Any number of the following steps can be done once per week on kitchen day, but if you are looking to get it all done at once and are willing to put in the extra hours, you can do them in five consecutive days for an overall deep clean.
Once the kitchen is deep cleaned, use your judgement (according to your lifestyle) to decide how often you’ll repeat the steps.
Day 1 – The Cupboards
- Empty out your cupboards (one section at a time if you’re low on counter space) and put all items onto the countertop or kitchen table, just like you would on moving day.
- Give each cupboard a good washing out with warm soapy water and a damp cloth. Wipe dry.
- Get up on a ladder and wash the top of the cupboards.
- Take a look at your inventory and decide which items really need to be there and which ones should go. There are only so many cups of family can use, but over the years dishes find a way of migrating into our space. Imagine that your kitchen is brand new and decide if these are the items you want in it.
- Take a look at your spices. Are they old? We all have a few spices that we’ve bought for that one-time recipe, but if they’ve been around over a year most of them won’t do your food any good (with the exception of vanilla). I tend to hang onto mine longer than I should because I don’t want to waste money. If you’re not sure, smell it and see if the scent is weak. Let your judgement guide you.
- Do you have a fondue pot, punch bowl, or a charcuterie board that’s taking up space? If you rarely use them, consider moving them into storage. If you have enough space, put these rarely used items up high.
- It’s wise to label the inside of cupboards or drawers if you have little helpers that put dishes and groceries away. Things as small as measuring spoons can easily be lost, causing you undue frustration in the kitchen.
Day 2 – The Drawers
- Empty the drawers onto the counter.
- Use a vacuum hose to clean dust and crumbs out of the drawers.
- Wipe out each drawer with warm soapy water and a damp cloth. Wipe dry.
- Put items back in your drawers.
- Consider items that could be placed elsewhere: Can wooden spoons stand in a tall cup by the stove? Should scissors be moved to an office drawer? Would my cutlery fit better if I had a larger cutlery tray? Start making a list of organizers you might need to pick up next time you are shopping. The dollar store is great place for plastic organizers.
- Use large plastic zip bags to organize your junk drawer and divide items into separate categories.
Day 3 – Refrigerator and Pantry
The refrigerator and pantry need to be kept up, as you don’t want food getting moldy or spilt milk to go unnoticed. A cluttered, unorganized pantry can lead to frustration when putting groceries away.
While you need to upkeep this area more often, you also need to do a more thorough clean when you can. Once every two weeks is a good rule of thumb, depending on the size of your family.
- Fill an ice cream bucket with warm soapy water and take out a cloth.
- Empty the refrigerator completely.
- Wipe down shelves (and remove any that you can) for a good wash in the sink.
- Start putting items back in once the interior is clean.
- Move the garbage can to the fridge and dispose of any expired food.
- Use the warm water and cloth to wipe down condiment bottles, milk jugs, etc.
- Once all of the items are returned to the fridge fill the sink with warm soapy water, and a second sink for rinsing. (You can skip this step if you are using a dishwasher).
- Wash all dishes that aren’t being returned to the fridge.
- Clear any clutter from on top of the fridge and give it a good wiping down.
- Consider what types of storage containers you are lacking for proper storage and add them to your shopping list.
- Organize your pantry, keeping similar items together. Decide on a place for each item, and label the shelves if you must. Searching through the pantry for ingredients is a time waster when a cook is busy. Labels don’t need to be a permanent solution, but they are good for training the entire family on a system where everything has its place.
- If your pantry has solid shelving, you’ll want to remove the items and wipe down each shelf before putting them back in.
- Discard any expired food.
- Repackage any items that are making your pantry a mess like loose crackers or pasta.
- If you keep things in the exact same place each time, you will be far more productive in the kitchen.
- Plastic wraps, baggies, and foil may fit better inside the drawer than they do on a shelf. Consider moving them if you have room.
- Use small plastic tubs to store items that don’t stack well on a shelf, like bags of pasta or cereal. Keeping several bags of pasta in one small size bin on the shelf keeps things much tidier than loose bags.
- Once the shelves are organized, sweep and mop the floor (if you have a walk-in pantry).
- Consider any storage containers that you should be using to keep bugs away from your food. Also, consider any additional storage bins you can use. Don’t skimp on storage bins: they are a blessing when it comes to keeping small items organized.
Day 4 – Stove and Small Appliances
It’s best to choose a nice day to clean the oven so you can open windows for extra ventilation.
- Make sure you’re wearing old clothing and a pair of rubber cleaning gloves.
- Double check to ensure that the oven is turned off and all elements are cool.
- Remove any removable parts, including the oven door. Removing the door makes reaching in so much easier.
- Put knobs in the dishwasher or a sink of warm soapy water.
- Cover the area around the stove with old newspapers to protect your flooring.
- Boil a bit of water in the kettle and pour a shallow puddle onto the surface of the stove top. Cover the hot water with a rag (in places that have tough stains) and let it soak in the heat for about five minutes. Wipe clean and rinse with a clean cloth.
- If you have removable elements, remove them as well as the stove top wells. If the wells are too difficult to clean with water, try cleaning them with oven spray. If you have a flat surface stove top, be careful not to scratch the surface when you are cleaning the stove top.
- If you have a self-cleaning oven, clean it according to the manufacturer’s specifications. If you are using an oven cleaner such as Easy Off, read the instructions carefully and visit their website for any additional questions you might have.
- Once your time is up, wipe the oven clean. Rinse with the clean cloth. Put the wells in the sink and rinse with warm water.
- Reassemble the stove.
- Open the drawer under the stove. Remove all pots and pans.
- Vacuum the interior of the stove drawer.
- Wipe out the door with warm soapy water.
- Replace pots and pans.
- Wipe down the range fan.
- Fill a glass bowl full of water and add about a quarter cup of vinegar to it. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for about three minutes. Leave the bowl in the microwave for an extra five minutes; that should be long enough to steam the inside of the microwave. Wipe the interior and exterior with a damp cloth.
- Empty the crumb drawer into the garbage and then hold the toaster upside down over the sink giving it a slight shake.
- Vacuum loose crumbs from the countertop or floor.
- Use a cloth with warm soapy water to wipe down any other small appliances, including a water cooler, can opener, blender, or coffee maker.
Note: some ovens get grease and grime between the glass panels that can’t be wiped clean no matter how hard you try. Last year my husband and I took the oven door off and placed it on the island. Within about 60 seconds he removed a few screws, and I was able to easily reach inside to clean the glass. We had gone about four years with a dirty window until we realize that they are quite simple to open up (at least ours was!).
Day 5 – Floors, Countertops, Exterior Surfaces
- Pull out the fridge to sweep behind it.
- Mop the area with a warm bucket of water and a bit of cleanser (I love the nostalgic scent of Pine Sol!).
- Repeat steps one and two for the stove.
- Look at your countertops and decide both which items should be there and which items are cluttering your space. Remove unnecessary items.
- Consider any countertop organizers you may need and add them to your shopping list.
- Wash your countertops using hot water and vinegar. Use a bit of powdered dishwashing soap on a damp cloth for tough stains. You might also consider wetting a cloth with very hot water and resting it on stains until the cloth cools. This is one of my favourite ways of removing table top grime.
- Most kitchen flooring can be washed with a simple solution of water and vinegar. If you are adding a product like pine cleaner, make sure it is safe for your floor and go light on the solution. This can help extend the life of the coating.
- Use a damp cloth with warm soapy water to wipe down the exterior of you cupboards and door knobs.
- Water and vinegar (or Windex) are great for cleaning the outside of a fridge. If you have stainless steel appliances, wipe them with long vertical strokes.
- Wipe down the light switch with the damp cloth. Turn off the kitchen light and you’re done!