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Checklist: What You Should Clean in Your Kitchen (and When)

house cleaning checklistAs a homeowner, have you ever asked yourself… What exactly should be cleaned in my kitchenand when?

After cleaning homes for over 4 decades now, we’ve often been asked these same questions.


We’ve put together a handy, yet descriptive kitchen cleaning checklist to help you out.

What You Should Clean In Your Kitchen Every Day

☑ Dishes - The part no one wants to do
Either hand wash or load dirty dishes in the dishwasher daily.  Remember, leaving dirty dishes in your sink can attract ants, roaches and other unwanted pests! And oh… don’t forget to clean and sanitize your cutting board after each use.
Cleaning Tip
TIP… It’s not necessary to rinse dishes before loading the dishwasher.  Modern appliances can handle even the dirtiest dishes.
☑ Counters - Don't forget the food prep area
Wipe down your counters before and after food preparation. You should clean sanitize your counter tops before you begin to cook just to be sure you don’t contaminate your food. Meat and poultry can leave behind harmful bacteria.  Be sure your cleaner will also sanitize as well.
cleaning info

Have granite or marble counter tops?…
Learn how to clean them here ➜

There’s nothing worse than having a clean kitchen with a dirty sink! Be sure to rinse, wipe and sanitize after doing the dishes or using your garbage disposal.
cleaning info

Have a stainless steel sink?…
Learn how to clean them here ➜

Cleaning Tip
TIP… The kitchen faucet should be wiped down and sanitized to stop the spread of germs.
☑ Eating area - Wipe off table top
Don’t forget any of those leftovers that may have fallen to the floor!
Kitchen Cleaning Checklist Eating Areas

What You Should Clean In Your Kitchen Every Week

☑ Eating area - Wipe off table top and wipe down chairs
Of course it’s necessary to wipe the table after each use.  But it is just as important to sweep and mop the floor thoroughly each week.  This will keep the area sparkling and keep the possibility of an ant invasion at bay!
Cleaning Tip
TIP… If you have young children be sure the sanitizer you are using on the high chair is food safe.
☑ Appliances - Wipe down outside surfaces (e.g. Microwave, Toaster Oven, Refrigerator, etc.)

Your appliances are a big part of your kitchen, so why not keep things looking good?

Spray appliances with cleaner then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth or paper towel.

If you have any stainless steel appliances you should wipe in the same direction as the grain. This will avoid streaking.

NOTE: It’s not a good idea to store bread on the top of the fridge.  The warmth will quickly cause mold to grow.

Cleaning Top of Refrigerator
☑ Stove top - Keep it looking clean

If you have drip pans on your cook top, remove them and soak in soapy water.  Spray cook top with cleaner.  Return to drip pans to clean and dry them.  Then finish the clean up on the top of the stove and replace drip pans.

If you have a smooth top cooking surface spray down with cleanser then wipe clean. If  you have any baked on food left, you may want to try using a Scrub Daddy to remove the residual food.

Cleaning Tip
TIP… Drying the cook top with a soft cloth after using the cleaner will leave it shiny.

Inside the toaster oven should be cleaned as well.  Remove the crumb tray, empty it and shine it up.  The toaster oven will work better with a shiny crumb tray.

☑ Counter Tops - Yes, the entire counter top this time

Using cleaner to spray down the counters, first pull items toward the front of the counters to clean behind. Be sure to get the back splash as well!  Then return items and clean the front of the counter tops.

Moving from one end of the counter to the other is a more efficient way to work.

Microwave - Inside this time because caked on food is gross

Spray with then wipe out with a damp microfiber cloth.

Remove the microwave plate and soak in soapy water to clean, then dry and return.

Cleaning Tip
TIP… For stubborn stuck on food inside of the microwave, place a mug of water inside for 3 minutes to boil, then let it sit inside for another few minutes. The steam will loosen the food so clean up is a breeze.
☑ Outside cabinets and drawers - Get those finger prints and spills

Your kitchen cabinets deserve a good wipe down on your weekly cleaning. Often cabinet doors and drawers are opened while prepping dinner with dirty hands.

With regular care, the surface should stay pretty clean.

Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets
Cleaning Tip

TIP… Look for finger prints around handles, edges of door fronts and where little fingers or dog noses may have made a sticky mess down low.

☑ Kitchen Floor - Nothing worse than your foot sticking to the floor

What’s worse than a fitly kitchen floor? Luckily, it’s easy to keep clean.  Sweep or use a hard surface vacuum on entire floor area.

Be sure to reach under cabinets and move the kitchen chairs to be through. Then mop with an appropriate floor cleaner.

cleaning info

Have tile flooring?…  Learn how to clean them here ➜

Then, Boom!  You’re well on your way to a sparkling kitchen.
lightbulb moment
Did You Know… The kitchen sponge is the easiest way to spread bacteria?…and should be replaced frequently.

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What You Should Clean In Your Kitchen Every Month

☑ Fridge - Get the inside this time

What’s that science experiment growing inside your fridge? Surely it’s not what’s for dinner!  Throw out any old leftovers, remove items from the shelves and clean one shelf at a time.  It’s okay to use a disinfecting cleaner or even baking soda to clean inside your refrigerator.

Cleaning Tip
TIP… Check the expiration dates on condiments.  Discard any that have expired.
☑ Kitchen trash can - Inside and out

Face it!….this is often the most over looked thing in you kitchen.  Isn’t it hard enough to take the trash out when the bag is full?  But the trash can is also one of the dirtiest things in your kitchen.

You should disinfect/sanitize your trash can both the inside and out.  Don’t forget to clean the lid as well.

☑ Upholstered furniture - the BIG dust collector

Since dust and dust mites can accumulate in the upholstery, it’s best to vacuum your furniture at least once a month, especially if you have allergies.

Furthermore, many vacuums come with special attachments to make this process easy.

Be sure to vacuum under the cushions as well.  You never know what you may find!

Dusting Kitchen Knick Knacks
☑ Knick knacks and picture frames - More of the BIG dust collectors

Have you looked at something so much that you seem to forget it’s there?  Picture frames and knick knacks often fall into this category.

We recommend using a microfiber cloth to dust them.

Cleaning Tip
TIP… If you have some items to dust that have intricate parts, consider using a clean dry paint brush to get inside the nooks and crannies.

What You Should Clean In Your Kitchen Twice a Year

☑ Oven Cleaning - Now it's time for the inside

Spills and over flow from family dinners can build up inside your oven.  While the evidence is nicely tucked away behind the oven door, burnt fumes will fill the air and can alter the taste of food currently cooking.

There are generally three types of ovens. Conventional, continuous cleaning or self-cleaning.  Once you determine which type you have you can start the cleaning process.

Conventional ovens are usually cleaned with a foam oven cleaner.  Spray the inside down, wait then wipe out. Don’t forget the racks!

Cleaning Tip
TIP… The racks inside a continuous cleaning oven can be sprayed with oven cleaner and placed inside a trash bag. Leave outside for an hour or so and they will clean up with minimal work.

Continuous cleaning ovens clean as they go, so to speak.  Wipe out with a non-abrasive multi purpose cleaner if you have a spill.  You should not use oven cleaner inside this type of oven.  It has porous enamel that can be damaged with a lye-based cleaner.

Lastly, self-cleaning ovens aren’t really “self cleaning”.  Adjust the setting to clean and start the process.  This takes several hours to heat up and cool down.  Once it’s finished the cycle you will need to use damp paper towels to wipe up the ashes left behind.  Then on the final swipe use a clean soft cloth to give it a bit of shine.

☑ Drapes/curtains - Wash or gently vacuum

Ever notice a white dust buildup on the top of curtains or drapes in someone’s home? Don’t let that be you!

If your window treatments are cotton or made of other durable cloth, wash them on a gentle cycle,  then dry on low heat and return.

Or, if yours are delicate or too hard to remove, use a soft bristle attachment on your vacuum.  Start at the top and using  a gentle downward motion to vacuum.

cleaning info

What are the dirtiest places in your kitchen?…

☑ Baseboards - Unfortunately these need to be hand washed

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. Dust can accumulate over time and create a dark layer on the top of your baseboards.

By taking a few minutes now to use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe them off, you will notice how clean your home can be. That little touch makes a huge difference.

Cleaning Sliding Glass Doors in Kitchen
☑ Windows - Inside and don't forget the tracks
Clean windows bring more light into homes and look like a million bucks! Use glass cleaner and a clean microfiber cloth to wipe windows. This is an easy way to get a great result. The tracks between the window and the sill attract dirt, leaves and sometimes mold. Use a disinfecting cleaner to wipe off the tracks will help keep them like new.
lightbulb moment
Did You Know… Cleaning your kitchen faucet aerator will keep water flowing and reduce impurities?

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In conclusion...

Keeping your kitchen clean is a necessary evil. Bacteria is easily spread in kitchens so a consistent cleaning procedure will help to ensure your family’s health.

We all find ourselves tired at the end of the day….and who wants to spend their weekend cleaning? By taking a few minutes each day and just a few more each week while following this step-by-step guide will give you the formula and the confidence of a clean kitchen.

We truly hope this kitchen cleaning checklist will help you find more free time to spend doing whatever makes you happy!

Editor’s Note:  We originally published this article in October 2017 and have edited it for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.