Updated: Feb 17, 2020
The kitchen is the room where everyone congregates, and consequently, it's usually one of the messiest rooms in the house.
10 kitchen cleaning rules
Rule #1: The Kitchen is a No-Dumping Zone
Never put anything on the kitchen counter or table as you come in the door. These are forbidden zones
To prevent dumping here, create an organized entryway station where the day's items can be temporarily stashed and kept out of the way until needed.
Rule #2: Remove Shoes at the Door
Having everyone remove shoes at the door goes a long way toward keeping cleaning to a minimum.
Because as we know, the first place everyone goes once inside the front door is the room where the snacks are: The kitchen, of course!
A shoe-cubby bench by the door is any easy way to encourage shoe-removal and stop dirt in its tracks.
Rule #3: Eat Only in the Kitchen and Dining Room
In addition to being able to monitor what the kids eat, by confining eating to the kitchen and dining room, this simple rule goes a long way toward keeping the whole house cleaner, too.
Rule #4 Always Tidy Up Behind Yourself
Always clean up behind yourself. If you're old enough to grab your own snack or meal, you're old enough to do some kitchen cleaning, such as putting your dishes away and wiping down the prep area or cooktop. (See kitchen chores for kids by age.)
Rule #5 Put Dishes in the Dishwasher After Use
Dirty dishes should be placed in the dishwasher, not in the kitchen sink.
Always put dirty dishes into the dishwasher, not the sink. The dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand.
Hand wash only the larger, bulkier items that won't fit, or shouldn't be put in (wooden items), the dishwasher.
The person who finds a full dishwasher should add dishwashing detergent and start the machine.
Rule #6: Wipe Down Counters After Use
Crummy way to live, with food all over the countertops. Although insects don't necessarily think this way. (Need I say more?) The wipe-down-kitchen-counters-after-use rule goes a long way toward keeping the kitchen clean and hygienic.
Rule #7: Close Cabinet Doors That You Open
Kids - and some grown-ups - have a habit of leaving cabinet doors open after perusing the contents inside.
Nip this one in the bud.
Make it a rule that everyone is required to close cabinet doors they've opened. Ditto for drawers.
Rule #8: Ask to be Excused from the Table
Ask to be excused from the table, don't just get up and leave. It's simply polite, and respectful to the chef du jour, to ask permission to be excused from the table.
Rule #9: Ask Before Snacking or Having Dessert
If kids must receive permission before snacking or grabbing dessert, parents can keep tabs on family nutrition, and - be given ample time to ensure the kitchen cleaning rules are followed afterward.
Rule #10: Bus Your Own Plate
If you eat at and can reach the counter, the kitchen cleaning rules require that you bus your own plate. It's only fair, after all, that everyone pitches in. (See 4 above.)
Get a list of kitchen chores for kids by age for guidelines on reasonable expectations for kids.