Do you struggle with keeping the kitchen clean? With multiple meals, food prep, food storage, grocery shopping, and general hanging out, the kitchen is the hardest working room in the home. This requires a lot of daily cleaning and upkeep. I’ve found that the easiest way to keep the kitchen clean is to clean as I go. As tempting as it may be to ignore the dishes, leave the messy stove, pile the pans in the sink, getting in the habit of just cleaning and putting things away is the always the easiest way to keep the kitchen clean. 

Cloths & Towels 

What does it mean to clean as you go?

A question I receive at least weekly is, “How do you clean the kitchen with the Clean Mama Routine? I don’t see ‘kitchen’ on the calendar?”  Or when do you take out the garbage and and wash dishes?  Why don’t I have those things on the calendar? I created the Clean Mama Routine as a flexible place to start – every home and family has different needs. I don’t include things like taking out the garbage or emptying the dishwasher or hand washing dishes because these are things that are different from home to home. Here’s how I clean the kitchen with the Clean Mama Routine. New here? Start with the Daily Tasks and add a little bit every day – you’ll love how great it feels to have a clean kitchen every day!

Days of the Week Towels

The Clean Mama Routine is a proactive approach to cleaning, not reactive. By doing a little bit daily, weekly, and monthly, your home stays mostly clean all the time.

In the Clean Mama Routine there are 5 Daily Tasks. Chances are, these are things that you are already doing or try to do. Take time to do them consistently and you’ll see a change in your home instantly!

Daily:  I/we do these things every day – wipe counters (I use the DIY Stone Cleaning Spray), wipe kitchen table, check floors (sweep or vacuum if necessary), scrub sink (this is my Nightly Sink Scrub routine).

These tasks sprinkled through the day and during meal time/prep/clean up keep the kitchen pretty clean.

Another little thing that falls under the Daily Task of Wipe Counters, is that I keep a damp bar mop towel by the stove (on the counter) for wiping up little drips and spills as I cook. This gives me a little jump on cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and keeps clean up easy and keeps the stuck on food spills away.

What about dishes and the dishwasher? This is a Daily Task (most days, it’s multiple times a day). The kids help load/unload, we hand wash large pots and pans but I do try to put most pots and pans in the dishwasher or quickly wash them after meals. It can be discouraging to make a delicious meal and want to sit down and relax but still have dishes to wash and/or load in the dishwasher. To help us get started off on the right foot I unload the dishwasher when I’m brewing my morning coffee and I’m working with the kids to get in the habit of putting their dishes in the dishwasher right away after each meal. This help out a lot! Every once in a while if I’m feeling burned out on dishes or in an extra busy season, I’ll grab a pack of eco-friendly disposable plates and use them for a couple days while we get back on track.

In addition to the 5 Daily Tasks, there are Weekly Tasks – these are tasks that are associated with the days of the week. If this feels like a lot, start with the Daily Tasks, add one a week. Don’t worry about perfection, you’re adding a new routine to your days and it will take time. Once you get those down, the Weekly Tasks just become part of your routine and make things so much easier because you no longer need to decide what the worst part of your house is to clean, you just do the Tasks for the day. It’s proactive, not reactive – the busier you are, the better it works.


  • Vacuum floor (Wednesday) – Weekly Tasks apply to the kitchen as well.
  • Wash Floor (Thursday) – Weekly Tasks apply to the kitchen as well.
  • Wipe out refrigerator while meal planning – I typically do this on Fridays (Catch-All Day)

The Clean Mama Routine also includes Rotating Tasks (deep cleaning tasks that you work through during the year). I do these on Fridays or when it makes sense with a Weekly Task. After you’ve successfully implemented the Daily + Weekly Tasks, it’s time to learn The Rotating Tasks and Monthly Focus. We add these deep cleaning tasks to our Catch-All Friday or on a day that works best for you. You can find the full list of Rotating Tasks and the Complete Monthly Focus in the Guide to a Clean Home, Homekeeping Planner, or Homekeeping Society.

Homekeeping Planner

Here are the Rotating Tasks that are associated with cleaning the kitchen:

  • Monthly (usually every other week in our house): wipe appliances. I also include wiping cabinet fronts with this task, monthly, or as needed. The interiors don’t typically get such a thorough cleaning on a monthly basis, but I like to wipe or vacuum out crumbs and dust as needed and definitely in February for the Monthly Focus (keep reading for more on that). I also clean the dishwasher monthly and at the very least quarterly. Here’s how I do that it’s a simple process that only uses vinegar to clean.
  • January/April/July/October: clean oven
  • January: light fixtures
  • July: clean fridge/freezer

Pantry Organizing Tips

The Clean Mama Routine also has a Monthly Focus each month. The Monthly Focus is designed to be a chance to do some deep cleaning and organizing on a specific area of the home.

  • January’s Monthly Focus is a Whole House Declutter
  • February’s Monthly Focus is the Kitchen – this is essentially a full kitchen re-order and re-organization. I get a jump on it in January for the Whole House Declutter, but definitely do a full kitchen declutter and reorganization. It’s the perfect time for doing this – after the holiday cooking and baking and before spring/summer.
  • March’s Monthly Focus is Spring Cleaning – any kitchen tasks that didn’t get taken care of during February get a little extra care – this includes things like vacuuming/washing baseboards, washing windows, cleaning window treatments, etc.

Every night we do a kitchen quick clean – a quick clean and reset of the kitchen. This is a simple routine that gets the kitchen clean and reset quickly:

  • Remove dishes from table and stack/rinse and set on counter.
  • Wash dishes — load/run the dishwasher or hand wash.
  • Wipe counters.
  • Wipe kitchen table and chairs
  • Wipe stovetop if necessary.
  • Scrub the kitchen sink with the Nightly Sink Scrub.
  • Clean appliance fronts.
  • Sweep or vacuum floor.
  • Put out fresh dish/hand towels.

Favorite Kitchen Supplies

What can you add in to your kitchen cleaning routine? Start by adding one thing and gradually add a little more and before long, your kitchen will feel like a completely different place!

Looking for more kitchen cleaning inspiration? Check out the Guide to Kitchens – it’s complete with kitchen cleaning checklists, DIY recipes and routines for a clean kitchen.