February 26, 2010

Seasonal Cleaning: Kitchen

The kitchen is the only room that may take more than one day to deep clean. It really depends on how dirty your kitchen is and when you cleaned it last. At the same time, the kitchen is the worth the effort. We spend a lot of time there and keeping the kitchen clean will keep you and your family healthy.

1. Prep--remove any items that go elsewhere and trash.

2. Remove dirty dish towels, rugs, and window treatments. Wash them.

3. Dust and/or wash ceiling and walls.

4. Remove all decorative items from the walls/shelves/tables and clean each item. Wipe surface before returning items. If you have any decorative arrangements you want to keep exactly the same, here's a tip for you: grab your camera and take a quick picture. Then when you go to put things back you can look at the picture to jog your memory.

5. Remove parts of light fixture(s) and clean them. Replace any burned out light bulbs.

6. Wash any doors (front and back), frame, and door knob.

7. Wash window(s) inside and out.
Brush window screen with a dry, stiff brush. Wipe sill and frame.

8. Here it is the part you've been dreading. This is the hard part: Empty and wipe out each cupboard and drawer. Vacuum crumbs out of drawers before wiping them. Return only items you use frequently that are in good condition. Toss expired food.
If you buy food in bulk be sure
to store smaller amounts in handy containers.

Don't keep four cheese graters, if you want to keep a "backup" just in case then pack those items in a box and put the box in storage. Line the shelves if they are in bad shape or you want to protect them. Organize as you put things back. Use baskets or boxes to help keep like things together. It is also recommended that you store items that you use together with each other. (Baking supplies for example.)
If you have a "pantry" in your kitchen, consider it a big cupboard. :) Which means you need to take everything out, wipe the shelves, and organize as you put things back. If you happen to store extra appliances in your pantry, and could use the space for something else, reconsider before you just automatically put them back where they were. If you only use an appliance once a year store it in the basement, if you use an appliance more often but not daily store it somewhere handy (linen closet?) but not in the prime real estate of your kitchen.
I have a fairly small "pantry" in the kitchen so I keep my overflow food and appliances in the basement. I'm not sure I'll ever do a post on organizing your basement... that seems even more daunting than the kitchen!9. Wipe outside and handles of all cupboards and drawers. Take extra care of cupboards above the cooktop. They get greasy and grimy. Don't forget to wipe cupboard sides, fronts, and along the floor.Here's another helpful hint for you: Post a list of substitutions and a few favorite recipes you make frequently on the inside of your cupboard door for handy reference. (I also have an OTC children medication chart there as well.)

10. Clean oven/stovetop. Use the self-clean if you have it. Soak/wash the stove drip pans or replace them, if needed (tip: the black ones are easier to keep looking clean). Remove all knobs and soak them, while you wipe behind them. Don't forget the drawer if you have one. If you are really motivated, pull out the stove and wipe the sides and clean the floor underneath. Clean exhaust fan. Remove and soak the mesh filter, or replace if it is really bad. Wipe down front, door, and handle.11. Clean sink and faucet. Don't forget to clean any sink accessories (sprayer, filter, etc). If your sink is stained use a magic eraser to wipe it down. A paste of baking soda and water will usually remove spots from the faucet. If needed, use an old toothbrush to clean around the fixture base. If you have a dish rack, clean it really well (soak in a bleach solution) before returning it to the sink. Clean the garbage disposal/drain area really well. Run some ice and a few slices of lemon in your disposal if you don't want to reach in there and scrub.

12. Wipe outside of dishwasher and around the door. If necessary, run your dishwasher with a cup of vinegar or bleach to clean the inside.

13. Clean refrigerator/freezer. Wipe all sides and top. A magic eraser or Soft Scrub will get off scuff marks. Pull fridge out and clean wall/floor under and behind the fridge. Vacuum fridge coils.
Clean the inside of the fridge. Empty the whole thing and remove all the shelves, don't forget the shelves in the door. Wipe down inside walls/floor/ceiling. Wipe all shelves and drawers. Return food, tossing anything that is past it's date or gross. Wipe jars for drips, if necessary.Now I know a lot of you won't listen to me on this one but if you keep stuff off your fridge your kitchen will look a lot less cluttered. I know it is full of kids drawings and photos of loved ones, but those things can be displayed elsewhere. If you have to leave an occasional note to a family member on there that is one thing... an added bonus is if there is not a bunch of stuff on there already they might actually get the message! At the very least limit what you put on there to one piece of artwork per kid and a few special pictures.

14. Clean microwave, inside and out. Put a mug of water with a slice of lemon in microwave and heat for 1-2 minutes. Let it sit before wiping down the inside. This will loosen any stuck on food.

15. Clean or wipe any other small appliances that you keep on the counter top (toaster, mixer, coffee maker, etc.)

16. Remove everything from counters and wipe. Don't forget the wall/backsplash. If you feel it is needed wipe with a disinfectant of some kind. Be sure the counter is dry before you replace items. Wipe each item as you put it back. Make sure you only put back things you need or love. A cluttered counter is hard to keep clean!

17. If
you don't have a separate dining room then clean your dining area with your kitchen. Wipe down all chairs and the table, including legs and decorative trim. Magic Erasers get scuff marks off of furniture.18. Wash trash can inside and out.

19. Return all clean wall decorations, light fixture, rugs, window treatments.

20. Sweep and scrub floor, wipe baseboards.

Stand back and admire your clean kitchen! Good job!!

Want to keep it looking great?
  • Deal with dishes daily
  • Wipe counters daily
  • Keep your sink empty and clean
  • Wipe up spills as they happen
  • Sweep as needed and mop weekly
The printable kitchen cleaning checklist can be found here.

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