How to take the chore out of kitchen cleaning

Make time in the kitchen feel more of a pleasure and less of a mess.

For many families, the kitchen feels like the emotional heart of the home – the place for conversation, cooking together or evenings spent pouring hearts out around the table with a couple of glasses to hand.

However, with all the activity comes a lot of clutter and accumulated dirt, so we can end up spending an enormous amount of time cleaning in there.

Credit: Shutterstock/Evgeny Atamaneko

According to research commissioned by kitchen manufacturer Howdens, the average adult predicts they do 300 steps a day in the kitchen alone, and 41% of the 2,000 adults questioned say it’s still the room where they spend the most time.

How to ease the burden of kitchen cleans

Use ‘another room basket’

An easy way to return items to their proper home

Sue Spencer, professional organiser, highly recommends the benefits of ‘another room basket’. At the end of every day, take a look around the kitchen for anything that doesn’t belong there, as the hub of the home can easily become the catch all place for items on their way somewhere.

When quickly looking at her own kitchen, Spencer found parcels to be posted, letters and suntan lotion. Having a basket to hand allows you to sweep the rogue items you find at the end of each day and redistribute them to their correct homes.

Credit: Shutterstock/Kostikova Natalia

Clean as you go

A few minutes each day is all you need

If time is not an issue, some of us automatically do this without even thinking. But have you thought about what you could achieve while just waiting for the kettle to boil or the oven timer to ping?

Simply wiping down a few cupboard doors or picking the inside of one cupboard to declutter can make it far easier to stay on top of the bigger weekly clean.

Store food items cleverly

Streamline your storage

Even dried or tinned goods, which you would imagine to be clean, can benefit from being placed in a storage container.

Why not decant dried items such as pasta or pulses into stylish glass mason jars, or simply pop tins into a clear plastic basket so you can easily take them in and out of cupboards to clean?

One basket to move  compared to five individual jars is always going to be easier to deal with and the process of reorganising will allow you to check sell-by-dates and remove anything no longer edible.

John Lewis stocks a good range of kitchen storage including these clear baskets and mason jars.


Credit: John Lewis

The same applies for items in the fridge – opening the door to a fridge where items are contained in storage trays makes it far easier to keep on top of drips and spills. Companies such as A Place for Everything are a great place to start your new storage collection.

Time-saving liners

For capturing grime

We spoke to expert cleaning company, Merry Maids to find out if there was any swift way to deal with the grime-trap that is our ovens, with the company keen to impress upon us the time-saving value of liners and trays.

These simple products can be placed not just inside the oven to stop things getting messy so quickly, but all around the kitchen.

They also won’t add much – if any – clutter to the inside of your culinary storage spots and can save loads of time when it comes to spills or errant food.

Credit: Lakeland

Lining ideas

  • Line baking or roasting trays with foil to minimize clean up
  • Apply shelf liner to the insides of your cabinets so you can easily wipe up spills
  • Make easy-to-clean refrigerator shelf and drawer liners from plastic placemats.
  • Store meat, poultry or seafood on a tray inside of your refrigerator so juices that run out don’t contaminate other foods. (Just make sure you clean that tray frequently.)
  • Invest in reusable oven liners so you don’t have to worry about scraping off baked-on grime if the lasagne bubbles over

Be clever with your waste

Investing in bins isn’t a rubbish idea

In the case of kitchen bins, too often we make the mistake of buying small so that it can be hidden away out of sight. This may work if you have more than one hiding space for different types of waste, or if you had a kitchen designed with several integrated bins.

If not, then embrace the waste. Designers have recognised that customers need not only a functional but also an aesthetically pleasing bin .

If asked to recommend one company that manages to make even waste look stylish, I’d always answer Joseph Joseph. Although the brand may err towards the premium price bracket, its sleek, minimalistic, cleverly designed products have both form and function.

This 40L combi waste and recycling bin gives you three separate compartments for food, recycling and general waste. With its tall stacking design and inbuilt odour control, it would sit comfortably against a wall or at the side of kitchen units. It’s a great solution when space is at a premium.

Credit: Joseph Joseph

Clear out your cupboards

Declutter for maximum space

If you find yourself faced with overflowing shelves of crockery, cookware, utensils and a plethora of mugs every time you open a cupboard or drawer – a sight which is enough to put anyone off cleaning – put aside some time to sort and discard.

Clear some space and empty all the cupboards and drawers in one go. Place each item into a sub-category such as mugs, roasting trays and saucepans and it will suddenly become easier to see quite how many of each item you have.

Be realistic about which ones you never use and if they are still usable, donate them to a charity shop. Someone else’s unwanted goods are often someone else’s treasure.

Credit: Shutterstock/Kostikova Natalia

Maybe it’s time for a new kitchen?

If  you’ve decided that however much spring cleaning and organising you do, what you really need is a new kitchen, we’ve called in an expert for some more advice.

Marissa Woodley, Category Lead for Fitted Kitchens at John Lewis, shared with us the top five areas you need to consider if your end goal is an easy-to-clean kitchen.

Maximise storage

Cupboards are key

Credit: John Lewis

Make sure you create enough storage space to not only help reduce clutter and dust, but to also keep your worksurfaces clear for easy cleaning.

If you want an open-shelved look but would rather avoid regular dusting, consider glass-fronted units.

Think streamline

Flat for faster cleaning

Credit: Victoria Plumbing

Some appliances will naturally be easier to clean than others. For example, induction hobs are perfectly flat – meaning they’re easier to wipe down than traditional hobs.

Similarly, opting for an inset sink – sitting underneath the edges of your worktop – can make for easy cleaning, as you can wipe worksurfaces straight into the basin. Belfast sinks are a good example of this.

Choose your worktop wisely

Hardwearing is your ‘must-have’ factor

Credit: John Lewis

Choosing the right worktop can make a big difference, as some materials will be more resistant to stains and scratches.

Ceramica, Corian and solid surface worktops are particularly popular choices – but laminates can also be hardwearing, without the price tag.

Tile wisely

Don’t forget the grouting

Credit: Fired Earth

Tiled surfaces are quick and easy to clean and make a great splashback. If you do opt for tiles, consider what colour grout you want to use.

Darker colours can hide stains – but also provide a really striking look if used with lighter tiles.

Get turned-on by taps

They’re a secret kitchen agent

Credit: John Lewis

The humble kitchen tap might not seem like a focus, but there are lots of options which can help clean your kitchen. For example, some have a pull-out spout, so you can aim water around the sink. Others can offer instant boiling water, so you needn’t have a kettle on the worktop which helps to reduce clutter.

Sarah Harley

Written by Sarah Harley she/her


Since first picking up a paintbrush and experiencing the joy of re-decorating her bedroom in a questionable red, white and grey scheme as a young teenager, Sarah Harley was hooked on the world of interior design. This obsession even led to a real life ‘Grand Designs’ project in 2005 when she donned a pink hard hat and appeared on TV screens, project managing the renovation and extension of a Grade II listed 17th century Folly in South Wales.

Throughout her career, Sarah has gained an array of experience in several different roles, ranging from copywriting, PR, events management and photography to interior design and home staging. With her two passions being the written word and the joys of a beautifully designed home, Sarah’s mission is to open the door on the world of interiors, inviting readers in to help them work their way through the vast choice of products, ideas and trends so that their own homes can reach their full potential.

Away from work, Sarah fills her Pinterest boards with more ideas, dreams of where to travel, takes photographs and loves being by the sea. She has two sons and if she absorbed everything they said would also be a football expert. The fact is she is often more interested in the colour and design of the kit – but don’t tell them that.

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