How to Keep a Clean, No-Waste Kitchen

A kitchen sink and counter top with a scattering of cleaning materials like a sponge and spray bottle
A clean kitchen is much easier to enjoy than a dirty one | Photo by Elizabeth Layman

We’ve already come to the agreement that kitchens can be intimidating places at times. Aside from the safety precautions that you can find on our “Tips and Handouts” page, there are a few other ways to make your kitchen a more inviting place. The first way is by ensuring that it is clean. Here are some tips about how to do that:

  • Clean out your refrigerator often. Wiping down the inside of it with soap and water will not only keep it looking nice but will also keep bacteria and mold from growing.
  • Sweep up floors and counter tops often. Bits of food often find the smallest of places to hide, and rodents and flies then seek out those crumbs.
  • If you use a compost bin, keep it clean and as empty as possible. This will regulate bacteria and mold growth; flies will stay at a minimum, and there will not be a bad odor surrounding the bin.
  • Do not let water sit on any cutting board for an extended period of time. Wash and dry the cutting board immediately after use. Both wooden and plastic cutting boards are susceptible to mold, so if you see blackness on your cutting board, you probably have mold on your hands. You can remove it by dousing it with bleach and scrubbing at it with a coarse Brillo-pad, but it is hard work.
Someone chops several celery stalks on a cutting board
Take good care of your cutting boards | Photo by Marsha Saxton

The second way to make your kitchen a more inviting place is by reducing food waste. Always use as much of your food, be it fruit, vegetable, or protein, as possible (and make sure you’re doing it in a clean way). When cooking, your motto should be “Never waste anything” because you can use and reuse everything! Here are a few tips on how best to go about this task:

  • Ask the Internet questions on how to properly cut up items to get the maximum benefit from them and create less waste.
  • For example, if you were to remove the bones from a meat you planned to cook, the bones could be frozen and used later for broth or for flavor in soup.
  • Another example is how to use every piece of a tomato. The end where the vine connects to the fruit can be used for sauces. The green part will cook and add flavor. The green part can also be broken down in your food processor or food mill after being cooked in the oven for a while.
  • There are many other websites, such as Spoon University, that offer tips on creative, no-waste cooking. Don’t be afraid to use Google!
  • Compost what you don’t use for your garden, a friend’s garden, or through your local city compost bins. If you’re curious about composting, here is an article about composting at home. Remember: just because you can’t or didn’t use something doesn’t mean that someone else couldn’t!
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