10 Tips for Clean As You Go Cooking

I enjoy cooking, but I hate the mess afterwards, and I can definitely make a mess! The problem with having lots of bench space in my kitchen is that I fill it with dirty dishes, empty tins and packets, and leftover ingredients. I’d like to have the philosophy that I cook, so my husband should clean, but he does the evening bath and bedtime routine. It’s a bit unfair after a long day in the office to ask him to clean the kitchen as well!

10 tips for clean as you go cooking

Clean as you go cooking is the answer!

10 tips for clean as you go cooking - keep the kitchen tidy while you cook!

Here are my top ten tips for clean as you go cooking:

  1. Start with clear benches and an empty dishwasher (or at least space in the dishwasher, assuming you have the luxury of a dishwasher).
  2. Fill the sink with hot, soapy water to wipe up spills and clean dishes straight away. It takes forever for hot water to get to my kitchen, so I often boil the kettle and use that to top up the sink and keep it hot.
  3. Clean up spills on the floor straight away too! Have a dustpan and broom and cleaning cloth specifically for the floor on hand.
  4. Have a container for scraps and waste collection where you are working. That could be a bowl, plastic bag or rubbish bin. Balancing scraps on a chopping board as you walk across the kitchen, open a cupboard and empty into the bin is a disaster waiting to happen.
  5. Put ingredients away as you use them. It doesn’t take much more effort than putting them on the closest bench! Better still, measure out, prepare and put away excess ingredients before you start cooking. It makes a few extra dishes, but somehow makes a lot less mess (or gives you more time to clean up). Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury to time to do this with a toddler wanting attention…
  6. To make 5. easier, have easy access to containers and cling film.
  7. Use time between “processes” (got to throw in some Masterchef jargon) to keep things tidy (don’t just stand there watching your food cook if you don’t have to  – or decide to check Pinterest or Facebook!)
  8. Learn how to stir pots and bowls without spilling stuff everywhere – this is a skill I’ve yet to master, as you can see by looking at my stove (sorry, I’m not taking photos of that!).
  9. Scrape, rinse and/or soak pots and pans as you go. My only exception to this is dishes with fats that solidify at room temperature – it’s much more environmentally-friendly to scrape once solid and dispose in the bin than wash down the sink.
  10. Put leftovers in containers and have a quick clean up before sitting down to the dinner table. The food isn’t going to get that cold in 60 seconds! (This also helps my husband’s waist-line as it makes eating seconds more difficult!).

What are your tips for keeping a tidy kitchen whilst cooking? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Great tips! I always clean as I go – I’m the cleanest cook I know. But I have yet to master the art of the stir! Stuff everywhere, baking into the stove top. Sigh.

  2. Thanks for stopping by…you obviously have the ability to see my kitchen right now! It’s shameful really, but I guess it will give me something to do today. 🙂
    Amanda (from: Ramblings of an Empty Mind)

  3. Is stirring an art? I didn’t know it. I am an artist, I am an artist. And maybe my daughter’s stirring issues aren’t because she is young. Hmmm.

    I like the idea of putting away left-overs and how it helps the waistline. I bet my husband wouldn’t go for it thought.

    Good tips.

  4. I am going to make my bf read this. He is the most insanely messy cook on the planet. It tastes amazing in the end, but I nearly have a heart attack watching him cook! Visiting from SITS btw 🙂

  5. Having a bowl of soapy water really does help, I need to put that into practice more often though!

  6. Number 10 is the best advice! I do the exact same thing, the most important thing to do is to leave it all as clean as possible before eating, because after no one wants to clean! hehehehe

  7. Have a receptacle for scraps and waste collection where you are working. – I love this tip. Picked it up on Rachel Ray and it has really been helpful. Are “benches” Australia talk for counters? Happy SITS day, by the way!!

    Lindsey @ GrowingKidsMinistry.com

  8. What a fun post and you have some great tips. Would you be interesting in using this as a guest post on my blog? I do a cleaning/decluttering focus on Mondays and I think my readers would enjoy your tips. Let me know if you’re interested. My SITS day is next Friday – hooray!

    PS: Are you a McLeod’s Daughters fan? I got hooked on that show a couple of years ago. Best Aussie export ever!

  9. My husband always says I’m horrible at not cleaning as I cook! I like your tip about keeping the garbage can nearby – mine is under the kitchen sink, but it’d probably help if I pulled it out while cooking! Thanks! And congrats on your SITS day!!

  10. Love the advice … I already put many of your points to work in my kitchen, but I think I like the idea of having the sink filled and ready to wash and soak.

    Enjoy your SITS day! 🙂

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