A Kitchen Cleaning Checklist For All Levels Of OCD
For lots of people, the kitchen is the heart of their home.
A kitchen is a good place to be, almost always the best place in the house.
— Michael Ruhlman
As the heart, a kitchen is not just a place where you prepare food, but it is a place where the family gathers.
And here’s the truth:
Keeping that kitchen clean isn’t exactly a favorite chore. There are so many parts to keep clean in a kitchen, from food storage to preparation space and more.
You might not think you can get it all done.
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But here’s the good news:
A kitchen cleaning checklist (or several) will help you keep track and stay there.
Planning out what you need to clean and when can help you stay organized, keeping the kitchen chores from being overwhelming.
Importance of a Clean Kitchen
The most important thing about keeping a clean kitchen is that super satisfying feeling you get from feeling like you’re WINNING at this adulting thing.
And using a kitchen cleaning checklist means you won’t forget anything.
But it goes deeper than just completing a checklist.
Your kitchen is where you prepare all your food, and you need to make sure that it’s a healthy and safe environment to do so.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are over 250 foodborne illnesses.
These are NOT secret ingredients that anyone wants in their food, am I right?
The Cleveland Clinic reports that 9 percent of foodborne illnesses happen in the home.
Common places cross-contamination occurs in a home kitchen include towels, cooking utensils, and oven handles.
You can reduce these risks with good food safety practices and a clean kitchen.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires in the United States. Most cooking fires involve the kitchen stove.
Here’s the point:
Clean kitchens help reduce fire hazards.
Developing good habits like keeping clutter like food packaging, oven mitts, and other flammables away from the stovetop is critical.
Kitchen Cleaning Checklist: Tools
If you want to give your kitchen a thorough cleaning, you need the right tools for the job.
Keeping it together
An important, but often overlooked, part of sticking to your cleaning routine is keeping your tools handy.
Here’s the perfect place to keep them:
Under the sink.
Use a tension rod to hang your cleaning solution bottles to maximize your usable space. Put smaller tools, like brushes, sponges, and your gloves, in a caddy or bucket to find them easily.
Kitchen Cleaning Checklist: Cleaning Products
To clean your kitchen, the minimum you’ll need is an all-purpose cleaner and a glass cleaner.
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You can also buy specialized oven cleaners, degreasers, and surface-specific cleaners for granite, stainless steel, etc.
It’s easy to go out and buy ready-made cleaning products. Many commercially available cleaners are cheap and effective.
Even so, it’s worth taking a second look at what you’re buying.
Many cleaning products are full of toxic chemicals that you probably don’t want in your food prep areas.
Do you really want this in your kitchen?
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But wait, there’s more!
Finding good cleaners
Don’t worry: there are plenty of non-toxic cleaning products out there.
EWG has a Guide to Healthy Cleaning that ranks 2,000 different cleaning product for risk.
Here’s part of their kitchen category:
Kitchen Cleaning Checklist: Natural Cleaner Ingredients and Recipes
A popular alternative to buying ready-made cleaners is to make your own at home.
Here’s the great thing:
When you make your own cleaners, you know exactly what’s in there.
Another bonus is that these natural cleaner ingredients are easy to find.
Take a look:
When life gives you lemons, use them to clean your kitchen!
Lemons are a great, all-natural source of acid that smells great. Plus, they’re versatile.
Air freshener hack
Give your kitchen a great, fresh smell:
Fill a small pot with water, toss in lemon rinds and a few of your favorite herbs and spices. Bring it to a boil and simmer for an hour.
This will fill your kitchen with some nice, fresh aromas.
Shine your faucets
Minerals from hard water can make your faucets look dingy and spotty…
Here’s a quick fix:
Spray lemon juice (or rub a cut lemon) onto the affected areas. Wait about 10 minutes, rinse, and wipe dry for a clean, spot-free faucet.
Much like lemon, vinegar is another all-natural cleaning agent.
In the kitchen alone you could use it to clean your drain, stainless steel, and sanitize sponges.
But here’s the bad news:
Fortunately, the scent often dissipates quickly.
Probably more closely associated with cooking than cleaning, salt is also a valuable cleaning tool, due to its crystalline structure.
The best part is:
it’s gentle enough not to scratch your surfaces.
Dishwashing detergent is an essential part of many homemade cleaner recipes. Dawn dishwashing soap is a popular brand, but most any mild dishwashing detergent will do.
If you prefer a more natural option than dishwashing detergent, you can try using vegetable-based castile soap.
Dr. Bonner is a very popular brand.
However, do not use castile soap in cleaning solutions with vinegar or lemon. You’ll be left with a dreaded white film over everything.
Here’s the bottom line:
You can use castile soap and acid one after the other but not together.
Baking soda is a staple in many natural cleaning toolkits. It’s mildly abrasive with a PH of 9, making it slightly alkaline.
And it breaks down greasy messes like a champ.
Oh, but there’s more:
Baking soda is king in the deodorizing department.
Here are a couple of ideas for odor:
- Place a bowl of baking soda in the fridge
- Sprinkle some baking soda in your trash
These oils are a secret weapon in your natural cleaning arsenal. Not only do they smell good, essential oils often have properties that can help boost your cleaning power.
- Hydrogen peroxide — natural bleach and disinfectant
- Rubbing alcohol — cleans glass, stainless steel, and chrome fixtures
- Olive oil — natural polish for stainless steel
To get you started, here are two easy, natural cleaner recipes.
All you have to do is combine in a spray bottle and shake!
Seasonal Kitchen Cleaning Checklist
For some people, seasonal cleaning is Spring Cleaning.
(In my case, it’s “Uh-oh, the in-laws are coming for their yearly visit” cleaning.)
Whatever the occasion, seasonal kitchen cleaning involves the huge projects that you should plan to do every three to six months.
Seasonal cleaning is a TON of work.
But here’s the best part:
It’s SO satisfying to admire your work afterward. I promise you will you feel like you’re nailing this responsible adult thing.
Here’s a seasonal kitchen cleaning checklist to keep you on task:
The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.
A spotless space starts with getting rid of the clutter.
Clutter takes up valuable space, not only in our homes but in our lives.
Go through everything in your kitchen, from your cabinets to your counters to your refrigerator and freezer.
Ask yourself, honestly, if you need to keep something.
If the answer is no, choose one:
- Trash it
- Donate it to someone else
Clearing space in your kitchen will make the seasonal cleaning more manageable and less daunting.
Clean the fridge
Your seasonal cleaning time is the best time to clean the fridge. It’s not the most fun chore — and the worst part is:
It can be gross.
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Be sure to budget an hour or two for this, and it’s going to be a lot of work.
But think about how clean it’s going to be.
And Do it on a Dime makes it looks super easy:
Empty and clean the freezer
Start by emptying your freezer and cleaning it out.
If you find crumbs stubbornly sticking around, use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to make them disappear.
Give the freezer shelves a quick wipe down with your favorite all-purpose cleaner before putting your food back in.
Clean the oven
Ovens can get really dirty throughout the year. Making time to clean it during your seasonal clean will keep everything looking nice and fresh.
That is a great technique to get your oven looking brand new without the use of toxic cleaners.
Do it on a Dime does it again:
Some ovens have a self-cleaning feature. This feature will heat your oven to a high temperature for several hours, reducing anything in the oven down to dust.
Remove your oven racks before starting the self-clean function.
Here’s the bad news:
The self-cleaning cycle will heat your house, so it is not a good idea to do this during hot weather.
Plus, anything left on top of the stove may also melt due to the high heat.
And if that wasn’t enough, here’s more bad news:
The process also produces strong fumes. Manufacturers recommend that you turn on any vents as well as open the windows.
These fumes may also be toxic to pets (especially birds). Move all your pets away from the area before using the self-cleaning feature.
Better yet, stick with the video.
Once your appliances are clean on the inside, start the all over kitchen deep clean.
These are all the nooks and crannies you should think about but usually, don’t.
Start at the top and work down
Remember to start cleaning at the top and then work your way down to the counters and finally, onto the floor.
Here’s the reason:
By starting at the top, you keep working in the same direction instead of having to revisit areas.
Clear everything off of the countertops to ensure that you clean every inch that you may miss during your regular cleanings.
Small appliances and accessories
Grab all of your small appliances and knick-knacks.
Clean the surfaces of your small appliances with an all-purpose cleaner, and dust those tchotchkes.
Put any kitchen accessories in the dishwasher or hand-clean them before placing them in their rightful places on your countertop.
Take the time to clean in between your major appliances and the counter. Crumbs and other debris tend to fall into the abyss, never to be heard from again.
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Repurpose an old toothbrush as a cleaning tool to get into narrow spaces.
Or do this:
Use a butter knife covered with a paper towel moistened with an all-purpose cleaner.
You’ll be amazed (or disgusted) at what you clean up!
Your seasonal clean is the time to get in under the appliances. Get some help if you need it to safely move your large appliances to gain access to the floor underneath.
Sweep up any loose debris with a broom or with a vacuum before running a mop over it.
Ready to go the extra mile?
Before doing a final sweep and mop of your kitchen, clean the walls and the baseboards.
All you need is:
- Bucket of soapy water or all-purpose cleaner
- Small toothbrush
Spic and span.
Monthly Kitchen Cleaning Checklist
For your monthly cleaning tasks, you want to tackle things that get grungy over time.
Think about things like your coffee maker and dishwasher, but you can add whatever get really dirty in your kitchen over time.
Clean your dishwasher
Clean your dishwasher to flush out all the little bits and pieces that may accumulate as you use it.
The worst part is:
If you don’t clean it, all that food is going right back onto your plates and flying up into your glasses.
Here’s what to do about that:
And your dishwasher is functional again.
Deep clean your coffee maker
Your morning cup of joe may contain more than just caffeine.
Working with microbiologists at Loyola University, a newsgroup discovered more than 100,000 microbes in swabs of local families’ coffee makers.
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Ideally, you should clean your coffee maker at least weekly. It might even belong on the daily list, but we’re fitting it in every month for a deep clean.
And it’s this easy:
Brew vinegar through your coffee pot, and it will descale your coffee maker.
Here’s the kicker:
It will also kill any nasties that may be hiding inside your water reservoir.
Just follow the vinegar brew with several brews of plain water and then finally, clean your carafe and coffee maker exterior.
Weekly Kitchen Cleaning Checklist
Setting a few minutes every week to go through this kitchen cleaning checklist will help you maintain a clean, functional kitchen.
Wipe Down Appliances
Doing this is super simple.
Just take a clean paper towel and some all-purpose cleaner and give your appliances, large and small, a quick wipe down.
It only takes a few seconds for each item and makes a huge difference.
Clean the Microwave
If your house is anything like mine, your microwave does a ton of work.
And when it stays in your microwave for too long, it’s hard to clean out.
Or is it?
Cleaning your microwave is simple. Take a large, microwave-safe bowl, fill it with water and half a lemon. Then microwave this on high for three minutes.
Wait, you’re not done yet.
Let it sit for another 5 to 10 minutes to allow the steam to do its magic. Finally, open up the microwave, remove the bowl, and wipe out the microwave with a clean sponge.
Deep Clean Cutting Boards
Wooden cutting boards take a little extra care to keep in good condition. Plus, it will help keep your cutting surface clean and sanitized.
Here’s all you need to do:
Sprinkle it with salt and rub it with lemon. The salt will act as an abrasive while lemon will disinfect and deodorize it. Rinse thoroughly with water and towel dry.
Daily Kitchen Cleaning Checklist
The best way to maintain a clean kitchen is to clean a little bit every day.
Little messes become big messes if you don’t deal with them right away.
Clear And Clean Surfaces
Keeping your surfaces clear is key to helping keep your kitchen clean and cut down on your daily kitchen work.
So, do this:
Clean as you go and as soon as they happen.
A bit of jam is easy to clean with a wet paper towel right after it happens but will be more of a pain to deal with if you let it sit.
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Nothing kills the mood in a kitchen more than a sink full of dirty dishes.
But here’s the truth:
No one likes to do them, but they need to be done.
Just do it. — Nike ad campaign
Make it a habit of washing dirty dishes as you make them. If you have a dishwasher, make it a habit of rinsing your plate and put them in the dishwasher immediately.
Even if you are replacing your sponges every week, it’s still essential to sanitize them daily.
Good Housekeeping says, a quick microwave zap a day keeps the germs at bay.
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Once you are done with the dishes and surfaces, sweeping up is a pleasant chore to finish everything off.
A clean floor is so satisfying to look at, after all!
Just look at the happy raccoon.
Enjoy Your Clean Kitchen
Now that you have completed all of that: