You enjoy a clean and tidy kitchen. The work it takes to keep it that way? Not so much.
Maintaining a clean kitchen doesn’t have to be an uphill battle, though. Even if you love whipping up extravagant meals for your family, you don’t have to put in double the time for cleanup. But you probably need to rethink your kitchen cleaning strategy and learn how to work smarter, not harder.
“Cleaning can be a daunting task, especially when it feels like there’s always something that needs to be done,” Andrii Gurskyi, co-founder of HomeClean NYC, tells TODAY.com. “However, by breaking down cleaning tasks into daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal categories, it’s possible to maintain a clean and healthy living space without feeling overwhelmed.”
To make cleaning more efficient, Gurskyi recommends using multi-purpose cleaning products so you don’t have to keep swapping supplies with each task. Larger tasks can be broken down into more manageable chunks. Make a challenge of it and set a timer to see how much you can get done in, say, 15 minutes.
If you share your home with others, give everyone an assignment. “Involving your family members in the cleaning process can help lighten the load and make cleaning a more collaborative effort," she says.
Not sure where to start? We've got your kitchen cleaning game plan down below. Work your way through these kitchen cleaning checklists, complete with helpful expert tips, to make daily, weekly and monthly tasks a breeze.
Our advice: Don't stop in the kitchen. Take a look at our ultimate spring cleaning checklist to make your whole house sparkle like new.
“The frequency of cleaning your kitchen will depend on how much you use it and how often you cook meals,” Armeka Townsend, cleaning expert and senior consumer relations representative at Zep tells TODAY.com. “As a general rule, it is recommended to clean and disinfect your kitchen daily to prevent the buildup of grease, grime and bacteria.”
Here are some tasks that should be done daily or as needed:
Do the dishes
It’s fine to leave a pan soaking in the sink for a bit, but make it a habit to wash, dry, and put away dishes and cookware each day. Whenever possible, empty your dishwasher soon after the cycle has ended. It’s far too easy to fill up your sink with dirty dishes when you’ve got a full dishwasher, which only adds to your kitchen chaos.
Wipe down surfaces after meal prep
Counters should be wiped clean of any kitchen grease and crumbs, as well as the stovetop. This doesn’t have to be a deep clean — you can save that for once a week. “It’s a good idea to keep up with any spills or messes as soon as they happen to prevent them from becoming harder to clean later on," Townsend adds.
Sweep the floor
Use a broom or a stick vac to go over your kitchen floor each day, or at least every other day. This will remove any crumbs that might have fallen during meal prep or eating — along with any chance for attracting unwelcome critters.
Here are some tasks that should be done weekly, though it depends largely on how much cooking you do and how often you restock your kitchen.
Clean kitchen sink and faucet
It’s easy to forget that the place where we clean and wash things also needs to be cleaned and washed, too. Grab a clean sponge and give the sink and the faucet a scrub. Do this at least once a week — more if you’ve just cleaned chicken or poultry to avoid cross-contamination.
Clean stovetop, oven and range hood
This shouldn’t be too much trouble if you’ve kept up with wiping it down at least several times a week, but now’s the time to use a degreaser to get things gleaming again.
More tips on how to clean your oven.
Clear old items from fridge and freezer
Purge your fridge and freezer of expired items at least once a week. This will stop odors from occurring, as well as give you inspiration for your shopping list — both in terms of what to buy and what not to buy. If you use ice cube trays, wash and refill them weekly.
Wipe down cabinets and appliances
Just as you might dust furniture and shelves throughout the rest of your home, it’s time to dust and wipe down your cabinets, as well as everything that’s left out in the open on your countertops. We're talking about all your small appliances — toasters, blenders, air fryers, you name it. “Do not forget the knobs and handles [on appliances],” Townsend says.
Sweep or vacuum, then mop with a cleaner that’s appropriate for the type of flooring. Vacuum rugs and anti-fatigue mats once a week, and give them a monthly wash as needed.
More tips on how to clean every type of floor.
We’ll leave the timing on these up to you, but at least once per month would leave your kitchen looking spick-and-span.
Ditch your sponges as soon as they start to smell — or at the very least, one a month. Wring them out well and let them dry in between uses to prevent bacteria growth.
Are dishes not coming out clean? It might be that your dishwasher needs some TLC. The experts at Molly Maid suggest running a normal cycle with a bowl full of distilled white vinegar in the top rack. Then dump a cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and run for a second normal cycle. The results: a clean, odor-free dishwasher. (Don’t combine these steps unless you want a fizzy science experiment happening in your dishwasher!)
We’re more focused on the hot stuff we’re pulling out of the microwave instead of the hot mess we’re leaving behind. Give it a good scrub once a month.
More tips on how to clean your microwave.
Clean refrigerator and freezer
Once a month, take everything out of the fridge and freezer so you can wipe the shelves and bins down. Raquel Kehler, an interior designer and house flipper at Room Crush, likes to vacuum and wash the crisper bins, though she’ll check for any expired items on the daily to avoid any unpleasant odors and messes. While you're at it, clean out your refrigerator coils and rip pan, as well as your ice and water dispensers if you have them.
Clean and organize cabinets and drawers
Tackle this project before you make your way to the grocery store. Not only will it make it easier to put you groceries away, but you’ll also refrain from buying duplicates of things that you didn’t realize you had stashed in a dark corner of the cabinet.
Clean coffee maker
Your coffee maker might be programmed to tell you when it’s time to be cleaned and descaled, but you can get ahead of the curve by cleaning it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Depending on how often you brew a pot, you might just need to run a cycle with water or white vinegar. If you opt for the latter, follow it up with a cycle of clear water to get rid of the vinegar scent.
Season cast iron pans and sharpen knives
Mileage may vary, depending on how often you cook. But keeping your cooking utensils in tip-top shape will prolong their longevity, so turn to the manufacturer’s guidelines to learn how to best care for cast iron pans, knives and other kitchen investments.
Disinfect trash can
Even if you use a liner, you should still wipe down the inside and outside of your trash can with a disinfectant spray to help keep odors at bay. The experts at Glad recommend letting the spray sit for a few minutes — you can add a half cup of baking soda for further deodorizing power — then scrub, rinse and dry.
Clean walls, floorboards and fixtures
Is that tomato sauce on the wall? No judgment here, but be sure to clean walls, windows, and floorboards of dust and dinner detritus. Same goes for lighting fixtures and switch plates.