Kitchens are the hub of the house. It’s more than a place to cook—more than anything, it’s a place to hang. That’s why cleaning a kitchen shouldn’t fall off your radar. “At the end of the day, the kitchen is the heart of a home where everyone spends some time in,” says Yohann Dieul of Frenchy Home Cleaning in London. “It needs to be a clean, warm, and cozy area where you can enjoy lovely meals and chats with your family.”
Here, we created the ultimate step-by-step guide to a foolproof cleaning routine that will have you say goodbye to backsplash buildup, grime under the cabinets, and splotchy countertops. We also added kitchen cleaning tips that that will have the space spotless in a jiffy. All you need are trusty household items like baking soda, white vinegar, and good old dish soap to get started.
What are the 5 steps in cleaning the kitchen?
A kitchen with splatters, fingerprints on appliances, and countertops that look like something akin to a yard sale can feel overwhelming. To make this daunting chore more manageable, follow this step-by-step guide. The approach? Map out a methodic kitchen cleaning routine. “Always start on the opposite side to the kitchen sink and make your way round clearing the countertops first,” says Kelly Doran, founder of Mrs D’s Cleaning Reviews, in Chorley, England. “Moving on to loading the dishwasher, cleaning the stove, disinfecting the countertops, and lastly cleaning the kitchen sink.” Here, a closer look at the strategy.
Step 1: Declutter the countertops
Start cleanup by decluttering your kitchen space. “Might seem obvious, but the more clutter you have around you, the less effective your cleaning will be,” Dieul says. Load dirty dishes into the dishwasher and clear countertop clutter. Organize any written recipes, throw away or recycle empty jars, replace the paper towel roll, put out a laundered dish rag and kitchen towels, and refill the hand washing soap on the kitchen sink. This is a good time to pay attention to neglected items like a dingy cast-iron skillet and to polish silverware or copper pots and pans. Once you remove unnecessary items, you can actually see the debris that needs to go.
Step 2: Maintain the appliances
Focus on large and small appliances. This can include cleaning the oven, a toaster, a microwave, a coffee maker or Keurig, a glass stove top, a Blackstone griddle, an air fryer, and a dishwasher. How you clean these is up to you and your time allotment. You can wipe down the grime from all the surfaces with a wet cloth or deep clean the inside of each appliance. You’d be surprised how quickly food splatter can accumulate in your air fryer and microwave. Either way, dealing with gunk helps down the line when you move or use these appliances. Make sure to lift each item and wipe away crumbs accumulated underneath. Particularly if you pop a bagel into your toaster on a daily basis. You don’t have to do a deep dive every time you clean, but make sure these items aren’t forgotten. Keep a microfiber cloth close at hand for a daily sprucing up.
Step 3: Clean filters and the garbage disposal
This step is super important, but it is often forgotten. Clean out the unseen kitchen accessories like a dishwasher filter (to prevent a dish rinse in icky water), the inside of your trash can (to prevent fruit flies), and the gunk off the blades of a garbage disposal (to prevent a smelly kitchen sink). The cleanup can be as easy as pouring the excess hot water down your drain, soaking the dishwasher filter in a vinegar bath, and wiping down the garbage can with disinfecting wipes.
Step 4: Wipe down all surfaces
Sanitizing countertops is the obvious kitchen cleaning step, but don’t neglect all the other surfaces: light fixtures, kitchen cabinets, backsplash, grates, faucets, and burners. “It’s very important to always clean from top to bottom,” Dieul says. “Whatever falls can be picked up at the end of your cleaning.” Keep a fan duster with an extension pole nearby. Typically, a damp cloth with a cleanser or soapy water will remove residual splatter. But you might want to invest in specialty cleaners for quartz countertops, marble countertops, and stainless steel. Be careful with bleach and ammonia as these chemicals can damage various materials, including marble. For hardened food debris, mix baking soda with soap and scrub away.
Step 5: Don’t forget the kitchen floor
Get down to the nitty-gritty of kitchen cleaning: Sweep and mop the floor to clear crumbs, dust, and other things you’ve dropped during cooking. You’ll want to maintain a clean floor weekly with a bucket of warm water and suds. If you’re crunched for time, do a quick run through with the Swiffer Sweeper 2-in-1 mop. For built-up grime in nooks and crannies you might need to get down on all fours and peek under the cabinets. Use a steam mop to deep clean grout. It might also be time to replace or clean the kitchen mat by your kitchen sink. Not only do you stand on it while doing dishes, you probably also have spilled plenty of dirty water on it than you realize. Ruggable offers washable small rugs and runners, so you can keep your kitchen clean and pretty.
How do I keep my kitchen clean daily?
A spick-and-span kitchen doesn’t require an army or hours of work as long as you take a couple of minutes every day to stay on top of it. “The more often you clean, the less you have to do each time,” Dieul says. “A little every day is key!” Yes, this means putting your dishes straight into the dishwasher, wiping the crumbs off your counter after breakfast, and cleaning right after you finish baking instead of doing it all the next day. Pop scented garbage disposal cleaning and deodorizing drops into your kitchen sink once you’re done washing dishes. “It will keep your drain clean and stop bad odors,” Kelly Doran says.
Dieul notes that even though you don’t need to clean out your big appliances every day, you do need to clean the surfaces you work and eat on daily. Not only will you pick up spills and gunk, but you’ll also be quite a few steps closer to a spotless kitchen. Thanks to disposable kitchen cleaning wipes, this task shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes. Dieul points out that the often overlooked fridge handles should definitely be on your daily cleaning checklist. Think about it, you probably open the fridge 100 times a day, and that’s if you live alone. A family with little kids—oy!
What products should you use to clean your kitchen and what to avoid?
Dieul leans toward eco-friendly kitchen cleaning products for his worktop. He suggests soap bars that contain natural ingredients and minimize plastics. (ThreeMain sells zero-waste dishwashing bars.) “You have to be careful with the products you use in the kitchen, especially the surfaces where you prepare your meals,” Dieul says. “They need to be clean, germ-free but at the same time, don’t use products that can be harmful to avoid getting them on the food you prepare.” Try ThreeMain Complete Cleaning Kit, which includes a multi-purpose cleaner packaged in a reusable aluminum bottle made with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and fragrant lemon essential oil.
For a DIY alternative, Dieul recommends making your own surface cleaner by mixing white vinegar, water, and a drop of dish soap. The solution works great for quick splatter removal, just know that not all worktops “agree with the acidity of the vinegar,” he says. When overused on stainless steel, vinegar can corrode the surface, and it dulls natural stone like granite and marble. You’ll also want to skip bleach and ammonia. These harsh chemicals, and using the two together creates toxic gases called chloramines. The noxious duo irritates the eyes, nose, and throat, and can even cause death.