Britain’s Kitchen Etiquette Revealed


The kitchen is the heart of the home; the place where we cook, eat, and socialise. But when it comes to keeping it clean, how fussy are we as a nation and what annoys us the most about those we share this sacred space with?

Kitchen etiquette

Focusing on annoying habits, bad behaviour and dirty kitchen secrets, we surveyed the whole of the UK to discover our biggest pet peeves and find out which region has the best kitchen etiquette.

Britain’s Kitchen Cleaning Habits

The upkeep of a tidy home and a clean kitchen is a big task. From taking out the bins and loading and unloading the dishwasher, to cleaning work surfaces and tidying out the fridge, the list of kitchen cleaning jobs is endless.

Our survey revealed that keeping a kitchen clean can feel like a bit of a chore, with nearly 70% of the UK failing to clean the heart of the home every day. However, the most common cleaning activities undertaken on a weekly basis include:

  • washing tea towels
  • cleaning the microwave
  • vaccuming

In contrast, descaling the kettle and reorganising the cupboards are tasks that tend to happen on a monthly basis.

The UK’s Dirty Kitchen Habits

We discovered that 3 out of 5 people admit to having bad kitchen habits, and cite creating a mess in the kitchen, not taking out the rubbish, letting dishes pile up and not wiping down surfaces after use as the most common bad behaviours they are guilty of in their kitchens.

It doesn’t stop there. Our survey discovered that as a nation, we have some pretty grubby habits when it comes to kitchen hygiene too. We found that 20% of people don’t clean their kitchen at least once a week, with nearly 70% of people admitting that they don’t clean their kitchen every day as a minimum.

When it comes to appliances and other kitchen items, ovens, hobs, tea towels, bins and fridges are the most neglected. In fact, over half (51%) of people said they don’t clean their fridge more than once a month and only 32% of people clean their oven hobs every day. The oven itself is also often overlooked while cleaning, with 13% of people failing to clean theirs more than once a year.

The kitchen bin is also overlooked, with 36% of people failing to clean their rubbish bins more than once a month, and even worse, 6% admit to never cleaning their bins at all!

Our research has us wondering how often we should be cleaning our kitchens. On average, fridges should be cleaned before the weekly shop, with a deep clean carried out every 3-6 months¹, whilst ovens should be cleaned thoroughly between every two and 12 weeks².

Hayley Simmons, Head of Merchandising at Magnet, says, “When it comes to ovens, the more often you clean them, the easier they are to maintain. A wire scourer and hot soapy water can make it far easier to clean the glass panes than a normal cloth”.

It’s recommended that kitchen cloths and sponges should be replaced or washed a minimum of once a week³. However, we discovered that on average, only 26% of people change theirs this frequently. In fact, nearly a quarter of people don’t even clean their sponges more than once a month.

The UK’s Biggest Kitchen Pet Peeves

Digging deeper to uncover more of the UK’s pet peeves when it comes to a clean and tidy kitchen, we discovered the habits that annoy the nation the most - breaking this down even further to look at our cities.

We found the biggest annoyance in the UK is people causing a mess in the kitchen whilst cooking or preparing food, and not wiping surfaces clean, with residents of Southampton guilty of doing this the most.

Failing to wash dishes annoys the people of Birmingham the most (26%) and 19% of people living in Edinburgh are guilty of leaving dishes to pile up in the sink - despite it being their biggest pet peeve.

Take a look at the map below to discover the biggest kitchen pet peeve in your city and find out how these kitchen habits compare when sharing a kitchen with a partner, flatmate, or family.

Cohabiting Pet Peeves

Admitting to having annoying habits in your own kitchen is one thing, but what about when sharing this space with partners, friends, and family?

Our research discovered what annoys people the most when sharing their own kitchen, and whilst people admit to being guilty of not cleaning hobs, not cleaning after cooking, not washing the dishes and not cleaning out the fridge in their own homes, their kitchen etiquette changes when they're in someone else’s home.

Brits are twice as likely to wash the dishes, clean the hob and help clean the kitchen at a partners’, friends’, or family members’ house than their own.

For couples and families, causing a mess in the kitchen is the biggest pet peeve, whilst for flatmates, it’s not being offered help to clean the kitchen that really grinds their gears.

Never washing the dishes annoys families and flatmates more than couples, yet it’s no surprise that leaving rotten food in the fridge and causing mess in the kitchen rank within the top 5 annoying habits of those who house-share.

Maintaining house chores can be a laborious task, but caring for your home can keep it looking fresh and new. Our tips for keeping a clean and tidy kitchen are easy to follow, whether you’ve recently fitted a new kitchen or are looking for ways to keep the heart of the home in top condition to stand the test of time.

For more food and kitchen inspiration, check out the Magnet blog or for kitchen design ideas take a look at our kitchen planner tool.


Nationally representative survey of 2,000 respondents aged 16+ in GB in November 2020. The survey was conducted from a random sample of UK adults by Censuswide.