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Having an effective evening cleaning routine can do wonders for those who have busy lifestyles or lack the motivation to get started.

Luckily, it’s actually quite easy to create an ideal system and cleaning schedule to suit your needs, personality, and lifestyle, starting with some of the 12 best easy-to-do chores for nighttime cleaning routines.


1. Clean Up Dishes and Messes ASAP

Cleaning up as soon as possible can help create a solid evening cleaning routine to make maintaining your home easier. It can also provide a number of time- and effort-saving benefits, including some of the ones listed below.

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Check out our post 21 Easy Ways to Keep Your Kitchen Clean As You Cook next (new tab).

Benefits of Cleaning up Shortly After Meals

  • Reduce kitchen odors.
  • Prevent messes and dishes (and a lot of effort) from piling up on you.
  • Have more time to relax after eating rather.
  • Experience less stress.
  • Have a more visually and mentally appealing living environment.
  • Reduce unnecessary effort and steps.
  • Achieve faster clean-up times since food won’t have as much chance to harden and stick to surfaces.

Tips

  • Aim to clean up any stains, spills, and dirty dishes before stuck-on messes have a chance to accumulate.
  • Have a designated vessel for any trash to go into immediately, rather than leaving it on the counter.
  • Soak any dishes that need pre-treating while you eat your meal. This way, they’ll be ready to wash by the time you’re finished.
  • Don’t wait too long to get to the kitchen mess; otherwise, you may find yourself too tired and unmotivated to clean and may be likely to procrastinate.

Psst… Want more inspiring kitchen cleaning tips to help make cleaning your kitchen as effortless, quick, and painless as possible? Check out our post on 21 Easy Ways to Keep Your Kitchen Clean as You Cook next (new tab).

2. Clean the Counters

Even just taking a moment or two to clear the counters and wipe them down each night before bed can help encourage cleaner habits, including throughout the following day.

Cleaning the counters at night can also be good for improving your evening cleaning routine, especially if you struggle with staying motivated or tend to allow things to pile up.

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Benefits of Routinely Cleaning Counters at Night

  • Reduced odors.
  • Reduced risk of pests such as ants, cockroaches and mice.
  • Less work and elbow grease during deep cleaning sessions.
  • Achieve a better, cleaner-looking kitchen throughout the day.

Tips

  • If you or others in your household struggle with cleaning your counters regularly, consider keeping easy-to-use cleaning products in an easy-to-grab spot. This way, there will be fewer excuses and less overthinking.
  • Good-smelling products can be a great mood booster via aromatherapy, which can work as an incentive for cleaning things like counters when the motivation might not otherwise be there.

Some of Our Favorite Smelling Cleaning Products:

3. Clean the Kitchen Sink

Taking steps to quickly clean the kitchen sink each night after dinner is done and dishes are put away can be an excellent way to get yourself and others into the habit of keeping a cleaner kitchen for longer. It’s also one of the best chores to add to your nighttime cleaning routine.

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Best of all, cleaning the kitchen sink hardly takes any time or effort at all since it’s more maintenance cleaning rather than deep cleaning when done consistently. In other words, there’s less of a need to be meticulous about it and usually less scrubbing involved.

Benefits of Cleaning the Sink Nightly

  • It promotes a tidier-looking kitchen.
  • Reduces kitchen odors.
  • Less scrubbing.
  • Minimizes the need for deep cleaning efforts.
  • It encourages other people to load dishes into the sink or clean their dishes by hand sooner instead of leaving them for later.

4. Load, Unload and/or Run the Dishwasher

While a lot of people tend to run the dishwasher once they finally run out of space, it can generally be more beneficial to do it on a schedule, such as during an evening cleaning routine. 

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Benefits of a Nighttime Dishwasher Cleaning Schedule

  • Everyone will be able to load their dirty dishes into the dishwasher instead of one person having to load all the dishes by themselves.
  • Fewer reasons for people to feel dish-loading resentment towards others.
  • Gain a cleaner-looking kitchen.
  • Reduced odors.
  • Faster cleaning times.
  • Less cleaning effort.
  • Ability to tackle other things around the house when there’s less work to do.

Tips

  • Schedule Wisely: When planning your dishwasher-emptying schedule, aim for a time when it would be convenient for you or whoever the task will be given to do it and during a time when it will result in fewer dishes landing in the sink.
  • Find Motivation for It: If you find yourself lacking the motivation to empty the dishwasher, remember: the sooner you empty the dishwasher, the less of a chance there will be for other individuals to pile their dishes into your workload later, too.

Psst… Want more dishwasher loading and unloading tips, tricks, and cleaning motivation? Check out our post on 16 effective tips for creating an easy dishwasher routine next (new tab).

5. Quickly Tidy and Declutter Main Areas Before Bed

Decluttering the main areas of the house during your evening and/or morning cleaning routine can be an ideal way to maintain a clean-looking home naturally. And, when kept up consistently and on a schedule, it generally should only take a few short minutes.

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Benefits of Having Tidying Main Areas at Night

We love to tidy up areas such as the kitchen and living room before going to bed so that we can wake up to a great-looking environment. This can also provide the following benefits:

  • It’s an Automatic Mood Booster: Better overall mood improvement first thing in the morning, which often is carried through the majority of the next day.
  • Increased Productivity and Sense of Accomplishment: An increased sense of productivity and accomplishment can also help set the mood for the following day.
  • It creates a “reset” or “normal” look for the home: Waking up and going to bed in a clean-looking environment can set the “normal” look of the home. This can often lead to people finding it more natural, if not desirable, to keep things looking clean and inviting as opposed to going to bed or waking up to a messy room or home.
  • You and Others Might Become Naturally Tidier: Tidying and decluttering a room on a schedule or during an evening cleaning routine can also increase the likelihood of turning tidiness into a natural habit.
  • There’s Less to Do Later and In General: When you wake up to an already tidy kitchen, you have less to do later. This can reduce stress and may allow you to focus on other tasks, allowing you to get more done and for your day to run more smoothly.

Psst… Looking for more decluttering tips? Check out our article on 18 Critical Signs It’s Time to Declutter Your Home.

6. Throw Out Expired Items, Recycling, and/or Trash

Emptying trash, taking care of recycling, and throwing out unwanted or expired food can all be great tasks to incorporate into your evening cleaning routine chores list. However, it’s also great to incorporate into your morning cleaning routine as well.

Ideal Times to Empty Trash and Food

  • Dinnertime
  • Cooking excessively aromatic meals
  • Before settling down to relax for the night
  • Just before bedtime
  • Trash Day
  • Grocery Day

Tips

  • Try stacking tasks like emptying the trash, doing recycling, purging the fridge, or going through pantry items at the same time to minimize steps and save on time and effort.
  • Consider cleaning the trash and recycling bins after emptying them at least once a month to avoid large cleanup jobs from accumulating.
    • It may help to clean the bins during your evening cleaning routine and allow them to air dry overnight.
  • It can be beneficial to thoroughly rinse and air dry recycling products before pitching them into a bin or basket since it can eliminate leaks and spills. Cleaning and air-drying the bin can also keep the recycling bin cleaner and odor-free for longer.
  • Throw out the trash and recycling after cooking to reduce household odors, particularly when dealing with aromatic foods, working with raw meat, or using produce-type ingredients in order.

7. Clean the Stove

Cleaning the stovetop is often one of the last things people want to do after they’re done cooking or eating; however, it’s usually far more beneficial to get it done sooner rather than later.

Benefits of Cleaning the Stovetop ASAP

  • Faster cleaning times.
  • Less effort when messes aren’t stuck-on or solidified.
  • Reduced risk of pests (i.e., ants, mice, roaches, fruit flies, etc.).
  • Reduced kitchen odors.
  • A cleaner-looking kitchen.
  • Less effort and scrubbing.

Tip

  • If you need to deep clean the stove, try stacking the chore around emptying the dishwasher. This way, you can use the machine to wash any dishwasher-safe stove parts on Quick or Turbo Mode for easier cleaning.

Psst… Unsure if you’re cleaning everything you should be around the house? Check out 10 Things You Might Be Forgetting To Clean At Home next (new tab).

8. Tidy the Bathroom Before Bed

Focusing part of your evening cleaning routine on tidying up the living room and kitchen areas can be highly beneficial, but it can also be helpful to spend a minute or two doing the same for the bathroom areas.

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Tips

  • Try to have a home for your toiletries, makeup, hair tools, and other accessories.
  • Make sure that whatever home or container you give your bathroom supplies helps provide the following:
    • Easy to view items
    • Allows you to quickly and easily put away items
    • Quick and easy cleaning
    • Makes items more accessible
  • A good container, bin, or other bathroom storage item should also make it simple to take out whatever is being stored inside it for easy cleaning of any drawers, shelves, or cabinets when doing any type of deep cleaning or Seasonal and Spring Cleaning.

Psst… Looking for Spring Cleaning bathroom tips for quick and effective cleaning sessions? Check out our 5-Minute Bathroom Spring Cleaning post next (new tab).

9. Wipe the Microwave Clean

Taking a minute or two to wipe out the microwave each night, whether it needs it or not, can be a great way to reduce the amount of time and effort it might take, otherwise. You might even gain some of the few benefits down below.

Benefits of Nightly Cleaning the Microwave

  • Less effort.
  • Faster cleaning.
  • Better-tasting food.
  • Food may even taste better.
  • Reduced odors.
  • Less scrubbing.
  • The microwave will always look impressively clean.

Tips

  • Make It Quick: Try wiping down the microwave quickly instead of taking out everything if you don’t need to.
    • If done daily or nearly every day, you should only need to wipe down the surface with a lightly damp cleaning microfiber cloth.
    • You can deep clean the microwave and its parts once a week, monthly, or as needed—whether by hand or in the dishwasher.
  • Get to It ASAP: If you know something’s exploded in the microwave, try to wipe it down right away. Clean-up should only take a few seconds since the mess won’t have a chance to harden and won’t require scrubbing as a result.
  • Make It Easy: Try to have a lightly damp cloth accessible, wrung out, and ready to go each day, and ready to go.
    • This way, you and others in the household will have something that’s easy to grab for that 10-second-or-less wipe-down rather than having time to overthink it.

10. Tidy the Main Areas of the House

You can do a quick daily “reset” of your home by spending a few minutes working on tidying up the main areas of the house each night and/or morning.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Chai

Main Area Tidying

  • Declutter and pick up trash, dishes, etc.
  • Put away items where they belong.
    • Or store items in a bin to sort and put away the following day.
  • Fix throw blankets and throw pillows.
  • Tidy up any tables and furniture.
    • This way, you can focus on other tasks in the morning that may complement some of these tasks, like vacuuming, dusting, and so forth.

Benefits of Tidying Up Main Areas at Night

  • Better mood going to bed and waking up to a cleaner home.
  • Waking up to a tidy home can increase feelings of accomplishment, productivity, and proactiveness, setting you up mentally for the rest of the following day.
  • Fewer visual and mental distractions and overstimulation, resulting in less stress.
  • Less to tidy up in the morning, meaning more time to relax, less time rushing, or more time to focus on other things.

Psst… Tackle more personal cleaning tasks, whether year-round or for Spring Cleaning with our 22 Effective Ways on How to Spring Clean Your Personal Life (new tab).

11. Prep and Plan for the Next Day

Nighttime cleaning routines can be the perfect time to prep for the next day. This is regardless if you’re planning for work, school, the gym, an outing, or even other cleaning tasks that you plan to do as part of your morning cleaning routine chores.

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Things to Prep/Plan for Your Evening Cleaning Routine

  • Clothing
  • Work/school items
  • Things to organize
  • To-do list items
  • Prepping for the next day’s cleaning or chores
  • Laundry (setting it out or putting it in the machine to wash on the Delay setting)

Psst… Tackle more personal cleaning tasks, whether year-round or for Spring Cleaning with our 22 Effective Ways on How to Spring Clean Your Personal Life (new tab).

12. Optional Add-on Evening Cleaning Routine Chores

There are also plenty of add-on tasks that you can do as part of your evening cleaning routine, even if you don’t do them every day or even every week. Simply add them as needed or as you feel like tackling them.

I love tackling quick or broken-down tasks that only take a few minutes to complete as I feel up to it—especially monthly, quarterly, or seasonal chores. And, believe it or not, there are a lot of chores that can get done in a few easy minutes.

Personal Note: Tackling a few chores at night also helps me wind down. I can also go to bed feeling like I’ve accomplished something, which puts me in a good mood and helps me feel less stressed, making it perfect for when it’s time to rest.

Example Add-on Evening Cleaning Routine Chores

  • Vacuum or sweep up the kitchen floor
  • Prep the car for work or school
  • Brush pets
  • Change bedding
  • Tidy the bathroom
  • Clean the shower
  • Wipe out the fridge (especially on Trash or Grocery days)
  • Empty and clean the trash and recycling bins
  • Wipe down cabinet fronts
  • Clean and organize a drawer (i.e., Spring Cleaning)
  • Clean the medicine cabinet
  • Organize a drawer or cabinet or cabinet shelf

Psst… Looking for more quickie chores that you can squeeze into your night or morning routine? Check out our post on 2-minute cleaning chores next (new tab).

Conclusion

In the end, it’s easy and often beneficial to create an evening cleaning routine to tackle chores that make sense to do at the end of the day. Some of the best nighttime cleaning chores to do can include anything from cleaning counters, tidying up the living room, or tackling prep work for the next day.

Best of all, nighttime cleaning routines don’t have to be time-consuming or even take more than a few minutes, and they’re particularly useful if you happen to be a night owl.


If you’re a day owl and prefer to do most of your cleaning in the daytime, or want to find something to complement your nighttime cleaning routine, try our morning routine cleaning chores list next.


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