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Jan 3, 2007 05:28 PM

Clean up tips/secrets?

Most of us love to cook. Clean up? Not so much.

I keep a paper towel/damp sponge on the counter & wipe up as I cook.

I also put utensils, bowls etc in the d/w as I cook.

Both make clean up quicker & easier but I wonder if others have more and/or better clean up tricks & tips...Please do share...

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  1. Mary someone who loves to eat but doesn't cook. My husband is far, far better at cleaning up than I'll ever be and he thinks it's a fair trade.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cheryl_h

      My husband is also handles the kitchen clean-up. He cleans as I mess up when I'm preparing a meal that involves lots of bowls/pans/utensils. But he also does the after-dinner clean-up, so I sometimes find myself lingering at the dining room table with my final glass of wine while he slings a dish towel over his shoulder, clears the dishes and sets to work. Hubby thinks it's a fair price to pay for eating well at home.

      1. re: CindyJ

        Your hubby takes my breath away....

        1. re: OCAnn

          LOL! He tells me that's a common reaction when he tells women he works with about his role in our equal opportunity kitchen. In fact, I think he's even had a few marriage proposals over the years

    2. Our kitchen is tiny, so I have to clean as I go. I always start out with an empty dishwasher and load as I go. I also make sure the trash is taken out and I'm starting with an empty garbage can (my husband's job). Same as you, I wipe off countertops as I go and washing dishes in between prepping items.

      Cheryl h - my MIL has been married 42 years to a man who does the cleanup. I don't think he thinks it's a fair trade though. My MIL is a walking disaster in the kitchen. She is a good cook, but godamighty, that woman can trash a kitchen making toast. Open drawers, open cabinets, uses every! single! bowl! It's truly amazing the destruction she can wreak.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Andiereid

        Maybe she's a mess in the kitchen because she knows her husband will clean up! :)

        1. re: Foodrat

          shhh... I think she likes to keep him from taking too many naps! ;)

        2. re: Andiereid

          Andiereid - I think even my very easygoing DH would throw in the dishtowel if I trashed the kitchen. Fair is fair. I put most things away after they're used, clean up utensils which I use again rather than take out more from the cupboards etc. But DH is absolutely anal about getting the kitchen spotless and I am not. Sometimes he eats out and comes home to reclean everything because I'm not as fanatic as he is. I thank my lucky stars for him.

          1. re: cheryl_h

            Do you ever rent him out? ;)

            Just kidding my own Pootie Pie does a pretty good job of helping in the kitchen. And he plays bartender and provides me with my cocktail(s) while I cook.

            1. re: Andiereid

              Exactly...I cook, he opens the wine, mixes the martinis, changes the CD, etc while I cook. After dinner, he cleans the dishes while I clean the kitchen. Unless I had too many pre-dinner martinis, then I fall asleep.

              1. re: CookingGirl

                Same here. If I've had too many pre-dinner drinks, I fall asleep too. But then I blame the fact that I didn't help clean up on him. (not really)

            2. re: cheryl_h

              I'm a lot like your DH. I clean up after my own DH cleans, b/c it isn't clean enough. For some reason, he can't see food particles on the counters & floors, the smears on the stainless & glassware, food smudges left on plates & utensils, etc.

              1. re: OCAnn

                I let him do it and likewise he just does not see that stuff. I take care of it the next AM. I have a friend who is just nuts. She has taught her DH of over 40 years that he is titally incompetent to do anything around the home by constantly critcizing everything he does or tries to help with . So consequently he reads or something and she does it all, she has taught him that he cannot prepare any food for himself, cannot empty or load a dishwasher, can't pack his own suitcase and so on. Pretty sad for both of them.

          2. Funny- I am not a neat freak- but I am a neat cooker! I wipe as I go, load the dishwasher, etc. If I am cooking for a crowd ( usually every weekend!), sit at the kitchen table while prepping. I have a huge cutting board- and I put that on the table. Then I use my smaller cutting boards for prepping the meat and vegatable. Once I chop or dice the vegatable, I put it on a paper plate. All the "garbage" on to another paper plate. That way, I don't dirty lots of containers. Once done, all I have to do is wash the cutting boards. No mess.
            I am also a huge fan of tine foil when making something messy. Lining the roasting pan with tin foil for ribs or anything with a sauce.

            2 Replies
            1. re: macca

              I find that the heavy duty foil works best for lining and keeping the grease or sauce away.

              I also bake bacon, definately less mess. I leave the lined baking sheet in a cool area so the bacon grease solidifies. When it does, I crumple up the foil and toss into a produce bag and toss. Yes admittedly I have committed a chowhound sin and tossed bacon grease.

              1. re: rumgum

                Never thought of baking the bacon. Godd idea. I, too, rarely save the bacon drippings-though I do like them to quickly cook with spinach.
                When baking pies, I line a cookie sheet with foil in case there is any drippings. I also sometimes line the oven shelves with tin foil when broiling steaks.

            2. Definitely clean as you go, and I agree on the tin foil. Another thing I do to make clean up easier is to use either plastic wrap or wax paper. Look at the recipe, and figure out what (of the chopped things) will go in last - cut that and put it at the bottom of a big bowl. Then see what goes in before that, chop it and put it in the bowl on top of the layer of plastic/wax, etc. You can do a lot of prep work earlier and then just toss things in when they need to go into the pot (or whatever), and have the cutting board clean and the bowl that all this stuff is in, and you can clean those while the stuff is cooking. It probably sounds insane, but it is so much easier than cleaning it all up after the meal.

              5 Replies
                1. re: LulusMom

                  That is a great idea! I use disposable bowls but always feel a tinge of guilt everytime I realize how much I've wasted. I'll try this trick now!

                  1. re: JoLi

                    That is a great tip -- and especially good for those of us with tiny kitchens who don't have the counterspace for a plethora of bowls littering the landscape!

                    1. re: spyturtle008

                      wow, I'm glad some of you liked this idea so much! I was a little worried that I sound like a maniac (which I might just be ...). I should add that another great thing about this big bowl thing is that once you've tossed everything into the pot, the bowl can be used as your cleaning bowl - just throw it in the sink with some dish soap and wash all those little things like knives and measuring spoons that you wouldn't put in the d/w.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        That's a BRILLIANT idea! I put all my bits onto a plate as I go along... but the kitchen counter is tiny and if they don't all fit on one plate I run out of room. I never thought of layering them with plastic wrap!

                2. I try to clean everything as I work so that after a meal it is just a matter of putting things in the dishwasher and putting leftovers away.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Candy

                    See... this is a lot of my problem; too many things are not allowed in the dishwasher!

                    I certainly don't have any answers, because I am a messy cook and sometimes my kitchen is messy for weeks... please don't hate me now that you know the truth! One thing that I know would have helped me from the very beginning was to have the kitchen arranged the way I wanted it to be. When my now husband and I moved in together, we had lots of people "helping" put stuff away- nothing was where I wanted it to be, but there's so much crap in the kitchen now, I don't even want to think about reorganizing it! When we move into a house (probably a year from now) I am for sure going to do the kitchen all by myself this time!

                    The only trick I can really think of I've already shared on another topic, but it is to keep a grocery store bag hooked on my cabinet while I'm cooking so I can just toss trash into it, and then transfer the whole sack to the trash can instead of continuously walking back and forth.

                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      I just keep a bowl full of sudsy hot water inb the sink. As I use something it goes in and out quickly, gets rinsed and left to drain. It is more a matter of organization and training yourself. When I am working with my food prpcessor or KA mixer I keep a Cuisinart rimmed cutting tray next to me. It gives me a place to set down messy stuff and contain spills so there is less counter clean up. When I am done I just pick the thing up and carry it to the sink. Bowls, spoons etc all go into the soapy hot water and in 5 mins I have it all clean and draining. Believe me, I grew up with a mother and later a M-I-L both of whom can dirty everything in the kitchen boiling an electric kettle for water.

                      Another tip....I have lots of sets of measuring cups and spoons, odd sizes and regular, stainless and glass. This allows me to move quickly through a recipe without repetitive movements. WS, SLT, and Baker's catalogue are good sources. If you can drop them into hot soapy water or into the DW so you don't have to keep on washing them. I also remove them from the lops that keep them together. I have 2 sets of odd sized spoons, 2/3 tsp, 1 1/2 (or half Tbs) tsp. etc. 2 sets of regular and manu galss and metal measuring cups. Makex you much more efficient.

                      1. re: Katie Nell

                        "please don't hate me now that you know the truth!"

                        I love you now that I know the truth!