Your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your house. You turn to it for nourishment, and it often feels like the beating heart that gives your home life. Because it is one of the most used rooms, it tends to get very dirty very quickly.
Unlike the living room, where messes are generally small and contained, the kitchen has a way of compounding the mess to the point that you can get trapped beneath it. Your kitchen is actually one of the germiest spots in your home. Cleaning this room often can go a long way toward whole-house cleanliness. A clean kitchen can also do wonders for your mental health.
Incremental cleaning is best when trying to stay on top of a mess, but deep cleaning every once and a while will always be important.
Read our Bulbhead guide for the ultimate kitchen cleaning tips below!
Tool Time: Everything You Need plus the Kitchen Sink
You’re going to need a proper arsenal to attack this mess. If you don’t have some of these already, you can pick them up for a low price.
You’ll need a long handle dust mop for starters. This will make it easy to reach those hard-to-reach areas without sacrificing your knees or back. A good cleaning cloth will also be needed in your tool belt for the counters and cabinets. A sponge or scrub brush will be good for the harder to clean stains that might be caked onto your stove or sink.
Have a broom or vacuum nearby for a thorough sweep of the floor before you wash it. Also, consider a mini razor scraper for your countertops and stovetop.
If you are not familiar with this tool, it is essentially a razor blade with a handle designed to help scrape grime and residue from your glass stovetop without scratching the surface like you would using steel wool.
First Things First
You have to start somewhere. We recommend cleaning up all the so-called clutter. This usually consists of anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen, to begin with.
Since your kitchen is the heart of your home, mail, keys, and wallets all seem to wind up living on your counter or center island. If the junk mail is hanging out with the pots and pans on the disk rack, now is the time to move them.
It’s fine, but if you want to really make a change in your kitchen’s appearance, you should consider a countertop organizer or a big bowl in the center of your island for the random things you have in your hand when you walk in the door.
For all the plates, bowls, and utensils that might be taking up space on your counter, go ahead and toss them directly into the sink or dishwasher if you have one. Plug your sink and fill it with hot water and dish soap.
Let everything soak there while you tend to the other parts of the kitchen. Use the side with the garbage disposal if it’s an option. When you are done cleaning, the grime on your dishes will have loosened enough to come right off and slide down the drain.
Throw away any trash that is lying around. Countertops can get covered with paper towels, empty bags, old receipts, and a plethora of other miscellaneous things that were left there during the cooking process.
Grab it all and toss it into a trash bag. Grab anything that might need to be tossed from the cupboards and pantry as well.
Don’t take the bag out yet; you will want to keep it around for when you empty the vacuum and the food from the refrigerator you don’t want.
Top to Bottom
Cleaning top to bottom is one of the most effective ways to polish a space. A top to bottom clean is designed to make it so that you are not cleaning the same area twice.
If you wash your floor and then move on to the top of your cabinets, the dust from up there will land on your newly cleaned floor. Avoid this by cleaning top to bottom.
For your kitchen, this means starting at the kitchen stove hood, top of the cabinets, top of the refrigerator, and the ceiling fan. All of these places are hot spots for dust that often get overlooked because they are so high up.
Do the same for the walls while you are up there. Get the caked-on dust off, and then wash with a damp cloth or rag. Smoke from whatever you have cooked for dinners past can leave stains up on the walls or ceiling that will become permanent if not cleaned off.
A gentle cleanser or some warm soapy water will do for these areas.
Once you have wiped down the tops of everything, make your way down toward the countertops by scrubbing your cabinets. These are fingerprint magnets since family members are always opening and closing them with food-covered hands while they are cooking their favorite meals.
To do this, use a hot sponge that you heat up in the microwave and put a small amount of citrus-based cleaner (look for ones with lemon juice to help eliminate odors). This will rip through grease and any other cabinet stains.
Now that you have made it to the countertops, start cleaning the small appliances that live there. You don’t need to get crazy here, but use this time to give them a wipe down to remove some of the dirt and food splash that might be stuck on them. Make sure to unplug these before cleaning.
This is a good chance to get the crumbs that have been building up inside the microwave or toaster. In fact, you should probably be cleaning that toaster more than you have. Toaster fires are more common than you think, and a buildup of crumbs is one of the biggest causes.
Run a vinegar cycle through the coffee maker for a quick clean and steam the inside of the microwave with vinegar, too. Avoid putting vinegar on anything that is stainless steel to protect the shine.
The natural next step is, of course, bigger appliances. Grab your oven cleaner and apply it while you start out on the fridge.
We could spend a whole article covering how to clean your fridge, but for the purposes of this piece, we will keep it simple. Just wipe down the doors and handles and spend a second opening each and wiping the tops and bottoms. Dirt and grime can build up in the services of the rubber-encased magnetic strips.
Sort through the food that you don’t need and put the rest on the counter. Take out the newly empty shelves and wipe them down or wash them in the part of the sink that isn’t filled with your dishes. Wipe down the entire interior of the fridge and then replace everything.
Go back to the stove and finish wiping off all the grease that the oven cleaner has dislodged. Move to the stovetop and remove any burner covers or pieces that allow for it.
Clean them and wipe down the space between burners that might be covered in sauce or fluids from dinners past. This is a great time to whip out that razor we mentioned if something has crusted onto the surface.
Almost done! Grab the all-purpose cleaner and get to work on the countertops. Use a microfiber cloth if you have it. Work in sections and remove everything that is on the counter so that you have a clear area to attack.
Buff the counter after if you really want to make it shine. Once done, put the newly cleaned items you removed back where they belong. This is a good time to reexamine what you can move from the counter to the cabinets.
Counters tend to get cluttered with spices, cooking sprays, and other oft-used items that we are too lazy to put back in the cabinet. Reconsider what deserves to be on your countertop.
We’re in the endgame now! Wipe the remaining low drawer cabinets just like you did the high ones if you haven’t already or if they need another wipe after something from the countertop landed on them.
Get the vacuum ready or pull out the broom and get to work. If you are vacuuming, use an extension to hit those hard-to-reach areas that are hideouts for crumbs and dropped food. If you are able, use a towel to clean the baseboards too.
Clean baseboards make a world of difference in brightening up a room. Break out the mop and clean it in sections.
Let That Sink In
Don’t think we forgot! Clean the dishes or put them in the dishwasher and then scrub the basin with some steel wool to get rid of the grime or an SOS pad if you have one. Scrub the faucet, fill the sink again, and add some bleach. Let it sit for a few minutes before draining and wiping one more time.
A Spring (Cleaning) in Your Step
Cleaning is a chore, but it doesn’t have to be a chore. Play some upbeat music, queue up your favorite podcast, and have fun with your cleaning session. Then, when you’re done, take a moment to pat yourself on the back.