6 Kitchen Cleaning Tips That Take Five Minutes or Less – Real Simple

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 moves come in. Scrub the sink in between Zoom calls, clear 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. Tackle one as you're waiting for the water to boil or while you're on the phone with a friend.
RELATED: How to Clean the Grossest Spots in Your Kitchen
First, if you don't already own a pan scraper, you'll want to make the $12 investment in a set 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.
When you're busy, it's easy to overlook all of the 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 fix.
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, start by vacuuming 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 that wasn't cleaned up in the moment, those stains will get wiped away now.
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 in between conference calls to clear out the vegetable crisper drawer, tossing out or composting any old food scraps. Wipe down the compartment with a damp cloth to remove any residue. Then use a disinfecting wipe to help kill the Salmonella, listeria, and mold that may be lurking there.
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 one quart of warm water. Let it sit for a couple minutes, then rinse and wash with dishwashing liquid and warm water. Rinse thoroughly, then dry completely to prevent rust.
This kitchen cleaning mini move 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 onto 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.

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