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Clean Kitchen After Cooking

This tip is related to clean up after eating and cooking; it took me a lifetime to learn this lesson, and it's one of those things you have to experience to believe.


I recommend that you scrape, rinse, and wash your dishes immediately after eating, whether preparing for the dishwasher or to hand wash. This will take you 10 minutes tops once you have the routine down pat, especially if you have rinsed as you cooked.

For every half hour you let the food sit on the plates and dry and grow crusty, add more time to the clean up. By the time the dishes have sat overnight, plan on a minimum of 30 minutes. If you are really remiss due to inertia for any and all reasons (illness, absence, indolence, and what have you) you can count on an hour to get the crusties off the stove top, out of the pots, etc. It is so nice to just have the kitchen clean right away after dinner, it is really worth it. Then your family can do all kinds of things in the space.


In my sister in law's house, the one who cooks is off the hook for dishes and the first adult up from the table who didn't cook starts the process. The second eligible adult continues and in minutes the kitchen is clean. Kids know to scrape plates and put them in sink or on the drainboard. My house is a mixed bag of helpers and laggers. Helping is definitely the way to go.

By pikka from Westminster, CO

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April 12, 20100 found this helpful

I always have 'rinsed/cleaned' up as I cook. Rinse pans out as you go, wipe off counter tops and stove top as you go and have a sink of water ready for after the meal to place items by category in (for example: plates stacked in one corner, bowls stacked in another, etc) and when you're finished eating you can still chill out and enjoy your meal settling in your tummy before tackling the rest. If plates need to be scraped, just leave one on the counter for the scrapings to go on to. It takes no time at all after that to wash the dishes and especially because the counters and stove top are already wiped down clean ;-)

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April 12, 20100 found this helpful

Really good advice!

And adding to Deeli's comment, at home we too were taught to clean as we cooked, and it is really the best advice anyone could follow! We always had a dishpan of vinegar water ready to receive our dishes as we finished (The vinegar seems to help the dishes rinse/come clean easier), and at the end of the meal all we really had to do was wash the dishes or load the dishwasher.

Now, in my own home, I load the dishwasher as I cook, and run its rinse cycle before going to eat. When finished eating, we put those things in and run the rinse cycle again. Before bed, I run the actual wash cycle, and I am still surprised at how much using the rinse cycle cuts down on the length of the wash cycle.

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April 13, 20100 found this helpful

Pikka, I love the way you allow for indolence!

Marg from England.

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April 13, 20100 found this helpful

Gee whiz! My mother right here on ThriftyFun! This was her mantra all my "at home" years. I REALLY hate to admit that she was right, but she was!

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April 15, 20100 found this helpful

I used to be firmly in the "indolent" category... until hubby's son the perfectionist moved in. When it's his turn to cook, he makes dishwater and washes dishes as he uses them. Then I'm responsible for washing whatever indolent hubby and I used, since even pots and pans are already washed. It's also my job to give table, stove and counters a final wipe. It actually works, lol!

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January 31, 20130 found this helpful

I end up using every bit of counter space when I am cooking and it used to seem overwhelming to me as to where to start the clean-up. Then I was watching "Golden Girls" and Rose said, to clean up, you always start at one spot and rotate around the room until it is clean. I've been using that advice ever since and it works!

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January 31, 20130 found this helpful

Wow. I have always cleaned as I cooked and assumed everyone else did as well. In our house, when we are finished eating everyone puts their own plate into the dishwasher and pitches in. Takes 5 minutes. I can't believe anyone would leave it overnight--thats just gross to me. Poster is right, it would take much longer to let it go until later, not to mention it would draw bugs and other unwanted critters....

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