Kitchens are one of the most important areas to clean and can be the most challenging with all the grease and potential germs waiting to find a cozy place to grow. First step: decide to follow a kitchen cleaning regimen and stop putting it off. When you wait until it is really dirty, it is a much longer chore and you will be more likely to procrastinate. Plus, appliances, sinks and cabinets will get ruined over time without proper maintenance cleaning not to mention the health hazards that increase when cooking in a dirty kitchen. Keeping up with it is the key! In part one of our How to Clean Your House Series we lay out how to do just that and keep up with it so it is never the most overwhelming part of your house cleaning!
Daily: Every day wipe surfaces, do dishes, put dishes away and sweep and mop the floor
- Fill the sink or a bucket with clean warm water and kitchen cleaning/disinfecting solution (a couple drops of bleach in the water with some dishwashing soap will do the trick). For your daily cleaning you really don’t need anything harsh because if you are doing this consistently, nothing has had a chance to get too dirty! IMPORTANT NOTE: if you have natural stone, leave out the bleach and use only mild dishwashing solution.
- Dirty dishes? Put in the dishwasher and start a load or wash and dry and put away. It is important to make this a first step. Part of cleaning is staying organized: Don’t try to clean around all your dirty dishes!
- Use a clean sponge or microfiber rag for cleaning all areas. Areas that need a little more scrubbing will need the sponge. (Be sure to use a non-abrasive blue scrub sponge to avoid scratching delicate surfaces such as stainless steel and glass stove tops). Just get the rag or sponge sudsy with your warm water solution, wring out and start wiping away!
- Wipe the exterior of the fridge, the exterior of the dishwasher and stove. Move the grates and wipe up spills as they occur and your stove will always look nice and last a long time. Wipe the exterior of your cabinets. This is really a quick process if done daily and the preventative nature of a quick wipe of everything will be noticeable right away. The kitchen never has a chance to get grungy and it will always feel fresh and ready for the next time you cook.
- Scrub or wipe clean the microwave.
- Drain your sink, spray in some all-purpose cleaner and use a brush to thoroughly remove any trace of debris, grease and gunk. If you have a porcelain sink that has gotten a little dingy from food stains, wine or coffee: use some cream cleanser (Soft Scrub is a great one), scrub on and leave while you complete the next step and then rinse clean. Viola! Everything feels brand new again!
- Finish cleaning your kitchen by sweeping or vacuuming the floor, then mop it. If you don’t mop…at least wipe up spills especially if you have natural stone floors or wood floors that can be etched or scratched or stained.
If these steps are done consistently every day, it will be a relatively quick process (15 minutes!) and the kitchen will always be sanitary, clean and ready to use! I do my daily kitchen chores while I wait for the morning coffee to brew, but another good time would be when doing the dinner dishes and make it part of the kitchen clean-up person’s chores each night (teenagers are great to recruit for this!).
Weekly: On a weekly basis, the daily tasks should be combined with the more involved kitchen cleaning tasks, such as cleaning stove grates and degreasing the hood and backsplashes.
- Clean the stove and hood and detail the microwave. It is important that you use the proper cleaning tools for your stove top. Glass stove tops as well as stainless steel stoves are delicate and will scratch easy. Be sure to have non-abrasive sponges for this task (blue scotch sponges are non-abrasive). If you are cleaning up spills daily, this will be an easy job every time.
- Use hot soapy water (dish-soap will often be enough, for tougher cleaning use a good degreaser) and soak the stove grates in the soapy water
- With a nice soapy microfiber rag or the non-abrasive sponge, wipe the stove surface.
- Scrub the grates, dry and replace.
- Don’t forget to also wipe the knobs. On most stoves, you can pull the knobs off and soak, wash and replace.
- Use your soapy rag to also wash the front, sides, edges and backsplash and then dry with a dry rag or paper towel to shine.
- Take the time to wipe the hood top to bottom also. If you have filters, it may be time to remove them and soak them also.
- Do a thorough cleaning of the microwave, remove microwave plate, wash, clean all sides inside and out.
- Open the oven and wipe out any burnt on food…don’t wait until it builds up and becomes a big chore.
- If you have stainless steel, now is a good time to clean and polish with a quality stainless steel cleaner/polish. Polishing will protect the stainless steel over time and make clean-up easier also. We like Cerama Bryte as it doesn’t leave an oily finish and really helps protect the stainless steel. To clean, use your soapy rag and clean in the direction of the brush lines. For heavy messes, you can use a little soft scrub or non-abrasive sponge.
- Sink faucets sometimes get built up hard water. Spray with peroxide cleaner, scrub with non-abrasive sponge and rinse and dry. If you have a faucet with hard water buildup preventing good water flow- see our tip of the day on removing hard water from shower heads.
- Clean all your backsplashes, counters and walls especially around the stove and sink.
- Use a degreaser if you have heavy grease or just your sudsy hot water bath and wipe all the back splashes and walls.
- Move appliances and canisters forward on your counters to ensure you do a nice wipe down of areas that may be hiding spills, crumbs and other gunk. Wipe canisters and appliances and then push back to their living spot on your counter.
Monthly/Quarterly: Ensure that all cabinets, pantries and the refrigerator are cleared of unnecessary or outdated food and miscellaneous items that are no longer needed, maintaining the order of the cold- and room-temperature storage areas. Clean your oven.
- Move items and clean all surfaces in the refrigerator. It may be enough to just move to one side, wipe down and move back. If it has been a while, you may want to consider taking everything out of the fridge and doing a deeper cleaning by removing drawers and really wiping down sides etc. of the refrigerator. Feel free to add a couple drops of bleach to your soapy water to help sanitize.
- The freezer can be tricky especially if it isn’t frost-free. It may be enough to just clean the visible areas or you may find taking everything out, wiping with nice hot rag and then replacing items is the best bet.
- Self-cleaning ovens mean you just turn the oven on to “clean” cycle and let it do its work. Once the cycle is done, open and wipe out. If it doesn’t have a self-clean cycle, use a good oven cleaner such as Easy Off. Follow the directions on the bottle: spray on, leave and then wipe. For the racks it is best to take outside, spray and after a few minute wipe down. Oven cleaners are very harsh and if they drip on the floors or down your oven it will damage wood floors, stainless steel oven doors, stone floors. Keep a vigilant eye on this and be sure to put an old towel on the floor under the door so that drips don’t damage the flooring.
- If you have a pantry be sure to check your dry goods. Anything that has been there a while and is not in a well-sealed container can attract meal worms. Move items, wipe shelving regularly especially around where the oils are stored.
Yearly: Once per year (at least) deep clean the kitchen space. This means that the cleaning reaches to the back of every cabinet and pantry, inside and out of the refrigerator interior (taking fridge apart and cleaning every piece) getting under and around the refrigerator and stove, clean walls, ceiling, light fixtures, etc. This form of maintenance is especially important for this space where perishable food items are handled every day. This yearly deep clean may feel daunting, but if it is done consistently will give longer life to every aspect of this room. If it is just too much to undertake, call a professional cleaning company!
So there you have it! That wasn’t so bad now was it? A little know-how and organizing as well as keeping up with cleaning your kitchen and it will never get greasy, grungy and dirty again! You are going to see that you look forward to the next time you get to cook a meal because the kitchen is so inviting! You may want to check out our blog on the 8 housekeeping tips you never knew you needed for a little added help!