezer to thaw.  Sometimes it’s pulling bread dough out to rise.  It can be that simple.  Or, if you prefer, you can do all of your chopping in the morning to cut down on the time it takes to get supper on the table that night.

Do Supper Prep in the morning - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean

This is one more place where my mantra – whatever can be done sooner, DO IT! – is appropriate.

5 -Vacuum Floors

We have the Dyson D8 Animal cordless vacuum, and this bad boy gets used daily.  Our dark floors show everything and we have hardwood on the entire main floor, so having vacuumed floors makes  a huge difference in whether our house feels clean or not.

From after breakfast until before lunch, our floors look pretty good.  After lunch, the effects of a 2 and 4 year-old are visible under the kitchen counter and by the door into the house.  But those crumbs and dirt can wait until tomorrow to be taken care of.  So, if you want to see a clean floor, come in the morning.

Vacuum Floors - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean

6 – Wipe Down Bathroom Counters

This is a new addition to my morning routine.  With four people now brushing their teeth twice a day and an accumulation of overspray from my various hair products, wiping down the counters goes a long way in making the once-a-week cleaning last.  The best part about this task is that most times I delegate it to my 4 year-old and she just thinks it’s the greatest job on earth.

Wipe down bathroom counters - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean

7 – Open Window Shades (If it’s nice outside, open windows)

When my husband and I first got married, this drove him nuts.  Opening our shades and letting all of that natural light in was a natural mood booster for me.  It was my way of feeling like our house was ‘open’.

Open Windows or Window Coverings - 7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean

Now that I’m home all day with the kids, this is a must for me.  There are days when we don’t leave the house, but at least I can see the outside world.  And the warmth and sunshine pour in and it warms my soul.

And our house on a cold, Minnesota day.


I follow this routine 4-5 days a week.  Sometimes, I need to sleep a few more minutes, so the bed doesn’t get made and the dirty dishes accumulate into piles while they wait for their spot in the dishwasher.  And some days, my kids need extra reading time, so the wiping of bathroom counters gets cut off of the list.

This is not meant to be an inventory of how good you are at keeping your house clean, but rather, a few simple tasks that when done can make a big difference in how you feel in your own home.

You be the judge of what you need most in a day, and on the days that it’s to feel like you have taken care of your home and made it calm and enjoyable place to be, use this list as a way of accomplishing that task.

7 Things To Do Each Morning To Make Your House Look Clean







Creating a Cleaning Routine

How to Create a Customized Cleaning Routine that Works for You ::

I didn’t used to need a cleaning routine.  When something looked dirty, I cleaned it – and by look dirty, I mean a visible pink ring in the toilet bowl or the ability to write a note in the dust on the shelf.  Not ideal.

After my daughter was born the time gap between seeing the pink ring in the toilet and cleaning it grew dramatically longer than it had been before she was born.  I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated at my inability to keep up with housework.  I’m sure you’ve never been there.  (sarcasm…)

Once I quit my job to stay home with my daughter, I decided that this was something that I needed to do better.  I looked at all kinds of cleaning schedules on Pinterest, but it was hard because no one person’s cleaning tasks are the same as another’s.  The more I looked at other people’s routines, the more I became convinced that the best cleaning plan is the individualized one.  We all have different homes, schedules, number of people in our homes and hobbies, so it’s very unlikely that one person’s schedule would work for the next.

Other people’s lists are a great resource, however.  Instead of using them as my list, I used them as the inspiration to create my own.

How to Create a Customized Cleaning Routine that Works for You ::

How To Create A Customized Cleaning Routine

1 – Identify all of the tasks by writing them down

Start at one end of your house and think through everything that needs to be done in that room/area to make it spotless.  Do this for each room/area.

Do not get overwhelmed.  Writing them on the list does NOT mean that you have to go do all of them right now – or even anytime soon.  It simply acknowledges the task.

I was pleasantly surprised by how short (translation: manageable) my list was.

2 – Assign the frequency for each task (Daily, Bi-Weekly, Weekly, Bi-Monthly, Monthly, Seasonally, Annually).

There are two ways to look at this.  If you’re the type of person that likes to stay on top of things and doesn’t easily get overwhelmed, schedule them more than they actually need to get done (for example, I have vacuum floors as a daily task, when in reality, it should be done 4-5 times a week) and just skip it when it’s not absolutely necessary.

If you’re the type of person who gets overwhelmed by long lists of to-do’s, schedule your tasks less than they need to get done and you’re more likely to do the things on your list.

3 – Identify the blocks of time you have (or need to make) for cleaning

Make this work for you.  If you’re the type of person who likes to do a little bit at a time, then think through your day and set aside one block of time each day for cleaning.  If you would rather get it all done in one fell swoop, then figure out when that time is.

When I was working full time, I had my lunch hour, a half hour in the evening (while my husband did the bedtime routine with our daughter) and Saturday mornings.  Now that I’m home most days, I break it up between Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  As our family schedule changes, so will my cleaning routine.

4 –  Match up the chores with your cleaning times

I mentioned earlier that I was pleasantly surprised by how short and manageable my cleaning list was.  I was even more pleasantly surprised after I assigned the tasks to days.  When I realized that in order to have my house clean all the time (which it never is, but, if I stuck to this routine, realistically it could be), I had to spend an average of a 1/2 hour a day cleaning, I couldn’t believe it.  I thought, for sure, that it would take a LOT longer than that.  And I certainly didn’t think that I’d be able to stay on top of things by having days when I didn’t do anything but my daily chores.

How to Create a Customized Cleaning Routine that Works for You ::

The best part of this cleaning routine, for me, has been the freedom from feeling bad about not doing things.

Because my old “system” – or lack thereof – was reactionary, if I saw something that needed to be done and procrastinated it, I just saw it get worse and felt bad.  Now, if it’s mopping day and it doesn’t get done, I don’t feel bad because I know that I just did it last week and I will do it next week.

How to Create a Customized Cleaning Routine that Works for You ::

Try this out and let me know what works well for you.  Do you have other hurdles when trying to stay on top of this?

And, because I said that other people’s routines can be a good resource, here is my list:

How to Create a Customized Cleaning Routine that Works for You ::

p.s. Read more about my morning cleaning routine and evening cleaning routine.







Staying on Top of Laundry

I have tried all kinds of methods to stay on top of laundry.  I do about six loads of laundry a week and what works best for us is to do it all at once, usually on Saturday mornings.  Occasionally, I’ll get a head start and do a couple loads on Friday night.  With doing it in one big chunk, the biggest factor in getting it done in one day – or, ideally, in one morning – is to change out loads as soon as they’re finished.  

So, when I start a load, I pull my cell phone out of my pocket and set a timer.  If I wait to walk into the kitchen to set a timer there, I forget almost every time, and three hours later, the clothes in the washer are starting to smell musty and the clothes in the dryer are beyond wrinkled.  Ugh.  (learn from my mistakes…..).  The other nice thing about using my phone is that I almost always have it with me, so no matter where I am when the timer goes off, I hear it.  

Doing this is the difference between getting all six loads of laundry done in less than five hours and spreading the process out over the course of the next two days.  And the nerd in me can’t get enough of that sense of satisfaction that it’s 1PM on Saturday and all our clothes are clean (and sometimes even folded and put away!)

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make your timer sing a great song to you when the load is finished.  If we’re going to do laundry and have things beeping at us, you might as well make it fun, right?

Laundry Load Cheat Sheet

Laundry Load Instructions Printable ::

I am one of those people that follow clothes label instructions.  Not to the letter for each, individual garment, but generally speaking, I group my loads of laundry by washing instructions.  

For instance, we have a number of items that shouldn’t be washed with fabric softener, including our performance wear, my husband’s socks and my Norwex cleaning clothes.  I call it the “Under Armour” load, because the majority of it is our Under Armour apparel.  Truthfully, it’s the “No Fabric Softener” load.  But who wants to yell down the stairs, “I’m putting the ‘No Fabric Softener’ load in the wash.  Do you have anything else that needs to be added to it?” Me either.  So ‘Under Armour’ it is.

I cannot fill my limited RAM with remembering the variables for each load.  

In our house, laundry is mostly my responsibility, but my husband will often graciously pitch in and check a few loads off of my to-do list.  He told me once that there have been many times when he would think to start a load of laundry, but couldn’t remember washing and drying instructions.  

I went straight from that conversation to our computer and created a Laundry Load Cheat sheet – a spreadsheet with washing and drying instructions for each load.  

As many times as I’ve done our laundry, I am amazed at how often I reference this sheet – hanging above our washer – for instructions.  

Laundry How To -

Laundry How To -

*These are not Pinterest-approved photos.  Those who are more creative and decoratively-inclined than I am would put it in a cute frame and hang other cuteness on the wall.  I recognize that there’s nothing cute about this.  It’s all about purpose.

Remembering each load’s specifications is one less thing I have to commit to memory.  And, my amazing husband uses it frequently as well! 

Get the printable here  and let me know how it’s helpful to you.

Laundry Load Instructions Printable ::