Maybe I’m silly, but for me, the pinnacle of happiness in my adult life is a clean kitchen.
Okay, that may be overstating it a bit, but there is no denying that something is relaxing about walking into a clean kitchen.
There is pleasure in being able to cook or eat right away without first having to move piles of dishes to the side.
A clean kitchen is a joy to be in.
Unfortunately, I have yet to find a kitchen that will keep itself clean automatically. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to learn how to keep your kitchen sparkling clean.
It may be a lot of work, but in the end, it is so worth it. And, you'll have a kitchen clean enough for Gordon Ramsey!
The Importance of a Clean Kitchen
You might wonder what's so important about a clean kitchen.
Well, a lot, it turns out.
What it can do for you
There’s just an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction when you walk into a clean kitchen.
And most importantly:
It doesn’t require half an hour of work to start to get dinner on the table.
What it can do to you
Speaking of science, there’s far more at stake with a clean kitchen than just satisfaction.
Your kitchen is the room where the majority of your food storage and preparation takes place.
Unfortunately, your kitchen is also a perfect breeding ground for germs.
5 Germs That Can Live in Your Kitchen
Food prepared in an unsafe kitchen can wreak digestive havoc. In extreme cases, you can even die from food poisoning.
Gordon Ramsey doesn't go nuts over dirty kitchens for nothing.
The potential for contamination is everywhere:
A dirty kitchen can make you sick.
Keeping a clean kitchen is one of the best defenses you have against any germs that may be lurking.
What it can do to everyone
Aside from unsightly and unhealthy, a dirty kitchen is potentially a danger zone.
Kitchen fires are the top cause of fires in the home according to the National Fire Prevention Association. And, that isn't just for you -- fires can be a problem for a community as well.
KITCHEN FIRE FACTS
of cooking fires start on the stove
cooking fires start when the food or cooking materials catch fire
Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve are peak days for home fires
Repeat after me:
A clean kitchen is a safe kitchen.
Grease buildup on kitchen stoves and vents can quickly catch fire. Flammable clutter like food wrappers and pot holders can quickly spread a fire.
Keeping a clean kitchen is one way to help prevent kitchen fires. Always keep the area near your stove and vent as clean as possible to help prevent fires as well as to avoid any fire from spreading.
The Prep Step
The path to a clean kitchen starts with a clear plan.
Before you set out to clean, first you need to declutter and get all your cleaners and tools in order.
Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
Adopt a minimimalist mindset for a minute...
When you’re doing a whole kitchen clean, the first thing you need to do is to DECLUTTER.
While minimalism is all the rage these days, you don’t have to throw out everything.
Even so, keeping only what you need and love goes a long way.
Need some more inspiration?
Everything you keep, you’re eventually going to have to clean.
That goes for dishes, decorations, and appliances.
After all, do you want to do more cleaning than you have to?
Places to start
Do you have any of these everyday clutter items? (designer_start) Please put this on a pop out card:
Check the pantry
Expired canned food is a definite got to go. Right into the trash, don’t even think about it.
Not only that:
If it’s still well within the expiration date, but you don’t see yourself eating it, donate it to a food bank.
Speaking of spices
Doing a full kitchen clean is a great time to go through your spices.
In case you didn't know:
While most dried spices won’t go bad, they can lose their flavor.
Think about your drawers
Everyone needs dishes and utensils to cook and eat with.
But sometimes, we tend to keep too much.
Pare down your dishes and utensils to only what you can realistically use in a day.
Questions to ask
When you’re decluttering, ask yourself these questions:
This is the time to be honest and ruthless.
If you don’t use it or it’s a dupe, or if you wouldn’t buy it now, and you don’t love it -- toss it!
If it’s usable, put it in a donation pile to gift forward.
But if it’s not usable, you know where it needs to go.
Gathering your supplies
For a clean kitchen, you're going to have to assemble an arsenal of your favorite cleaners.
At a minimum, you’ll need:
A trip down the cleaning aisle of your favorite big box store can quickly meet your needs.
DIY way of life?
Ready-made cleaners are convenient.
A lot of those cleaners are chock full of chemicals.
And there are plenty of good, non-toxic options available in the cleaning aisle.
Do you have these around the house?
Baking soda (a.k.a. your new best friend)
If so, great!! You have all you need to make some great, non-toxic cleaners.
Note: please place the following cleaners on recipe cards.
DIY All-Purpose Cleaner
In a spray bottle mix together:
Shake well before using.
DIY Glass Cleaner
In a spray bottle, mix:
Shake well before using.
DIY FLOOR Cleaner
In a spray bottle, mix:
Shake well before using.
The right tools for the job!
To tackle a dirty kitchen, you need the right tools for the job.
Kitchens have lots of little nooks and crannies that need cleaning. So, repurpose an old toothbrush as a cleaning toothbrush.
Their small profile allows you to get into the little spots that you may otherwise miss.
For cleaning your floors, you will want a good dry broom as well as a mop.
Keep in mind:
These do not need to be fancy, just functional.
About the rub
Paper towels are great for most cleaning jobs. But the problem is they are not always sturdy, and they can get expensive.
If you are serious about a clean kitchen while being eco and budget-friendly, think cleaning rags instead.
If you’re thrifty, you can always repurpose old clothes. Cotton t-shirts and socks work especially well as cleaning rags.
Whatever you use, make sure it’s lint free.
But if you want to invest in some good cleaning cloths, try bar mop towels. These are white terry cloth towels that are essential tools in professional kitchens.
Kitchen pros use them for everything:
They're good for cleaning up before and during service, as makeshift pot holders, and more.
Here's some good news:
A well-made bar mop towel can last for years.
That's money well spent!
Putting it all together
While entirely optional, a tool caddy is great to keep all your cleaning supplies together and organized.
Cleaning a kitchen can be a tedious job.
Before you start, be sure to make a playlist and crank it up!
And this is very important:
Be sure to dance.
There Is a Right Order to Do This In
There’s no use cleaning one part of the kitchen only to get it dirty while you’re cleaning another.
Who wants to do double the work? (I don’t! I’m sure you don’t either!)
Here are my suggestions on what order to clean everything in.
First things first
Before you do anything, you need to clear a temporary staging area.
When you go to clear stuff out of your refrigerator, pantry, cabinet, and drawers, this is where it’s going to go.
Break it up!
Breaking up your cleaning into different sections of the kitchen helps keep you organized.
It allows you to take clearly defined breaks if you don’t want to spend literal hours cleaning.
The big dogs
First, you’re going to clean your major appliances. This includes the refrigerator, stove, and oven.
Since appliances have a lot of different parts to clean, so expect this to take the longest.
After cleaning your major appliances come the surfaces.
Your surfaces are your cupboards, counters, drawers, and cabinets.
It also includes any of the small appliances and other knick-knacks you may have out on the countertop.
Start high, and move lower as you clean.
Extreme Clean Large Appliances Like a Pro
Cleaning your appliances is probably the biggest job in your kitchen.
Even so, it is WELL worth the effort and time you put in to be able to cook on clean appliances.
Stoves can get disgusting if you’re not careful. Grease and food can build up on the stove top elements, causing health and safety hazards.
Always make sure your stove is OFF and let it cool completely before cleaning!
In general, you can clean the surfaces of your stove with an all-purpose cleaner.
Soak any stuck or burnt on food with a paste made of baking soda and water.
If you have a stove that has drip pans, take them out and clean them. You can handwash them in the sink using soap and water.
For enamel stovetops, clean off any crumbs or debris from cooking.
If you have any burnt on spots, make a paste made out of baking soda and water. Cover the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes.
You can then use a plastic scraper or old credit card to help scrape up the stain.
Spray some all-purpose cleaner to clean up any grease or food residue.
Glass stove tops
You can do this easily using these tips:
Your oven can bake up some tasty treats throughout the year. Unfortunately, it can also develop burnt on, caked on grease on the interior and racks.
Cleaning your oven can take a few hours, but it's got to be done. You know it, I know it, we all know it.
You should remove your oven racks whenever you want to clean your oven. Chances are they will need a cleaning themselves.
The easiest way to clean oven racks is to soak them. Line your bathtub with towels and add your dirty racks in.
Fill the tub with hot water, just enough to cover the racks. Add in a good squirt of dish soap and about a quarter cup of baking soda. Then, swish the water around to distribute the soap and baking soda.
Let your racks soak for at least two hours. (If your racks are VERY dirty, try soaking overnight!)
When time is up, scrub down your racks with a scrub brush or scouring pad.
Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry before replacing in your clean oven.
Don’t have a bathtub? No problem! Just soak in a container big enough to hold the racks.
Once your oven racks are out, it’s time to give your oven interior some love!
First, sweep out any loose debris with a brush.
Next, make a paste of baking soda and water, aiming for something the consistency of toothpaste.
Spread this paste throughout your oven, including the interior glass. Let the paste sit for at least two hours and up to overnight.
Place a garbage bag on the floor underneath your oven before you clean the baking soda out. This will help make cleanup easier!
Once time is up, clean out the baking soda paste with a sponge wet with a little vinegar.
Spray the surfaces down with vinegar and wipe clean.
Note about self-cleaning ovens
Some ovens come with a self-cleaning feature. This feature superheats the oven, reducing everything inside to ash that you can brush away.
If you decide to go this route:
Use caution. The surface of the oven and stove can get very hot, and it will also heat your home.
More importantly, the self-cleaning feature can be hazardous to pets, especially birds. Be sure to read and follow all precautions as set by your oven’s manufacturer.
Range Hood Filter
The vent above your stove can get dirty with grease. (Of course, that’s its job, so you want it to be greasy.)
Check out the tips from Clean My Space:
And that's not all:
Clean the outer surfaces of the vent and vent hood with an all-purpose cleaner.
If you find a lot of caked on grease, make a paste out of baking soda and water about the consistency of toothpaste.
Spread this paste onto the greasy areas and let it sit for about five minutes. Take a damp, clean cloth and scrub at the oily areas until it is clean.
Wipe away any of the baking soda residues with another clean cloth.
Finally, give the surface another quick clean with an all-purpose cleaner.
While technically a small appliance, microwaves do a ton of work in most kitchens. For all this work, they should be considered major appliances.
From defrosting to reheating, chances are your microwave could use a good cleaning.
Luckily, it’s pretty simple. All you need is a microwave safe bowl, water, and half a lemon.
The refrigerator is the most used appliance in most kitchens. It can also get gross.
Try to plan your fridge cleaning when there is less food in the fridge, like right before you go grocery shopping.
Keep a cooler handy to store any food that you need to keep temporarily.
There's an order, of course
First, clear EVERYTHING out of the refrigerator and freezer. This is a good time to pitch anything that is past its expiration date.
Once all the food is out, take out all the removable shelves, drawers and cabinets from both the refrigerator and the freezer.
Now that you've got that handled...
After the refrigerator and freezer are empty, clean all the interior surfaces of your fridge with a food-safe, all-purpose cleaner.
If you’re not sure if your all-purpose cleaner is food safe, try using the DIY recipe we shared earlier. (add arrow here to above recipe.)
Use your cleaning toothbrush to get into all the nooks and crannies of your refrigerator that you never think about. (But probably should.)
These places include:
Once done with cleaning out the fridge, repeat the same on the freezer.
The correct way to wash shelves and drawers
You can clean your shelves and drawers by hand washing them with dish soap and water. Dry with a lint free cloth.
If you have the room and it is a sunny day, you can do this outside with a hose. This will make the process super quick.
You can let the shelves and drawers dry in the warm sun.
Once your interior, shelves, and drawers are all clean and back inside, give the outside of your refrigerator a quick clean.
Start by clearing out anything sitting on top of your refrigerator and also removing anything attached to your fridge like magnets.
Then, reach up!
Clean the top of your refrigerator by brushing away any loose dust or cobwebs that may be hiding up there. Wipe down the top with an all-purpose cleaner, repeating as necessary.
From there, repeat with the all-purpose cleaner on the sides and front of your refrigerator.
Pay particular attention to your door handles and the water dispenser, as these areas can get pretty dirty with daily use.
If you have a stainless steel refrigerator, polish it with a drop of olive oil and a clean cloth for a sleek shine.
More on Surfaces
Moving on down, we come to the surfaces.
Before you start on your countertops, don’t forget your backsplash.
Spray it well with some all-purpose cleaner and then wipe dry with a clean cloth.
The backsplash behind and near your stove may need some extra TLC, especially if you love frying food. Grease and grime can collect and spatter here.
- Spray down your greasy backsplash with all-purpose cleaner and wipe clean with a paper towel or rag.
- For any remaining grease, mix a paste of baking soda and water. Add just enough water to create a toothpaste-like consistency.
- Dip a cleaning cloth or sponge into the paste. Gently clean your backsplash area with this paste, leaving it for about five minutes to let it break down the grease.
Wipe away with another wet cloth. Repeat the process as necessary.
No-fuss cabinet cleaning
Starting at the top and working your way down, clear out each shelf.
By the way:
If you haven’t decluttered yet, do so now.
Vacuum the cabinet shelves to get rid of any loose dust and dirt that may be up there. And if you use shelf liner, this is an excellent time to see if you need to replace it.
Once everything is clean, replace your items into the cabinet.
Cleaning cabinet faces & handles
Clean your cabinet faces and handles with an all-purpose cleaner. Or, you can use one of those "eraser" products, which clean without chemicals.
If you have a glass cabinet, use glass cleaner on the glass panels.
About those counter tops
Before you clean your countertops, you need to clear them completely, setting everything over to your temporary staging area.
Clean your countertops thoroughly with, you guessed it, an all-purpose cleaner.
Countertop cleaning hacks
Use a cleaning toothbrush to get into any seams.
Also, I don't know if you know, but:
The space between your counter and appliances are havens for forgotten dirt.
To clean, wrap a butter knife with a cleaning cloth, moistened with a few sprays of all-purpose cleaner.
If you have any areas of dried on food, spray on some extra all-purpose cleaner and let it sit for a few minutes to soften up.
If the dried-on dirt is stubborn, use something like an old credit card to help scrape it up. (Do not use anything sharp as this may scratch your counter.)
Depending on what you keep in them, drawers can gather a lot of crumbs and other debris. Here’s how to show them some attention:
Stop trying to use your sponge or rag to pick up those crumbs!
Take everything out of your drawers, including shelf liner.
Use a vacuum to clean out all the crumbs and other debris that may be lurking.
Don’t have a vacuum cleaner? Use a sticky lint roller to clean out crumbs and debris.
Once it’s all clean, replace all the items in the drawer.
Clean the outside of the drawer, including the handle, with an all-purpose cleaner.
Small Appliances, Big Jobs
Our small appliances are little workhorses, powering through the week with essential tasks.
Unfortunately, they may not get cleaned nearly as much as they should so this is some time to give them some love.
Take precautions with your toaster
Unplug your toaster! Pull out the crumb tray and empty it.
Then, clean your toaster’s outside surfaces with some all-purpose cleaner and a soft cloth.
When was the last time you cleaned the base of your blender?
Well then, it’s probably time to clean it.
Luckily, this is a simple chore.
First, unplug your blender and remove the blending container.
Wipe down the surfaces of your blender base with a cloth sprayed with an all-purpose cleaner. Use a cleaning toothbrush to get to hard-to-reach places.
Your kitchen plumbing fixtures can get dirty over time. Giving them a good wash is an essential part of cleaning your kitchen.
Sinks and faucets 101
Clean your sink and faucet area using a combination of baking soda and a squirt of dish soap. Scrub down all the surfaces of your sink using a wet sponge.
Don't forget to hit the cracks with a toothbrush and vinegar or lemon juice, and rinse.
Dip a lemon in salt and use this to scrub around the faucet to get rid of hard water stains.
If the mineral build up is clogging your faucet, take a baggie full of vinegar and tie it around the faucet. Let it sit for at least an hour, if not overnight, to dissolve the minerals.
Garbage disposal care tips that work
Is your garbage disposal smelling funky? Toss a lemon and some ice cubes down the drain, run some cold water, and then run the garbage disposal.
The action of the disposal with the ice and lemon will clean off any odor-causing material that may be down there.
Or use your new best friend, baking soda, to deodorize.
Pour about a quarter cup of baking soda down your garbage disposal and turn it on for a second or two.
Let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. Pour about a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let this sit for a minute before turning on the garbage disposal and flushing with cold water.
Getting to the bottom
We're at the bottom. Let's take care of the floor.
The first step
Start by sweeping up any crumbs and dirt that fell to the floor during your cleaning spree.
FYI: There’s likely to be a lot.
You could use a broom and dustpan, a dry sweeper, or a vacuum cleaner to do this.
Make sure that you sweep under your counter edges and follow a pattern so you don't miss places.
Finally, it’s time to mop the floor!
My idea of superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors.
Take a walk around your kitchen and spot treat any heavily soiled areas before you start mopping the rest of the floor.
When you mop, start at a spot and work your way to the exit.
Otherwise, this might happen:
After all that work to get a sparkling clean kitchen, there has to be a secret to keeping it clean, right?
It turns out the secret is doing a little at a time.
A little bit of upkeep, every day, will keep your kitchen clean and ready to go.
Doing all these little steps as they happen, instead of all at once, will help you keep your kitchen pristine in the days to come.
How do you keep your kitchen clean and sparkling? Do you have any tips to share? Let us know in the comments!