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Ask the Readers- Do You Clean As You Cook or Clean After


It has been awhile since we did an Ask the Readers question and as I was doing dishes today, I was thinking about cooking and cleaning up. So, I thought I would ask a fun question today to see what kind of a cook and cleaner you are.

When I cook I often make a big mess. At least I think I do. Messes and clutter tend to drive me crazy, so a huge mess to deal with after I am done cooking for the day, drives me crazy. So I end up cleaning and doing dishes as I go. This way the mess gets taken care of gradually instead of all at the end.

However, I know many of you are not like me. Cleaning as you go drives you about as crazy as not cleaning as I go does me. You would much rather clean up the entire mess at the end and see no point and cleaning as you go.

So, that brings me to today’s question.

When you are cooking and working in the kitchen, do you clean as you go or do you prefer to leave it all to the end to clean it up? 

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I do “light” cleaning as I go. I’ll rinse out bowls, wipe down counters, put dirty things in the sink, etc. I save the final clean up and dishwasher loading for after.

    • I do exactly as you do, Sandy. Plus I always like to have the dishwasher emptied prior to meal-making or during so that doesn’t face me for the final clean-up. I can’t stand facing a big mess after the meal. All I feel like doing at that time is kicking back on the couch/recliner! 😉

  2. I clean as I go…so I don’t get overwhelmed. 🙂

  3. I always clean as I go because I hate to have to go back and wash all of that stuff after eating or cooking. That way, all I have to wash are the dishes we used for supper. My family, on the other hand, do not. Ugh!

  4. Janet I. says

    I’m with Sandy and Lois….light cleaning as I go and then final cleanup after…

  5. I would like to clean as I go, since by the time it’s done I just want to sit and enjoy and not have the dishes waiting for me. But I find that usually I can’t. I’m too busy adding ingredients, stirring, etc. Not to mention, keeping a 2-year-old occupied (sometimes “helping” me, sometimes with a snack if dinner’s later than normal, or whatever the day demands). As much as it’s not my ideal, I find that usually most of the cooking dishes end up piled in the sink, waiting until the morning when I have time to wash them.

  6. I like to clean up as I go so there is not a huge amount to clean when I am done. No dishwasher in this house other than myself, lol. Also helps to keep the area I am working in cleaned and neat.

  7. I always wear protective gloves when cleaning. I don’t like taking the gloves off and on while cooking. Therefore, I do most of the cleaning after I cook.

  8. I’ve always CAYG (clean as you go). Like previous comments I make sure the dishwasher is clean, so I can rinse and load. The only thing left after eating is to wash the pots and pans that don’t go in the dishwasher. Easy peasy..

  9. A little of both! I try to clean as I go but sometimes I get to doing too much at once and then have to clean afterwards.

  10. HisGrace says

    I try to clean as I go – sometimes don’t always get it done, but I try! What drives me crazy is needing a measuring spoon, measuring cup or something that I’ve already thrown in the dishwasher – then I have to stop, retrieve it, clean it by hand, etc. Ugh!

  11. I have to clean as I go or I get so overwhelmed and depressed. I also don’t have much patience for standing around in the kitchen; I’d rather read a book. So If I have to be in there for the cooking, I might as well clean and so shorten my time in there as much as possible.

  12. Not only do I like to clean as I go, but if my day is going well, I do as much prep work between 2-3:00PM as I possibly can. My cherubs are typically playing well at that time and I can prep a lot of dinner AND clean up. By the time we finish eating around 6:00PM, all I have to clean up is the dishes from the actual meal. Inevitably, if I save all the cleaning for after the meal, there won’t be room in the dishwasher, the counter will be loaded with mess and the dish drainer will be full of only about 1/2 the things that need to go in it. Then I get all out of whack because I don’t typically like to keep cleaning all night long. (And call me lazy if you want, but I absolutely detest drying dishes so I only deal with as many as can fit in the drainer.) — I’m definitely a clean as you go kind of gal.

    • Drying dishes is one of my least favorite things to do when it comes to kitchen work, so you are not alone on that one. 🙂

  13. I also do light cleaning as I go. Wipe counters, rinse dishes, and keep the mess contained as much as possible in or near the sink. If I have time after everything is done where I’m just waiting on the food to cook, I try to do most of the rest of the clean up right then; if not, it happens after the meal. We have very limited counter space and don’t have a useable dishwasher, so to me it’s especially important to stay on top of dish washing/clean up.

  14. I am with you on cleaning as I go. I have a small kitchen and If I did not I would have no room to cook.
    I can’t stand for my stove to get dirty either. I have had it 6 years and it is as clean as the day it was bought.

  15. Sheila Torres says

    I always clean as I cook. Just as easy to do and makes the final cleanup a cinch. Even t the holidays, it helps simplify things!

  16. I clean as I go. I don’t have a lot of counter space so I don’t have a lot of room for dirty dishes to sit around. Also when I’m making a recipe, I get all the ingredients out and then as I put them in the recipe, I put the ingredients away. That way if I get interrupted, I don’t have to wonder if I’ve already put an ingredient in the recipe.

  17. Generally I clean as I go, sometimes life moments prevent this, but then again 2 of my children rotate dish washing duties so that helps also.

  18. I’m like you, Lynn, I clean as I go. I don’t like the big mess at the end of the cooking. If there is anything left to be cleaned after we have eaten our meal, those who did not help in the preparation of the food are responsible for cleaning up. Works great for our family!

  19. My kitchen is small so I clean as I go. Otherwise, I could do very little!

  20. Barbara Cooper says

    I have always cleaned as I go, with all the foster kids we have had, during the years, there is no other way. When I am done cooking, I like to sit and enjoy the meal, and the conversations, and I could never do that with knowing there was a mess in the kitchen waiting for me.

  21. When I am power cooking I make sure I have sink and dishwasher empty. I use onside of my sink for a massive compost pile. I do load the dishwasher as I go, run it when its full. Most times I will unload while cooking and reload it. Most of my pans I power cook with are to large for the dishwasher. My hubby is prewarned that he will be doing dishes. My hand get raw when I have them in water. Plus after about 8 or 10 hours, I am tired and want out of the kitchen. So he takes over since he can usually see what I have made since it on table cooling and waiting to get packaged for freezer. Hubby doesn’t cook so he does kp for me most of the time.. He is ok with it, the boys haul out compost and any trash I have made. They usually get some reward for if from what I have made. So they are happy. My family loves to eat so they will help out to get good meals.

  22. I start with a dishpan in the sink full of hot sudsy water. We clean as we go. We are a family of 10. Not everyone lives here still but with kids and grandkids coming and going, it is nice to have as little for the kitchen crew to clean-up as possible.

  23. I clean up as I go. If I waited till dinner was over, I’d never want to leave the table.


  24. depends on what I’m making, how labor intensive it is, etc… will at least put things in the sink, but they may not get in the diswasher/handwashed until the end, or if it’s a baked item, while it’s baking

  25. Kris Gamertsfelder says

    I do light clean up as I cook and do the rest after dinner is over. I leave the pans the food is in out so I can put e leftovers in dishes for lunch

  26. We live in the Pioneer Days and don’t have a dishwasher. With a young family that is always hungry, I have to clean as I go or else I would have an insurmountable pile of dishes!

  27. Char Caudill says

    I’m a clean as ya o type. I start with a sink full of hot soapy water.

  28. Sharon in Tennessee says

    sometimes I clean as I go and sometimes wait till the meal is over. When I am at my sons cooking a meal, I always clean as I go there. Not sure why I do there more than here.

  29. I clean as I go. We have a very small kitchen so anything not in it’s places clutters it up fast. We have no counter space either which makes for fun baking days. lol

  30. Michele ºÜº says

    I’m a bit late to this discussion but I thought I’d chime in as my answer seems to be a tad bit different than the rest.

    If I make something that either bakes or cooks on the stove for some time (at least 30 minutes) I get my cleaning done then, but if I am making dinner, juggling 3 different pots and pans, making a salad or other grouping of items and just trying to get it all done together, I don’t take the time to clean up as I go. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do tend to put most of the ingredients up as I go, well, at least the ones in the beginning of cooking a meal, but by the time the end is rolling around and I’m throwing the last details on a dish it can be a rather large mess to clean up. And then I dread tackling the mess. 😉

    Consequently, I look for recipes that cook in the oven or crock pot. I really need to find more of those. 😉

  31. Stef Dee says

    Good morning! We’ve had a busy month and I’m taking advantage of our quiet day to catch up on my favorite blogs. I clean as I go. Clutter in any workspace bothers me to distraction, so to keep my head in order, I take things to the sink and rinse them (at the very least) while preparing food. After the food is resting or cooking, I finish up by washing / putting in the dishwasher afterwards if it’s impractical to do this step in the middle of it all. 🙂

  32. As I cook – wouldn’t do it any other way.

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