12 Things You Should Never Do When Cleaning Your Kitchen

You've been warned.

Any person raised by a Southern mama knows that cleaning the kitchen is just one of those things that must be done. Dirty dishes must be washed, crumbs have to be cleared from the counters, and floors need to be swept. But exactly how you go about cleaning is a bit of a personal choice. Some people choose to clean their kitchen daily, putting in ten minutes every evening to keep everything tidy. Others prefer to put in a solid hour of work on the weekends, leaving the kitchen gleaming and ready for the week ahead. Or you might be the type of cleaner who likes to tidy up using five easy, natural ingredients, but there are others who don't feel like their kitchen is thoroughly clean unless they pull out the Lysol and bleach for a serious scrub. And of course many of us like to outsource the entire thing! However you chose to clean, you want to do it right and you want to use your time efficiently. Avoid these 12 kitchen mistakes for a gleaming, sanitized kitchen in the shortest amount of time.

Gloved Hand Spraying the Kitchen Counter with Cleaner

Don't Clean Your Kitchen Sponge

We rely on our sponges for all kinds of kitchen jobs, from cleaning precious china plates to scrubbing out the microwave. Selecting the right scrubber for the job is your first step in sponge smarts, and the second is knowing when to toss it. A dirty sponge or cloth will just spread bacteria. There's no point in trying to clean your sponge in the dishwasher—and definitely don't microwave it! Instead, save the sponges for jobs that require them, and for everyday wiping down, swap the sponges out for rags, and toss them in the wash daily.

Don't Thoroughly Rinse Your Dishes Before Putting Them in the Dishwasher

We love a cleaning tip that actually encourages less cleaning. Despite what you may have learned as a child, don't rinse every speck of food off of your plates before loading them in the dishwasher. Thanks to advances in technology, modern dishwashers work better when you skip that step entirely. Pros say this is because spotless dishes trigger your dishwasher to run a shorter cycle (that may not leave you with the sparkling-clean results you crave), and that rinsing beforehand is said to waste an estimated 6,000 gallons of water a year!

Don't Use Harsh Cleansers on Granite Countertops

It's tempting to spray and wipe your way around the kitchen as quickly as possible to get it over with, but take a minute to consider what type of surface you're tackling, and how best to clean and product it. Citric acid-based cleaners, vinegar, bleach, or other abrasive products can damage your granite countertops. Instead, follow our instructions on how to clean a granite countertop the right way.

Don't Skip the Degreaser

If you've been making hush puppies, whipping up spaghetti sauce, frying chicken, baking with butter, or cooking almost anything else, you undoubtedly have grease on your appliances, counters, and cabinets. It's unsightly, sticky, and it traps dust, making an even yuckier kitchen mess. Stay ahead of the grime by regularly degreasing after cooking. Pick your favorite degreasing product or natural cleaning solution, but just make sure to regularly take steps to get rid of the grime—and don't forget to get under your removable stove burners!

Don't Ignore the Inside of Your Dishwasher

Yes, you need to clean the inside of your dishwasher. Don't worry—this is one of those jobs that only need to be done once a month. But getting rid of the gunk that can clog your dishwasher filters, sprayers, and drains is crucial to getting the most dish-cleaning power from your machine. Here's how to do it.

Don't Forget To Clean the Coffee Pot

Nothing should come between you and your first cup of coffee. Especially hard-water deposits, residue, and other gunk that can build up over time in your coffee maker. Yuck! That crud jams up the works of your coffee maker, slows brewing down, and impacts the taste of your morning brew. Here's how to clean a coffee pot.

Don't Clean the Kitchen Floor First

Start with the dishes, wipe down cabinets and appliances, clean the counters, and then clean up anything that has fallen onto the floor. If a broom is your go-to for floor cleaning, try another tool like a vacuum or wet mop to get a more thoroughly clean kitchen floor in less time.

Don't Forget the Kitchen Sink

Your sink may look spick-and-span, but looks can be deceiving. Between dirty dishes, bacteria from raw ingredients, and hand washing, kitchen sinks (and the tap and spout too) are the most germ-filled place in your house and need to be scrubbed, disinfected, and sanitized. Here's how to clean your kitchen sink.

Don't Skip Knobs, Handles, and Switches

You wash your hands in the kitchen, so be sure to also wash everything that your hands touch in the kitchen. The knobs on the stove, the refrigerator handles, the drawer pulls, and the kitchen light switches all need a good scrub and disinfecting.

Don't Put Knives in the Dishwasher

You're on a kitchen-cleaning roll, disinfecting, degreasing, loading everything in sight into the dishwasher—stop! Take that dirty kitchen knife to the sink. You want to keep your kitchen knives sharp and your handles in good shape, so do not put them into the dishwasher. Instead, hand wash and be sure to dry stainless or carbon steel right afterward, as they need to be stored dry.

Don't Underestimate the Power of a Vacuum Cleaner

Whether you're cleaning your kitchen cabinets, getting crumbs out from under your stove, or tackling that spot behind the refrigerator, the vacuum cleaner, especially if it has a wand attachment for hard-to-reach spots, is a powerful tool.

Don't Rely Solely on Your Oven's Self-Cleaning Function

That self-cleaning oven function seems easy enough, but you may want to skip it. Smoke and fumes can be an issue, and the process may not remove all of the gunk. Even if you do fire it up once in awhile, you still need to clean your oven (and that greasy oven door) on occasion. Here's how.

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