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The Strategic Kitchen Cleaning Checklist for Daily, Weekly, and Deep Cleaning

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Keeping the kitchen clean is a never-ending chore. Prep and cook food. Wipe up any spills. Do the dishes. Repeat. 

Life is hectic and making time to clean the kitchen can be tough. By making a cleaning schedule (and sticking to it!), cleaning the kitchen won’t be an insurmountable chore. Here’s a strategic kitchen cleaning checklist broken down by daily and weekly chores. We’ve also included what you need to do for those times when a deep cleaning is in order.

Being the heart of the home and the place where we all gather to visit, prep food, and eat, a messy kitchen makes daily living unpleasant. Dirt, grime, grease, and bacteria left on countertops and cooktops can lead to the perfect breeding ground for food contamination and foodborne illnesses.

Leftover crumbs and improper food storage can also invite in unwelcome pests like weevils or mice. And we don’t want that, do we?

Use this strategic kitchen cleaning checklist as a starting point and customize it to suit your own schedule and cleaning standards. 

Let’s gather a few supplies, and dive right in!

Kitchen cleaning supplies

Before you start, let’s round up a few supplies first:

  • Microfiber cloth(s)
  • Sponges
  • Gloves
  • Glass cleaner
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Oven cleaner
  • Broom or vacuum
  • Mop or wet Swiffer
  • Garbage bags
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • A box or bin to remove unwanted items

Daily kitchen cleaning checklist

Doing these cleaning tasks on the regular makes meal prep and cooking so much more enjoyable.

  • Wash, dry, and put away dishes
  • Wipe up any spills
  • Clean cooktop and counters
  • Give the sink a quick scrub and clean out the gunk at the bottom of the kitchen sink
  • Sweep floor
  • Put away any pantry items, kitchen appliances, and utensils you are no longer using
  • Put away any stray items (mail, office or school supplies, etc.) that don’t belong in the kitchen

Cleaning tip: A mild abrasive like baking soda is great for cleaning stainless steel sinks, and sink drains. Give your sink a quick rinse with water and sprinkle baking soda all over it. Use a sponge to work in small circles all over the surface and edges of the sink. Finish with a quick vinegar rinse followed by a water rinse.

Unsplash_KitchenCleaningChecklist-Dishwasher
Credit: Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash

Weekly kitchen cleaning checklist

Once a week, spend 20-30 minutes to do a few light cleaning tasks for a sparkling clean kitchen.

  • Clean out fridge by tossing out expired items and wiping up any noticeable crumbs and spills
  • Wipe the exterior of kitchen appliances such as fridge, dishwasher, oven, toaster, and coffee pot
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch areas such as cabinet knobs, fridge handles, and light switches
  • Clean microwave by wiping down the sides and any crumbs
  • Thoroughly clean sink and faucets
  • Mop the floor
  • Take out garbage
  • Disinfect sink sponges or cloths: An easy way to do this is to throw in any sponges onto the top rack of your dishwasher before doing a load of dishes.
  • Remove used dish towels and replace with clean ones

Cleaning tip: To remove baked on food in your microwave, fill a small bowl with water, and a wedge of lemon. Microwave for one minute and let it sit for five minutes before wiping clean with a sponge. The heat and moisture helps to loosen grease and food particles.

Unsplash_KitchenCleaningChecklist-Dustpan
Credit: Heather Ford / Unsplash

Deep cleaning

How often should you deep clean your kitchen? Well, it’s up to you (and your schedule) whether you deep clean your kitchen once a month, or once every few months. Carve out a few hours to knock off these cleaning tasks all at once, or one at a time. 

While not exactly anyone’s idea of “fun” (unless you’re a Monica Geller-type), deep cleaning is essential to keeping kitchen appliances running smoothly, and your overall kitchen mess-free.

  • Wipe down and dust exterior and tops of all kitchen cabinets
  • Dust the top of the fridge (there’s likely a layer of grime and dust here!)
  • Dust and clean light fixtures
  • Declutter and clean countertops
  • Clean backsplash and spot-clean walls: To effectively clean grout, make a paste of baking soda and water and use an old toothbrush to scrub out any dirt and grime.

Clean the inside and outside of major appliances including:

  • Stove: Clean hood fan and clean or replace filter as needed
  • Oven: See below for how to clean those pesky glass door panes
  • Microwave
  • Fridge: Empty produce drawers and remove drawers for washing with hot soapy water. Toss expired condiments and food. Wipe down all shelving.
  • Freezer: Take an inventory of frozen items and toss any old food. Reorganize so older food is placed to the front (or top) ready to be used first.
  • Dishwasher: Yes, even our dishwasher needs to be washed periodically. Wipe the top and edges of the door. Clean the drain at the bottom. With an empty dishwasher, place one cup of white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe bowl on the top rack. Run on a hot water cycle. Next, measure one cup of baking soda and sprinkle along the bottom of the dishwasher. Start a short hot water cycle. The combination of vinegar and baking soda helps to remove any odors and stains.

Clean small appliances including:

  • Toaster: Remove any crumbs
  • Coffee maker: Using a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, fill your coffee maker’s reservoir. Run a coffee cycle and allow the vinegar to work its magic for 15 minutes. Run two more cycles using plain water.

More cleaning and reorganizing including:

  • Deep clean cutting boards: Since cutting boards come in contact with your food, it’s important to deep clean them regularly.
  • Clean or replace water filter and clean ice dispenser on fridge
  • Clean and disinfect sink and disposer
  • Remove scale from sink faucet and sprayer

  • Clean and reorganize pantry:
    Take out all items and toss out any expired foods. Wipe down shelves. Reorganize and group similar items together. Small bins and stacking shelves are your friends.
  • Get your spice rack in order: Toss any old spices. Different types of spices have varying shelf lives. Whole spices last 3-4 years, ground spices between 2-4 years, and ground leafy herbs last 1-3 years. 
  • Reorganize and wipe down utensil drawers
  • Clean windows
  • Consider donating or reselling kitchen appliances, or old dishes you no longer use
  • Disinfect garbage can and recycle bin

Cleaning tip: Repurpose and sanitize old toothbrushes before tossing them. Toothbrushes are great for cleaning the bottoms of sinks, scrubbing grout, and other small, hard-to-reach areas.

Cleaning tip: Use a drip catcher to prevent baked-on stains in the oven. You can buy inexpensive tin drip catchers from the dollar store. Or, use tin foil to make your own.

How to clean oven glass doors

Over time, baked-on grease and bits of food get sandwiched between your oven door’s glass window. Sure, we can wipe the exterior easily, but how exactly do you clean in-between the glass panes? 

We found this handy video on how to easily remove your oven door and clean between the glass panes:

You did it! With a regular daily and weekly cleaning schedule, you can make deep cleaning and seasonal cleanings a breeze by banishing clutter and keeping mess to a minimum. A sparkling clean kitchen (or a reasonably clean kitchen) is within your reach!

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  1. Gibbs, Karen B. (28 April 2015). “How often you should clean your dishwasher — and how to do it,” Today. Accessed October 2020.
  2. Angie’s List, The Best Way to Clean Your Coffee Maker, https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-to-best-way-clean-your-coffee-maker.htm. Accessed October 2020.
  3. Feucht, Andrea (08 January 2019). “How Long Do Spices Last?,” McCormick. Accessed October 2020. 
  4. Ultimate Handyman (27 January 2018). How to clean in between a glass oven door, https://youtu.be/N5tyw4cw0pM. Accessed October 2020.

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