Cooking can be a lengthy endeavour not just for the actual prep time, but also for the time spent cleaning up afterward. By reducing the mess created as you go, you can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend in cleanup mode. We share some tricks to help you do just that.
Clean as you go
Often recipes require you to wait for one step to be complete before you can start the next. Rather than leaving all your dishes for one massive and exhausting task at the end, seize any opportunities you have to get a little of the cleaning out of the way. If you’re done with a mixing bowl and spoon, scrub them down while you wait. You’ll be grateful you did at the end!
Keep a wet cloth nearby
Despite your best efforts, minor spills are bound to happen. And leaving them to dry can make them harder to clean later. Keep a wet cloth handy, and quickly wipe away any messes that occur. Dealing with them immediately will make for an easier and cleaner cooking experience.
Although recipes may refer to using “another bowl” or a “second pan,” doing so isn’t always necessary. You can often get away with giving the tool or dish a quick rinse and using it again. The less you dirty, the less you have to clean, so keep a lookout for opportunities where you can get by with less.
Be gentle when pouring ingredients, and pour them over the sink whenever possible. The majority of cooking messes come from toppled ingredients, so be careful when measuring.
Wherever possible, use liners on pans to reduce the amount of stuck-on food you have to scrape off. Use tinfoil for roasting meats or vegetables, parchment paper for cookies and paper liner cups for muffins. When you use a liner, all the pan will need is a quick scrub, and it will be ready for the drying rack!
Often the biggest messes in the kitchen happen when we let ourselves get stressed. We can’t figure out how to make the recipe work and suddenly start tossing things around in frustration, or we realize we’re short on time and try to accomplish too much too quickly. Though reacting in such a way is completely understandable, it does little to get the job done in a clean and efficient manner. Instead of letting the stress cause you to get out of control, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Having to scrub your kitchen from top to bottom when all is said and done is not going to make you feel better. Give yourself 15–30 minutes to get the recipe done, and be patient with yourself as you try to make sense of the recipe. Keeping yourself under control means you are less likely to create an unruly mess. And less mess means you’ll be less stressed when you’re done, so it’s a win-win!