Clean With Me: Kitchen Edition - A Video and My Guide to Non-Toxic and Zero Waste Cleaning

Among my top 10 hobbies is deep cleaning my house. Call me crazy, but it’s just my jam. I’ve spent ages perfecting my routine to be as efficient as possible, years finding my favorite non-toxic cleaners, and just a few months to learn how to do it all without any waste.

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Clean With Me Video

The video is really the star of the show. I just ramble on about cleaning in this blog post to give ya somethin’ to read after watching a time lapse of cleaning set to funky tunes.

If the video didn’t load, click here to watch.

And there you have it. How I clean my kitchen in two minutes (it was more like an hour).

Here’s how I like to clean my kitchen:

  1. Turn on music - I can’t clean without some good tunes. I don’t like doing podcasts because if I make a bunch of noise with the vacuum or running water, I miss out on the juicy details. Until Santa brings me these, music is the only way to go. I generally listen to my monthly Spotify playlists and lucky for me, this month’s is extra peppy.

  2. Tidy - I clear everything out that doesn’t belong. I put away any pantry items that could live in a cabinet instead of the counter, I pick up bags of donations from the floor and put them in the car, I put clean dishes away, and put that rogue pen in the junk drawer. I want as clear of a work-surface to lay out more cleaning supplies and stack drying items. Also, it’s so much easier to not have to move things around just to wipe under them then put them back again. Pick ‘em up first and the process is infinitely easier.

  3. Clean dishes - I load the dishwasher and stack items to air dry while I tidy elsewhere. Getting things out of the sink frees it up to fill with soapy water to rinse and soak other items (like the grates of the stovetop).

  4. Run the dishwasher - I like to run a full load of everything I tidied so at the end of my cleaning session I can put the fresh dishes away and have a totally sparkly clean space. But, if any of your deep cleaning items can get tossed in the machine (like vacuum attachments, fridge shelves, or sponges), wait to run it until you’ve gotten to those in your process. If you’re looking for a non-toxic and waste-free detergent, try this.

  5. Scrub stovetop - This is always the crummiest place in my kitchen - I don’t always wipe it down after cooking because it’s super hot, so weekly deep cleans are how I tackle it. I remove the grates and put them in the sink with sudsy hot water to soak while I scrub the top of the stove. To clean cooked-on food, I pour boiling water to let it soak then clean with vinegar or baking soda depending on how stubborn it is. I use the same non-toxic dish soap that I use on the dishes (I also wash my hands with it) and a sponge with a scrubbing pad on one side. I use this sponge over and over and over and over again on the stove so it never gets tossed out. I’d recommend these compostable ones if you’re buying new, but reusing what you have is still zero waste. To clean the sponge, I toss it in the dishwasher during my next load. The trick to not feeling like you need multiple paper towels is to constantly rinse the sponge in the sink water that’s soaking the stove grates.

  6. Wipe oven - I only clean the inside of my oven once in a blue moon, so I mostly just wipe the outside. My vintage stove has pull-out trays underneath the burners to collect food so I empty and rinse those, then wipe the exterior of the stove with my all-purpose cleaner and a reusable 100% cotton towel. When I do deep clean the interior, I do a lot of soaking in hot water and soap and letting it sit with a baking soda paste.

  7. Dust - I like to clean with the top down method where you start from the top, and let filth trickle down as you go. I start at the ceiling, then head down to doorways, the top of the mirrors, the lights, and the cabinet doors all the way to the baseboard. Here’s a plastic-free and vegan duster for ya.

  8. Wipe counters and backsplash - After I’ve dusted debris onto my counters, I then wipe them and push crumbs onto the floor. Don’t worry, we’ll clean the floors soon. I clean the counters with some diluted non-toxic cleaner in a spray bottle that I use over and over as I refill the solution and a reusable 100% cotton towel.

  9. Wipe cabinets - I wipe off drips and splatters from the fronts of the cabinets with the same cleaner, then I pay close attention to the knobs, handles, and pulls since those get the most use.

  10. Wipe stainless appliances - It’s amazing what a fingerprint-free appliance front will do. I use this stainless steel cleaner and I use so little of it each time that this one bottle has lasted me 5 years and I have plenty left. I haven’t bothered researching a DIY method yet.

  11. Wash windows - I like to clean my windows (inside and out) with this squeegee which I feel gets them far more clean than any spray and towel ever will. The cleaning head can get tossed in the laundry afterwards. Note that I wouldn’t buy that squeegee again because the scrubber is microfiber based which is a plastic - I’d buy just a rubber and metal squeegee and wash with a sponge

  12. De-odorize garbage disposal - I like to toss a couple of frozen lemon juice cubes in the disposal and turn it on to clean the blades and walls of the disposal. If it’s actually stinky, I’ll toss in some vinegar, too. When I clean the garbage disposal, I always remove the rubbery gasket thingy (apparently its called a baffle) and give it a good clean, too. Throughout the week, if I have some spare citrus rind, I’ll toss that in for a good in-between clean, too.

  13. Whiten sink - I like to keep the sink clean between washing by scrubbing it with my dish scrubber before I put it in the dishwasher at each load. But, because it’s old and the finish is worn, it yellows pretty badly. I used to use this stuff which worked like a dream so I was saddened to see it earned an F rating by the Environmental Working Group. Now, I use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide like this. It takes more scrubbing power, but it’s a much safer alternative and gets the sink sparkly white.

  14. Deep clean fridge - I didn’t do it in this video because it’s more of a twice a year activity, but here’s how I deep clean my fridge.

  15. Vacuum floors - Now that I’ve swept all of the crumbs onto the floor, it’s time to clean it up. I use either of my vacuums to collect the mess. Read about both of my vacuums and how I like to use them both here. Before sucking up the gunk, I flick the rug debris on the floor before taking it outside to catch some sunshine.

  16. Mop - I use a mop which has a reusable pad that I toss in the laundry to clean. My mop has a built-in detergent dispenser which is nice, and I fill it with this diluted floor cleaner. I’ve had it for ages and have lots leftover so I’m not ready to DIY, but I’d use a diluted vinegar and orange essential oil solution if I did.

  17. Vacuum rug - While the floors are drying after their mopping, I let the rug air out and get some sun on my clothesline. Sun is a good deodorizer and the wind helps to further whisk away dust. But, I do like to give it one last vacuum with the brush attachment before calling it a day.

  18. Put stuff back - If I cleared off the counters and put things in another room to have room to work, I put everything back. Now is when I might clip some flowers from the garden and put them in a little vase.

  19. Run laundry - If I’ve amassed a collection of reusable cloths to clean, I’ll toss them in the laundry now. This includes the towels I use to wipe the counters, the mop head, the squeegee scrubber, the dish drying mat, and the hand towels. I keep a basket nearby that I toss dirty towels into throughout the week, then I wash them all together on a hot cycle with some with detergent and vinegar in the load.

And that’s it! If you want to shop my kitchen, click here. And don’t forget to watch the video - click here if it didn’t load previously. Pretty please subscribe to my YouTube channel, too!

Want more cleaning videos? Which room should I do next?

Thoughts on zero-waste cleaning. The zero waste goal would be to use fully compostable scrubbers and clean with plant-based materials cleaners all hand made locally. That might mean making your own DIY dish detergent and using natural sponges - but that isn’t always possible, and maybe it shouldn’t be. Zero waste can still look like using the plastic things that you have until they are worn to the bone. You see me using plastic spray bottles that I refill over and over again from my local refill store. This is still zero waste! Using what you have and not tossing it is more “green” than disposing of your plastics to make your cleaning products look chic. The products I linked to are the ones I’ve been using while I use up my stock. One day I may be DIYing all of my products, but for now, I’m using what I still have!