The Essential Guide to Cleaning Your Kitchen
The kitchen has long been considered the heart of the home. After all, it’s where people come together to create nourishing meals for their families, socialize with friends over glasses of wine and whip up pancakes or waffles with their kids on the weekends. Since it serves as the hub for so many important life moments, it’s no surprise that the kitchen can often get downright grimy. And with a seemingly unending supply of coffee stains on the countertops, unidentified residue in the oven and leftovers in the fridge, it can be hard to know where to start when you get on a cleaning kick.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. Deep-cleaning the kitchen can seem like a monumental task, but by breaking the room into more manageable sections you can tackle each task one at a time and give the kitchen a thorough cleaning without breaking a sweat. Not quite sure where to start? Consider this your go-to cleaning guide, with step-by-step instructions on how to declutter and deep clean your kitchen so that it sparkles from top to bottom.
How to Declutter Your Kitchen
According to the American Cleaning Institute, 69% of Americans said they were planning to clean their homes in 2021. And with a new year in full swing, it’s undoubtedly top of mind for many Americans once again. If giving your kitchen some major TLC is on your spring bingo card, why not start by simply decluttering it?
Sell Items or Stow Them Away
If you’re not sure what to do with your slow cooker, food processor or other utensils and appliances that you don’t use on a regular basis, consider listing them for sale online. This will not only allow you to get rid of unused items and free up counter space; you can also make a little extra money in the process. Can’t quite bear to part with the air fryer that you never actually use, but convince yourself that you will someday? Find an easy-to-access home for it in your pantry, or stow seasonal kitchen appliances and bulky items in a storage unit for future use.
Toss Expired Goods
Next, look through your cabinets and pantry and throw away any dry ingredients and canned foods that are past their expiration date. (Don’t forget about the wilted arugula and kale you bought at the start of 2022, back when you thought you were the type of person who would eat a salad for lunch every day!)
By getting rid of expired ingredients and unused utensils, you can declutter your kitchen in a matter of moments and start the new year on the right foot. To avoid racking up a surplus of unneeded and unused items, try to think carefully about each purchase before you make it.
Check out our Zero Waste Living Guide to learn more about living a minimalist lifestyle.
How to Deep-Clean Your Kitchen
Once you’ve gotten rid of the extra clutter, you can focus on making things shine. Here are some steps you’ll want to take.
Start at the Top
If you’re not sure exactly how to deep clean your kitchen, start at the top. Wipe down your light fixtures with water and vinegar spray (and replace any bulbs that need to be changed). Then you can dust off the top and sides of your cabinets. Next, clean any blinds with spray and wash your windows with glass cleaning spray and a washcloth to get rid of any splatters and streaks.
Wipe Down the Main Areas
Once you’ve checked those items off your list, focus on wiping down each area in your kitchen (from the cupboards and walls to light switches and counters) with a microfiber cloth and all-purpose cleaner. If you have stainless steel appliances, make sure to use a DIY stainless steel cleaner. (Bonus points: you can easily make your own DIY stainless steel cleaner or other eco-friendly, all-natural cleaning spray, which saves money and prevents you from having to use sprays with chemicals and other toxins). Don’t forget to mop the floors as well!
Get the Nooks and Crannies
After the main areas are clean, get into the nooks and crannies to really make sure things shine. This can include moving the refrigerator or other appliances so you can sweep under them, using the stove’s self-cleaning tool or scrubbing the stovetop.
Pro Tip: If the stovetop has a lot of dried food on it, start by spraying it with distilled white vinegar, sprinkling baking soda on top and letting it set for 10 minutes. You can then use a moistened towel and additional vinegar to get rid of the caked-on gunk.
Don’t Forget the Sink
Don’t skip one of the dirtiest and most bacteria-prone parts of the kitchen: the sink! Start by scrubbing it with a soap-dispensing brush or a baking soda and water paste. Next, use water and white vinegar to clean the faucets, spray nozzles, and other hard-to-reach areas.
If you have a stainless steel sink, you can disinfect it with a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water to kill germs. If you don’t have a stainless steel sink, you can use a mixture of hot water and antibacterial instead.
How to Organize Your Kitchen
After things are clean, it’s time to work on making sure things are organized.
You can kick off that process by cleaning out your fridge. This will not only help you save time when searching for your favorite condiment or day-old leftovers; it will also reduce food waste by ensuring you can keep tabs on what’s currently in the fridge.
Begin by removing everything from your fridge and grouping items together on your counter (meats with meats, produce with produce, etc.). Throw away anything that is past its expiration date, then give the entire icebox a thorough cleaning with a disinfecting spray to remove any stains or spills.
Not sure how to best organize the contents of your fridge? We’ve got you covered with this list of fridge organization tips.)
Once you’ve organized your fridge, it’s time to move on to the pantry. After figuring out a pantry organization system that works best for your unique needs, make sure your supplies and ingredients are arranged to maximize accessibility and visibility. This will ensure that you use the items you have on hand before they expire.
By breaking your to-do tasks into manageable chunks, you can make sure your kitchen is as clean as can be and ready for a new round of baking. (But we wouldn’t blame you if you can’t quite bear to make a mess and order a pizza tonight instead!)