It's a fact of life that winter means more dirt and grime around the house. Your family, friends and pets are all cosying up indoors, comfort food in heavy casserole dishes and pots is on the menu, and mud, rain and snow are regularly trekked through the house.
As the hub of the home, it's usually the kitchen that's the worst affected. But your time is too precious to spend hours scrubbing, wiping and washing, so here are nine cleaning tips that will help streamline your usual routine, leaving you with more time for yourself and your family.
1. Steal tricks from the professionals
Work methodically from high to low, left to right, around your kitchen, doing the sink last. Put all your kit together in a caddy or bucket to save you having to go back-and-forth to the cleaning cupboard, and refill it after each session so it's always ready to go.
2. Cheat at cleaning
Kitchen cupboards attract a lot of grease and grime. Save yourself having to scrub them by putting a sheet of newspaper on top of the shelves. Once dirty, just replace with a new sheet.
You can do the same with your fridge by covering glass shelves with a sheet of plastic wrap, and your oven by putting a sheet of foil on the very lowest shelf to catch drips and spills from above.
3. Switch to Fairy Liquid when scrubbing pots
Cut your scrubbing time down by using the grease-cutting power of Fairy Liquid, as a tiny squirt will lift even the toughest of burnt-on food.
Use it to wash your blender, smoothie maker or food mixer too by half-filling the appliance with warm water and a drop or two of Fairy. Blitz briefly, then empty and rinse. Easy.
4. Fight oil with oil
Clean greasy surfaces, such as the top of your oven hood, by rubbing them with vegetable or olive oil on a paper towel. Not only will the oil remove the grease, but it'll also make stainless steel extra shiny, and form a protective barrier to make it easier to clean next time.
5. Clean with lemons
Rub half a lemon and a sprinkle of coarse salt on wooden chopping boards to deodorise and sanitise them; pop half a lemon in your fridge to keep it smelling fresh; clean your microwave by heating up a bowl of water with a few lemon slices inside it. Let it sit and steam for a couple of minutes before opening the door, then the grease and grime should just wipe away.
6. De-clutter to cut your cleaning time
The clearer your kitchen surfaces, the quicker it'll be to clean them. Store kitchen appliances in a cupboard instead of on the counter, put tableware in drawers, hang utensils on a rack, and stash baking pans, chopping boards and cutlery away until you need them.
7. Invest in microfibre cloths
Not only are they more hygienic than normal cleaning cloths, they're more efficient, too. The millions of tiny fibres attach themselves to even the smallest dirt particles, only releasing them when you wash the cloth in hot water. You can also reuse a microfibre cloth dozens of times.
8. Your dishwasher can wash more than dishes
Why scrub when a machine can do it for you? Oven and fridge racks, oven hood filters, cooker rings, bin lids, compost caddies and even dishcloths can be safely washed in your dishwasher.
Add a Fairy Platinum Dishwasher Tablet - which removes grease and breaks down even the toughest food stains - to leave everything sparkling.
9. Beat limescale without scrubbing
To remove limescale marks from your taps and sink, spray them with Viakal Limescale Remover Spray, leave for up to five minutes, then wipe off and rinse well. Viakal also prevents future limescale build-up to save you this job in the future.
If your kettle is full of limescale, boil up a mixture of half water and half vinegar, then let it sit for a couple of hours before rinsing away.
What tricks do you use to keep your kitchen clean with minimal effort? Comment below with your favourite tips.