Hey everyone, welcome to the new Spring Cleaning Series! Over the next six weeks I will be posting one new spring cleaning checklist for each room in your house. Stay up to date and follow along with the series, and at the end of the six weeks your spring cleaning will be complete!
Today we are going to tackle the kitchen. I usually dread the kitchen deep cleaning, but hopefully with this list broken down into simple categories you can knock the kitchen out quickly and painlessly! I have broken the kitchen project down into specific areas to ensure you don’t miss any important spots!
Ceiling and Walls
The first thing that you will need to do with your refrigerator is start with a blank slate. Empty the entire refrigerator.
First, check through all of your food. Dispose of any expire foods and any ’empties.’ I refer to ’empties’ as anything that is barely worth saving. For example, we have an ’empty’ ketchup bottle in our refrigerator. I don’t eat ketchup, so I don’t pay any attention to it. But my husband and son do. So every time they want ketchup, my husband says “we don’t have any ketchup!” Since I do the grocery shopping, all I know is that I look in the refrigerator and see the ketchup; I don’t pull it out to see how much is left. Now if he would just toss the empty bottle, then I would see that it was gone and know to buy more. I’m sure we all have a few of these in our kitchens!
Next, you will need to remove all of the shelves and drawers. Time to give them a good scrubbing! Hopefully a good scrubby and soap and water will do the trick, otherwise you may need some stronger chemicals to get them sparkling. Once your shelves and drawers are cleaned and ready to go back in the refrigerator, you may want to consider adding in some shelf liners. They can be easily cleaned or replaced as needed and Amazon has a great selection of refrigerator-specific shelf liners. My favorite choices are these antibacterial liners that can be cut to fit for any refrigerator.
Once you are ready to get the food back in, you may also want to add in some bins for extra organization. Again, Amazon has a great selection and these are my favorite! Be sure to wipe down any bottles or packaging with any lingering food on it before you return it to the refrigerator so you don’t get your beautiful new space messy already!
The last step for your refrigerator is to give the exterior a once-over. Wipe everything down, including the top and sides. Give your handles a good scrub since they usually take the most beating. A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works wonders for grimy handles. And finally, clean the vent on the bottom of the front of the refrigerator. I like to suck any dust or debris out with my vacuum and then wipe it all down.
Since dishwashers do the cleaning in the kitchen, it’s easy to assume that they themselves are clean. But friends, our dishwashers need love too! The good news is that it is a very quick project!
Dig into the bottom of your dishwasher (you may want gloves for this). You may also want to remove your bottom rack if it is in the way. Dig out any lingering food pieces.
Next, you will need to make sure your sprayers are unplugged. If you see any debris covering the sprayer holes, a toothpick or fine tipped knife will work just fine to unclog it. Then, you will want to wipe down all of the seals inside the dishwasher.
Finally, choose a dishwasher cleaner to run through your heaviest wash cycle (make sure your dishwasher is empty when you do this). Although it is not always recommended depending on the cleaner you choose, I then like to run one more empty cycle to ‘rinse’ any remaining debris or cleaner residue. And when choosing a dishwasher cleaner, there are an overwhelming amount of options to choose from! Just be sure that whatever you choose says ‘dishwasher cleaner’ on the packaging. Affresh seems to be the most popular one that I have found.
Once your inside is clean, just give your dishwasher exterior a once over and wipe it down, using a Magic Eraser for any stubborn spots.
I don’t know about you, but my microwave gets pretty grungy! Maybe it’s from excessive use, or maybe it’s from my husband never remembering to cover anything, but either way, it gets pretty embarrassing. There are many methods to cleaning your microwave, but I like to stick with a non-chemical route whenever possible.
My favorite tried-and-true method requires lemon juice and water. Simply add 1/2 cup of water to a bowl and either the juice from 1/2 a lemon or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (from a bottle). Then microwave the mixture for three minutes. This will essentially give your microwave a lemony fresh steam clean. Once the time is up, let the bowl sit for five minutes without opening the door, to continue letting the steam do its work.
Once the time has passed, almost all residue will simply wipe off with a clean towel. You may need a scrubby for any tough, stuck on messes, but for the most part cleaning should be relatively easy. Once the inside is clean you will want to remove the plate and give it a good cleaning with some soap and water.
As always, once the inside is clean, give the exterior a good scrubbing too.
Ay-yi-yi. The oven is definitely my kitchen nemesis. It seems that no matter how careful I am, it always looks filthy! I just don’t get it. But anyhow, it needs cleaned, so no sense dwelling on the why.
The easiest way to give your oven the deep cleaning that it truly needs is to run your self-cleaning cycle. This requires many hours, usually around 5, at a very high temperature. So you may want to skip this on a hot day. It can also get very stinky! But it is usually very effective.
Before you run your self-cleaning cycle, remove the racks so that you can clean them manually. Once the self-cleaning cycle is complete, you will need to let the oven cool and then scrape out and remove any remaining debris. I then like to give everything a good wipe down with a wet wash cloth and then follow behind with a dry cloth.
If you are concerned that your oven is too old to run the self-cleaning cycle, or if yours simply does not work, I have read that the baking soda and vinegar method is very effective. However, since I have never personally tried it myself, unfortunately I can’t provide much input on it.
From the oven, you will want to move up to your stove top. You will probably need some kind of scrubby of sorts for this job. If you have burners, remove them and the trays and give them a good soap and water cleaning in the sink. For really stuck on messes, let them soak for a while. You will then want to dig out any debris from underneath the burners.
If you have a ceramic top electric stove, get a good cleaner and scrubby specifically designed for your top. The correct scrubby is especially important so you don’t scratch the top. A good cleaning kit, like this one from Lowe’s, can remove any lingering stains and leave your cooktop looking brand new!
Cabinets will be your biggest project to tackle in your kitchen. Depending on the size of your kitchen and its contents, this may need a day devoted to just that.
Start with a clean slate by emptying your cabinets. I like to work one section of cabinets at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed. Unless you are planning an entire kitchen reorganization and moving things around. Check your expiration dates and discard anything past its time. Also, discard any ’empties’ like the ones you found in the refrigerator. Now is the time to get rid of anything that you know you just won’t eat. If it is within it’s expiration time frame, then take it to your local food bank. Many places have drop off locations all throughout town. It is also time to get rid of anything that you know you ‘shouldn’t eat.’ I’m looking at you, giant bag of Halloween candy! Bring it in to work for your co-workers to share so you aren’t tempted anymore!
Once your cabinets are empty, give them a good cleaning with a Murphy Oil Soap and water mixture. You can either let them air dry or follow through with a dry cloth. Once dry, you may want to put in some shelf paper, similar to the refrigerator shelf liner. Shelf paper is easy to clean and can cover any blemishes you may have inside your cabinets.
Now you can return everything to your cabinets. I’m not going to get into kitchen cabinet organization now, because there is so much to discuss it deserves its own dedicated post. So for simplicity, for now we will just say return everything to its place. I will be following up soon with a whole article on kitchen organization, so stay tuned!
Last, dust the exterior of your cabinets. Then wipe them down with your soap mixture from your cabinet interiors, paying special attention to your cabinet pulls. You can let them air dry or wipe them down with a dry cloth. If you do not have wood cabinets, you can simply use a soap and water mixture.
I have a love-hate relationship with my kitchen floor. It’s a beautiful porcelain tile, but the grout is a nightmare! As I have mentioned before, I am constantly cleaning. We do not have an eat in kitchen, so we don’t produce much foot traffic. Nevertheless, it seems as if there are always new stains on my grout!
Fair warning folks; grout cleaning is very tedious and very timely. But it is also necessary from time to time. There are multiple options for cleaning your grout. You can use a cleaner specifically designed to clean grout. I have also used toilet bowl cleaner with bleach. If you are looking for a more natural option, you can also use equal parts vinegar and water or baking soda and water. Whichever method you decide to use, you will need to apply it to your grout lines and let sit for approximately five minutes.
I usually work in small sections so the cleaner doesn’t dry out before I make it that far. Then you will need a brush to scrub. There are brushes specifically designed for grout cleaning, but I find a cheap toothbrush works just as well. Once the whole floor is clean, wipe it down with soap and water or your usual steam cleaning routine.
If you cannot achieve the look you were hoping for with a simple cleaning, there is another option for you! Last spring, I discovered an amazing product at Lowe’s designed for re-staining your grout. It works amazing and makes your grout look fresh and new! I love it so much that I will be writing an entire piece on it soon!
If you do not have tile floor to maintain, then you probably have a much easier job than the rest of us! Simply give your floor a good hands-and-knees scrubbing with your floor-specific wax or polish. Get into all of the nooks and crannies that are normally neglected. Wipe out the dust bunnies. Fix any chips or dents in the floor with a wood filler or wood pen if necessary.
If you are like me, then your baseboards get neglected from time to time. Spring is the time for the refresh that they deserve!
First, you will need to wipe all of the dust of the boards with a dry dust cloth. I also find that a dry Swiffer pad works well too. Then you will need to make a soap and water mixture for white baseboards, and a Murphy oil soap and water mixture for wood baseboards. Give the baseboards a wipe down and scrub out any spots or stains. Follow behind with a drying cloth. Last, give the entire perimeter of baseboards a wipe down with dryer sheets to help prevent additional dust buildup.
If you find any damage along the way, be sure to repair it now too. For white baseboards, you may need to touch up the paint or apply an entirely new coat of paint. For wood, fill in any cracks or gauges with wood filler and scratches with a wood pen.
Ceiling and Walls
The first step to cleaning your ceilings and walls is to attack the dust bunnies. Using a dry Swiffer to reach up high, you can wipe everything down, paying special attention to corners. You may also need a vacuum for this. If you have a ceiling fan, you will need to reach that too. There are specific tools with brushes designed to slide right over the fan blades. You could also just grab a chair to stand on and do it manually.
Next, it’s time to wash your walls. This used to be such a dreaded, tedious project for me. It seems that if you only spot clean your walls, then you can always see what was cleaned and what wasn’t. But washing your entire walls would take forever! I discovered a new solution! Use a Swiffer to tackle your walls. This is simply the quickest, most efficient method I have found. I put a Swiffer pad on the stick, and then apply my cleaning solution of choice to the pad. Then just work up and down the walls, similar to rolling paint. This will leave you with fresh and clean walls with a uniform look.
You officially have a ‘spring-cleaned’ kitchen to enjoy! A blank slate is the best time to start a maintenance routine, too. Although it’s inevitable that the messes you just cleaned will return, a good maintenance method will definitely prolong your results. A few simple steps: always do your dishes each day and wipe down the sink and counter tops daily. Spot clean as best you can when messes arise: in the microwave, oven, and stove top. Keep up with weekly dusting for cabinet faces and baseboards. You can wash these areas monthly with soap and water. All of these simple steps take just minutes and will definitely increase the longevity of your spring cleaning.
Good luck with your kitchen spring cleaning and be sure to check back next week for Week 2 of the Spring Cleaning Series!