Clean Up Tips for Cooking with Kids


Before you decide to spend time in the kitchen with your kids, set up some ground rules. What equipment is off limits, what to use only with supervision, where they can find certain items and that helping to clean up afterward is an expectation. Part of the responsibility of learning to cook, is learning to clean up the mess.

Cleaning up is simple, especially if you clean as you go and follow some practical tips.

  1. Clean and stack as you go. Rinse bowls, utensils and other equipment with hot water and stack as best you can beside the sink to free up precious counter space.
  2. Soak pots, pans and dishes that have food baked or stuck on them in a sink full of hot soapy water.
  3. Don't place knives in to soak. Someone might reach in a cut themselves. Wipe knives clean and place on the countertop beside the sink.
  4. Keep paper towels handy to wipe up spills on the counters, stovetop and floor as they happen.
  5. Cutting boards used for raw meat, poultry, seafood and such should be placed in the hot soapy water in the sink too. This will ensure they are not used by mistake for chopping fresh foods.
  6. Start with a clean dishcloth and tea towel. Wet sponges and dirty dishcloths can spread germs and bacteria if not changed frequently.
  7. Use a spoon rest on the stove to hold dirty spoons and spatulas
  8. Pull the garbage can closer to your work area. This makes it easy to just throw cuttings, peels and trimmings away rather than let them build up in your work station.
  9. Little hands may not be strong enough to wash large dishes, but they do well with smaller cutlery and utensils and they are very good at loading the dishwasher.
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