Skip to content

10 tips for keeping a shared kitchen clean

10 tips for keeping a shared kitchen clean

They say a watched pot never boils, and a shared kitchen never stays clean.  

If you’re sharing a kitchen space with housemates, it can be tricky to keep it tidy and safe without everyone agreeing to follow some ground rules. Here's our guide on how everyone should behave in a shared kitchen.


1. Start as you mean to go on 

First things first, you need to tidy. Clean the kitchen worktop with hot soapy water before you start preparing food. Then, clean as you go, wiping up spills and putting away fridge items after use.  

Make sure to wash counters, chopping boards and utensils with hot soapy water after handling raw meat, raw eggs or soil on raw vegetables.  

2. Scrub up 

Wash all cooking utensils in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher after use, being especially careful to wash anything used to prepare raw meat before using again. Clean all surfaces you may have touched while preparing your food (fridge and door handles, the oven, the microwave, the tap etc), and make sure to wash and put away everything promptly. 

3. The colour code 

Having coloured chopping boards can help the household to avoid cross-contamination. Designate a board each for raw meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, cooked meat, and dairy and baked goods. Always wash chopping boards with hot, soapy water after each use to stop bacteria from growing. 


4. Don’t be a hot mess 

No one wants to come into the kitchen to find the place is in shambles. Put your food away before you leave, wash up your dishes and if you’ve spilled anything, sweep or clean surfaces with hot soapy water.  

5. Know where to go 

Storing your food safely is key to keeping your kitchen space a safe zone. So:  

  • Only buy what will fit in your storage space 
  • Don’t overload your fridge as it might mean food is not chilled correctly  
  • Always place raw meat on the bottom shelf  
  • Follow use by dates on packaging 

6. Keep it chill 

The safest way to defrost food is in your fridge – never defrost foods at room temperature. Defrosting raw meats on your kitchen counter gives food poisoning bacteria the perfect environment to grow and multiply.


7. Happy fridge, happy kitchen  

If your fridge isn’t clean, your food won’t be either. Clean it with hot soapy water regularly, wiping down the handles, shelves and storage compartments. And check that the food inside is safely covered. Similarly, do a regular clean with hot soapy water of all the appliances oven, hob and microwave to keep the space squeaky clean. 

8. Throw in the towel 

Damp cloths and towels are a breeding ground for bacteria – and the more you use them without cleaning, the more bacteria you will spread around your kitchen. Wash dishcloths every 2 days in a hot wash in the washing machine or boiling water for 15 mins. If you’ve used it to wipe up after raw meat, or it’s gone a bit smelly, it needs to be washed.  

9. Sink city 

Don’t be that person who leaves everything “to soak” in the communal sink. Wash your dishes and cutlery after use and put them away into their storage spaces. Your housemates will be happy and the kitchen sink will remain free to use to keep the place sparkling. 

10. Time to take out the trash 

Overflowing bins can attract unwanted visitors (and can smell pretty bad too). Once you notice the bins are full, don’t wait for someone else to take them out. Keep emptying your bins regularly for a happy house and safe kitchen. 

Read more about keeping your food safe 

Related pages

Safefood Logo

Sign up for our family focused healthy eating and food safety news.

Safefood logo

The site content is redirecting to the NI version.