8 Mini Tasks for a Cleaner Kitchen

Each one takes five minutes or less.

Sometimes, an all-out, hours-long cleaning spree is what's necessary to clear away all the gunk, grime, and crumbs that have collected in the kitchen. Other times, you only have a few minutes to spare. That's where these mini tasks come in.

Various Jars By Sink In Kitchen At Home
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Whether you're scrubbing the sink between errands or clearing away fingerprints when your little one (finally) goes down for a nap, these quick cleaning tasks can all be done in five minutes or less. You can even tackle one as you're waiting for water to boil or while you're on the phone with a friend.

Clear the Gunk Around the Sink

Wooden Bamboo Pan Scraper

If you don't already own a pan scraper set, you can make the $12 investment right now. Then, reserve two or three for scraping burnt-on food off pots and pans, and use one for cleaning around the kitchen.

The next time you have five minutes to burn, grab the pan scraper and remove the gunk that has inevitably collected around the edge of the kitchen sink and faucet (being careful not to scrape away the caulk at the same time). The durable, pointed edge of the bamboo pan scraper will remove weeks' worth of grime in one swipe. File this under "gross yet satisfying" kitchen cleaning tasks.

Remove Scuff Marks

Magic Eraser

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When you're busy, it's easy to overlook scuff marks, sauce splatters, and grimy fingerprints that have collected on the walls around your kitchen. Reach for a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and take five minutes for an inspection. Check out the area around the stovetop—a prime spot for splatters.

Then look at the doorframes, especially down low where kids' Cheeto-dusted fingerprints can reach. Take a peek at the front of your kitchen cabinets—especially if you have white cabinets, you'll likely find some smudges around the knobs and door handles. Don't worry, it's nothing Mr. Clean can't handle.

Wipe Under the Refrigerator

Clean Under Fridge

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The front edge of the refrigerator, where the appliance meets the floor, tends to collect dirt, crumbs, hair, and fur as debris gets pushed into this crevice.

For a quick clean, vacuum along this edge using the nozzle attachment of your vacuum. Then, use a damp cloth to wipe along this area. If you have a pet who sheds, you're sure to collect tons of fur. Plus, if you or your kids have spilled anything next to the fridge, those stains will get wiped away.

Disinfect the Vegetable Crisper

vegetable crisper

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According to a 2021 study by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator is the germiest spot in the kitchen. Take five minutes to clear out the crisper drawer, tossing out or composting any old food scraps. Wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any residue. Then use a disinfecting wipe to kill Salmonella, listeria, and mold that may be lurking there.

Clean Your Can Opener

Can Opener

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Can you guess number four on the NSF's list of germiest spots in the kitchen? It's the unassuming can opener. Most of us probably wouldn't expect this kitchen tool to contain traces of Salmonella, E. coli, yeast, and mold, but the study's results say otherwise.

To disinfect your can opener, spritz it with a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach stirred into 1 quart of warm water. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then rinse and wash with dishwashing liquid and warm water. Rinse thoroughly, then dry completely to prevent rust.

Make the Hardware Shine

kitchen drawer knob

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This task has two goals: 1) remove germs on cabinet pulls and handles, and 2) leave them sparkling.

Start by wiping down each knob or handle with a disinfecting wipe—swipe each one so it's wet, then move on to the next. Letting the solution air-dry allows the wipe to work its germ-fighting magic. Unless your hardware contains aluminum or copper, you can shine each knob with a clean cloth dampened with distilled white vinegar. This will remove fingerprints and water marks so your hardware shines.

Wash Your Towels

hanging kitchen towels

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OK, technically this task takes as long as your typical laundry cycle. But throwing your dirty kitchen and dish towels in the wash only takes a minute. (If you have a washable kitchen rug, you can throw that in there, too.) If you have backup towels on hand, hang those up in place of the dirty ones. Swapping in fresh, clean towels can quickly make your kitchen look cleaner.

Wipe Down Your Countertops 

kitchen countertops

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Even if your countertops look clean—with no big pieces of food or crumbs left behind—there’s likely to be some grime and food buildup sticking around. Use your favorite store-bought or homemade cleaner and a cloth to give your countertops a quick but thorough scrub. 

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