How to Clean a REALLY Dirty Kitchen


I have a confession… I can get a bit obsessive when I am in the middle of a project. Last week I helped out some with a friend’s baby shower and I also made several gifts for her. It was so much fun, but my house… it kind of fell to pieces. Sadly, this is a regular occurrence when I get wrapped up in something new, but this time things really got away from me. Anemic and seven months pregnant, my energy is very limited. I knew I needed to do something different if I was going to get things under control without completely exhausting myself, so I curled up on the sofa and made a plan.

The first room to tackle was the kitchen, for obvious reasons…

Terrifying, I know. This is the room in our house where you can quickly see the “snowball” effect. One dirty dish on the counter becomes a counter full of dirty dishes in no time. I came up with a wonderful maintenance routine, but before I could get that going again I had to slay the kitchen monster. To see how long it would really take to clean my kitchen when it’s at it’s worst, I timed each step. (With my iron levels so low, I did rest in between several steps, but normally I would have just gone straight through).

  • Step 1: Empty the dishwasher (1 ½ minutes) and the dish drainer (5 minutes- there were tons of little things to reassemble and put away).
  • Step 2: Reload and start dishwasher, if full (4 minutes)
  • Step 3: Scrape/rinse any hand-wash dishes that need it and spray them with some homemade cleaner (1 minute)
  • Step 4: Very quickly wipe crumbs off the counters and spray counters with cleaner (1/2 minute)
  • Step 5: Hand wash dishes from the smallest to the largest (10 minutes- there were a lot of small lids and bottles, so this took nearly twice as long as normal)
  • Step 6: Wipe counters and sink (1 minute- letting the cleaner work on the grime while I did the dishes made this super easy! No scrubbing needed!)
  • Step 7: Put out a fresh hand towel and dish cloth, if desired (just a few seconds)

Now, let’s take another look…

Ahhhh, so much better! And it only took 23 minutes, which I broke into two sessions just over 10 minutes each. And, that was for a really, really neglected kitchen. Most days would take well under 20 minutes, which is encouraging.

As I mentioned before, I came up with a maintenance plan that really works well for us at this point in our lives (that’s the “preggo mama with a three-year-old” stage).

  1. Every morning while breakfast is cooking, I empty the dishwasher and dish drainer
  2. Throughout the day we either put dishes right in the dishwasher or hand wash them
  3. After dinner, I start the dishwasher and finish up any hand-wash dishes
  4. Right before bed I put out a new hand towel and dish rag

When we follow that plan, it is amazingly simple! When we don’t, I end up with the kitchen from the first pictures.

For more info on creating your own routines to help keep your homemaking on track, check out this new resource!

Now, on to the bathrooms

5 thoughts on “How to Clean a REALLY Dirty Kitchen

  1. my kitchen is double the size and very messy. im 7.5months pregnant and pelvis has been giving me serious pain troubles. thanks for showing that it is indeed possible to clean if i break the job up!!!

    • You’re so welcome, Deborah! I know exactly how you feel. With my first baby, I had to have my hubby wrap my hips with a huge ace bandage just so I could walk! All those ligaments loosened up and something started grating around in there– ouch! I hope the pain goes away quickly! Hang in there– soon you’ll have that precious little baby and all the pregnancy aches and pains will just be a memory. 🙂

  2. Rebecca Jones says:

    My mom died 4 years ago and my husband 6 years ago. I haven’t had a clean house in 4 years but now I feel I’m not alone and am start tomorrow. Kitchen first bsthrooms, laundry room, living room bed rooms. Thanks.

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