Truman’s 12 Down-and-Dirty Kitchen Cleaning Tips

At Truman’s we love the old line: “There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t.”

But seriously, in the kitchen, there really are two kinds of people: Those who immediately put the milk away after they use it, and those who leave it sitting out; those who clean up after every meal, and those who leave everything for later; those who confine the clutter of small appliances to their cupboards, and those who keep everything within reach on the counter, as a guilt-inducing reminder to juice, mix, grind, slow cook or do whatever else they resolved to do at some point in their lives.

Far be it from us to judge. If truth be told, there are some among us at Truman’s who definitely fall in the “mañana” category. However, in the interests of kitchen cleanliness, we feel obliged to encourage everyone to put the milk away right now, always clean up after cooking and keep counters clear of clutter, small appliance and otherwise. (By otherwise, we mean anything you don’t use at least every other day, which clearly exempts anything coffee-related.)

Once your counter is clear, not only will you feel inspired to cook great meals, thereby becoming a better person, but you’ll also find it easier to keep the counter spotless with Truman’s Everything and the Kitchen Sink. (To read about the “Everything” we cover with this cleaner, check out the product page.)

So tip #12 is to keep the clutter under control and tips 1 through 11 will keep the heart of your home sparkly clean and pumping at full capacity: 

  1. Once and done: Start at the top and work down. This applies to everywhere you clean. Before you start scrubbing, look up. Are you going to clean there, too? Then start there, or else you’ll end up doing everything twice! 
  2. Time’s a-basting: Use your cooking time wisely by cleaning while you wait for something to boil or bake. It’s easy to refocus your energy on a little scrubbing when you’re already working in the kitchen.
  3. Become “om-dishent”: Teach yourself to view doing the dishes as a meditative exercise. Or if you have a dishwasher, keep it from sitting idle.
  4. Remember getting brown paper packages tied up in strings? Neither do we, but brown paper is still one of our favorite things. If your upper cabinets don’t go to the ceiling, cover the tops with brown paper. That will prevent the greasy, grimy dust from accumulating and coagulating. Ugh. And if you want to use that space to display some of your other favorite things, choose items that clean up easily. (Hint: baskets aren’t a great idea.)
  5. Be a “drain brain”: Flush your kitchen drain with boiling water 2-3 times a month, and never, ever pour grease or oil down. Have a garbage disposal? It doesn’t clean itself. Scrub it with an old toothbrush and baking soda, then run lemon rinds and ice through to keep it fresh and sharp.
  6. On the chopping block: Scrub butcher-block counters and other wood surfaces with soap and water after each use, and deep-clean them often with a mix of lemon and kosher salt.
  7. It’s tea-towel time. Keep them clean and at the ready, so you’ll use fewer paper towels. Though we don’t generally encourage the collecting of anything, we can make an exception for tea towels. They’re useful, make great travel souvenirs, and no matter how often you wash them, they hold their memories. #futurefamilyheirlooms
  8. Old spice belongs in the bathroom, not the kitchen. Regularly (at least every 6 months) go through your pantry and discard outdated ingredients. The first time, you might be amazed how old some of those spices are. (Best by October 2013? You gotta be kidding!) While you’re at it, take everything out and clean the shelves/racks.
  9. Ditto the refrigerator, except clean it out at least once a month. Keep an open box of baking soda inside to eliminate odors and remember to change it often. And do not let individual ketchups or condiments from carry-out meals accumulate. You’ll never, ever actually use them.
  10. Don’t become spill-bound: Wipe up any spills before they have time to settle in, no matter where they happen, but especially on the stove or in the fridge. They’re so much easier to clean before they dry and harden. (That sounds like a metaphor for lots of things.)
  11. The low-down dirt: Sweep your floors every evening to prevent ground-in dirt and other problems. Remember, a morsel a day keeps mice saying “hooray!” (OK, we made that up, but it’s true.) And regularly clean your floors with, you guessed it, Truman’s Floors Truly.