Using a kitchen cleaning checklist ensures you don’t miss a spot. Plus, it’s a great way to stay on track even when you get distracted.
In most rooms of your home, you can decide at a glance (or a sniff) whether you need to clean. Musty odors or dirty surfaces in the bedroom or living room aren’t a big deal. But in the kitchen, by the time things smell bad, they’re often attracting household pests. And, of course, preparing meals in a dirty room is never a good idea.
Basic Kitchen Cleaning
If you don’t cook often, live alone, or you’re just in a hurry, cleaning your kitchen is a matter of wiping cabinet and appliance handles, cleaning the countertops and stovetop, scrubbing the sink, then cleaning the floor. In busier households, or for a more thorough cleaning, follow the steps in this checklist to get the major surfaces along with a few details that help prevent pests and odors.
Before you Begin
It takes around an hour to do the entire checklist in a large kitchen and less time if yours is on the smaller side. All of my house cleaning checklists are divided into sections, so you can adapt them to the time and energy you have available. If you’re up for it, do the whole checklist in one session, or do one or two sections each day. Either way, once you’ve finished, you can trust you’ve done a thorough job and not skipped a thing.
Equipment and materials
- A box or bag to collect clutter
- Microfiber cloths
- Long-handled duster (optional)
- All-purpose cleaner
- Soft scrubbing cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Broom or vacuum
- Floor cleaner
Steps to Clean Your Kitchen
Step 1: Tackle trash and clutter.
Grab a bag and pick up everything that belongs in another room. Put this bag aside until you’re done cleaning. Next, put away things left on your counter that belong in drawers or cabinets. Toss any trash you find, too, and keep going until your countertops and table are clear.
Step 2: Empty the sink.
If you’ve been following my daily cleaning routine, your sink is already empty. Otherwise, wash the dishes or put them in the dishwasher. Don’t scrub the sink yet, though: you’re just emptying it, so you’ve got room to work.
Step 3: Clean the dusty spots.
Grab a long-handled duster and use it on the blades of your ceiling fan, tops of your cupboards and fridge, over recessed lighting bulbs, and on your window trim. Don’t worry about getting these areas spotless — that’s more of a deep-cleaning concern — but go over them lightly to keep dust under control.
Step 4: Clean the grimy spots.
Using a microfiber cloth and all-purpose cleaner, clean your kitchen table and chairs. Then wipe your greasy cabinet doors and drawer fronts, appliance fronts, and stovetop. Wipe spills off the floor of the oven. Be sure to rinse your cloth often to remove dust, and change to a fresh cloth if yours starts to look grimy.
Step 5: Clean what’s on the counter.
Pull small appliances forward, wipe them on all sides, and then wipe the area where they usually sit to get rid of greasy or dusty buildup. Spray and wipe any light switches and doorknobs in your kitchen, too.
Step 6: Clean the microwave.
Remove the turntable if you have one and wash it. Then clean the inside of the microwave with a damp microfiber cloth and return the turntable.
Step 7: Dispose of any spoiled food.
Rummage around in your fridge and toss any old leftovers, spoiled produce, or food that’s starting to look or smell “off.” Clean any spills on the refrigerator shelves or floor. Now’s a good time to change out the paper towels lining your produce and meat drawers, too.
Step 8: Clean the sink.
Giving the sink a quick wash is also part of the daily cleaning routine. If yours has been full of dishes, now that it’s empty, you should give it a quick wash with hot, soapy water and a microfiber cloth. Scour it with Bar Keeper’s Friend or a homemade soft scrub to get rid of any stains.
Step 9: Polish glass surfaces.
Using a microfiber cloth and homemade glass cleaner, polish the inside of windows, picture fronts, and any other glass surfaces in the room.
Step 10: Take out the trash.
If it’s a nice day, clean your trash can outside. Let it air dry, and the sun will disinfect it, too. If the bottom of your trashcan often looks gunky, try lining it with an old newspaper then sprinkling a layer of baking soda on top of that. The paper will catch drips, and the baking soda will help absorb them while killing odors, too.
Step 11: Clean the floor.
Cleaning the kitchen floor is the final step that pulls it all together. Pick up floor mats or area rugs and any chairs or stools that are in the way. Use the long-handled duster to go over your baseboards, then sweep or vacuum the floor. Finally, mop it using a homemade floor cleaner or your favorite mopping solution, and let it dry before you put everything back.