Why Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Is Important
While you may clean up after yourself each time your cook, most of us do not do a truly deep clean in our kitchen very often. You know you need to do it, so let's roll up our sleeves and get to work spring cleaning your kitchen!
Step 1 : Get Ready To Clean
Straighten up before you clean up. You want to spend your cleaning time more efficiently and you can only do that if you have room to move!
Run the dishwasher and put the dishes away. Gather up the dirty kitchen towels and throw them in the laundry room. Stuff the bags of chips, crackers, etc in the pantry (we'll get to the pantry later). If there is no room in the pantry, put it all on the kitchen table.
You want your counters free of clutter and an empty sink and dishwasher before you start!
Lastly - grab an empty box because you are going to be creating a "donate box" as you move through spring cleaning your kitchen!
Step 2 : Clean Under The Sink
Cleaning under the sink first allows you see what you have before you start cleaning the rest of the kitchen and and opportunity to get rid of old cleaning supplies. You can take everything that needs to be used up and put it to work in your spring cleaning.
Check for leaks, mold, and any other issues under your kitchen sink that may go unnoticed.
Give everything inside the cabinet a good wipe-down with a sponge and warm soapy water.
Consider purchasing a silicone mat for under your sink in case your pipes or garbage disposal spring a leak.
Add a cheap moisture absorber (even if it is just a box of baking soda) under your sink to help prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
Step 3 : Clean Out Your Drawers
Start with your junk drawer! Toss the take-out menus for the restaurants that closed 2 years ago. Gather all the pens together and put them in a bag or rubber band them together. Throw away half of those promotioonal notepads you always seem to pick up (don't worry - you'll pick up more over the next year!). If you want you can buy one of those modular organizers for your junk drawer, but a few zipper storage bags work just as well.
Now - on to your silverware drawer. Take everything out of it. If you have a removable silverware organizer, give it a good scrub-down with soapy water along with the inside of the drawer itself. Gather up the chopsticks and single-use plastics you have accumulated and either recycle them or take them in to work so that they can be used.
Next up is the towel drawer. Throw away the towels, potholders and rags that are stained and ripped. Stash the decorative holiday towels along with the decorations for that holiday. Worried that you are throwing away too many towels? Dollar Tree sells some great kitchen towels for everyday use, especially their bar towels!
The Gadget Drawer. This is the hardest drawer for me because I love my gadgets. Sure - I haven't used that cherry pitter in 8 years...but SOMEDAY I MIGHT (narrator: she won't). To the donation box they go! Throw away the rubber spatula that has the top that keeps popping off. You get the idea....
Step 4 : Clean Out The Pantry
Get rid of anything expired (toss) or you won't use (donate). Food pantries won't take anything expired. (That being said - I will taste the outdated crackers to see if they taste stale and eat them if they don't. But that bottle of Sriracha that has turned brown? It's gone! Expired canned goods? I don't take a chance)
Check your herbs & spices. They actually DO lose their potency. Either toss them or make a menu plan that includes them in the next few weeks. Make a mental inventory that you MAY need to replace them in the future, if a recipe calls for it. That Chinese 5-Spice may have expired, but if the last time you used it was 2 years ago...no hurry to replace it!
The US postal service holds a food drive the 2nd Saturday of May each year, making for the perfect time for a spring pantry clean-out. Just place the box or bag under your mailbox and they will pick it up.
As you are going through each section of your cabinets, don't forget to give the shelves and doors a good wipe-down. to remove food particles, fingerprints, etc.
Step 5 : Oven, Cooktop & Microwave
If your oven has a self-cleaning function, you are in luck. Set the cycle and let the oven do the work. If not, it's time to go all 50's housewife and break out the Easy-Off.
Now we come to the cooktop. If there is one part of the kitchen that I can't stand to be dirty, it's my stovetop! Don't just grab a bottle of window cleaner and some paper towels. We are going for a deep clean here!
I am a big fan of Barkeepers Friends products when spring cleaning your kitchen. If you have a gas range, remove the grates and give them a good scrub, as well as the burner caps.
If your microwave has a bunch of stuck-on food, put 2 cups of warm water in a bowl and add 1/4 cup white vinegar. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, then let sit for another 3 minutes. The food should wipe off very easily. Remove the turntable and give it a good scrub (or run it through the dishwasher)
Step 6 : Sink & Dishwasher
There are several dishwasher cleaner products that you can buy at the supermarket or Target. My dishwasher has never been a problem because I obsessively rinse my dishes before I put them in - but you may want to consider one. If your dishwasher has a food trap, be sure to empty it.
If your sink is stained from things like pasta sauce, etc, fill the sink to almost the top with hot water, add 2 cups of bleach and let it sit. After about 5 minutes, let the water out and your sink should be sparkling again! (you can also use a bleach-based cleanser)
Rust stains (like from a can being left in the sink) will require a little more elbow work. This is where I break out the Barkeepers Friend again (or you can use any other powdered cleanser, but I really swear by the stuff!)
Don't forget to scrub any points of contact between your sink and countertop and your faucet. I save the toothbrush that the dentist gives me every 6 months for exactly this!
Step 7 : Pots, Pans and Tupperware
Go through your pots and pans and see if there are any that you no longer use (and are just taking up space) and can donate to Goodwill.
Pull ALL of your plasticware out and try to match it with a lid. If you can't match it, recycle it where possible and toss it when you can't!
Step 8: Lights, Windows and Blinds
Turn off any light fixtures and allow the bulbs to cool. Give everything a good wipe-down to remove dust, cobwebs, etc.
While you are looking up, take your broom or long-handled duster and clean where the walls meet the ceiling of any cobwebs!
Dust your blinds and spot clean where necessary (cleaning your blinds in the house can be a day-long task by itself, so we will cover that in a later post). If you have a valance on the window, pull it down and wash it according to the care instructions.
Use window cleaner (learn how to make your own window cleaner) to wash the windows inside and out.
And now - for the final tasks in spring cleaning your kitchen.....
Step 9: Countertop and Floors
There is a reason that we save the countertops and floors for the end of spring cleaning your kitchen. They have been collecting all of the dust and crumbs as you have been going through your kitchen spring cleaning checklist!
Unplug all of your small appliances and give them a thorough wipe-down with a damp cloth. Don't forget to pull the crumb tray from your toaster or toaster oven and empty and clean that as well.
Run 32 oz of apple cider vinegar through your coffee maker, followed by at least 96 oz of fresh water.
Give your countertops a good scrub. Make sure you get all the way in the corners as well as wiping down the backsplash and walls between the counter and cabinets. Run your hands along the countertops to make sure it is smooth and you haven't missed any dried on dirt/food that is "blending in" with the counters.
Finally - the floors. Give them a good sweep. Get down on your hands and knees and scrub your floor just like our grandmothers used to do, according to what kind of floor you have. Don't forget to get in the corners and where your cabinets meet the floor!
Step 10: Be Proud of Your Work
Congratulations! You did it! A thorough spring cleaning of your kitchen can be exhausting and you deserve a moment to revel in it. Pour yourself a beverage of your choice and relax.