Full disclosure…I hate cleaning.
I’ve always wanted a team of cleaning gnomes to follow me around the kitchen while I cook and clean up after my mess (the same gnomes that my husband insists we have because so many things get magically finished around the house with nobody knowing!).
But, until I win the gnome lottery, I guess the cleaning is left up to me. I find that, as long as I clean as I go, it usually doesn’t get that crazy-out-of-hand. But once a year, we all need to do a semi-deep clean.
And in case your mama never taught you, here are some tips:
- Break your kitchen up into zones and tackle as many as you can. The best way to spring clean anything is to divide it into manageable chunks (we already done that by just tackling the kitchen – you can do the rest of the house, room by room, in the same way). Make each chunk it’s own “project” and plan to complete these projects by putting them in your calendar. You can either devote an entire weekend or you can break it down further like this:
Saturday: 2 hours
Sunday: 2 hours
Monday: 20 minute project
Wednesday: 20 minute project
Friday: 20 minute project
Regardless of how you do it, let’s let’s get the kitchen ready to clean:
- Clean cobwebs from ceilings and corners (remember, dirt fall from top to bottom, so starting with the ceiling makes sense.
- Wipe down counter tops (but we’l have to do this again once we’re done cleaning out all of the cupboards).
- Do a “walk around” and remove anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen
- Wash (and dry) any dishes you have and then empty your dishwasher
- Take out the trash, recycling and compost
- Put all linens (area rugs, tea towels, dish cloths, aprons) in the laundry
- Set up a large bag for trash and another bag (or box) for donations
- have a list ready for all of the things you’ve run out of
- Gather all of your cleaning supplies
- Put on some good music
Let’s get started!!!!!!!!
- Take all the food out of your fridge and put it on your countertop.
- Go through all items and throw away any expired items or anything you won’t use before it expires.
- Wipe down shelves and drawers with a disinfectant or good ol’ warm water and vinegar (if you have more time, remove the drawers and wash them in warm soapy water).
- With a warm cloth, wipe down all the rubber gaskets that seal the fridge (dirt collects in there easily).
- Vacuum fridge coils and, if you can, pull the fridge out and vacuum behind it.
- If you find there are food items you aren’t using because they aren’t accessible (i.e. baby carrots) think about putting them in glass containers where they are more visible.
- Put all the food back, making sure to arrange them in a way that will make you use your ingredients more efficiently.
- If you have magnets and papers on the front of your fridge, remove them, sort through and toss any old/unwanted items, wipe down the face of the fridge (taking care to really get into the handle area where grubby hands go) then return any magnets/paper that are relevant.
- Remove items from your freezer (if it’s still cool where you are, put them in a box and place them outside).
- Clean up any residue that may have fallen to the bottom (crumbs, drips, etc).
- Clean the rubber gaskets here too!
- Put all the food back, tossing anything that has been in there too long and organize the rest.
- Sprinkle some baking soda down the drain and pour in a bit of white vinegar (just to loosen any grease that might be sitting there).
- Give your sink a good scrub with a cleaner that is good for your sink (stainless steel is good with an semi-abrasive cleaner but a porcelain sink needs special care)…make sure you get in the corners with a toothbrush…not the toothbrush you use in the morning 😉
- If you find your sink clogging, buy a strainer that sits in your drain (you can get them at the dollar store). It catches things like rice and chia seeds that expand when they travel down the pipes and can cause a blockage.
- Sort through any dish cloths, brushes and sponges that need to be replaced and replace them.
- Clean garbage disposal if you have one (throw half a lemon down the disposal – see this post for a hack on that!!)
- Empty the food trap of the dishwasher
- Put a measuring cup full of white vinegar in the top shelf and run the dishwasher on extra-hot…that should disinfect it!!
- Wipe down the outside and stock up on dishwasher tabs if you need them.
Stove and cooktop:
- Wipe down inside and outside of stove, making sure you get to the oven door (this doesn’t usually clean during the self-clean cycle).
- Run the self-clean cycle of the oven (check manufacturers instructions to see if you can put your cast iron grates in there while it cleans…it’s the only way I can get my grates oil-free!!).
- Remove all the knobs and put them to soak in warm soapy water.
- Clean your range hood and, if you have filters, soak those too (I put mine in the dishwasher once a week).
- Clean the stove top, removing all grates if you have them; remember to use that toothbrush to get into the crevices!
- If you can, pull the stove out and vacuum behind it.
- If you have time, remove all plates and wipe down surfaces (otherwise, do your best to wipe around them).
- Replace shelf liners that are old (if you have them).
- Replace plates/glasses/etc if you’ve taken them out.
- Wipe down cabinet faces using water and vinegar solution (you can use a mild paste of baking soda and water to clean the oily spots about the handles).
- If you have time, go drawer by drawer and remove items, wipe down drawers and replace items.
- If you don’t have time, clean the biggest culprits that catch crumbs – your utensil drawers (remove utensils, wipe down and replace).
- This is a good time to sharpen your knives (if you don’t do it yourself, you can send them out to get sharpened).
- Remember to throw away or donate any items you don’t see yourself using.
- Make sure you tackle your junk drawer!!
- Remove everything from your counter top and wipe down the counters well (make sure you get into all the crevices).
- Re-assess all of your small appliances and make sure you use the ones you will put back (if you don’t use them on a regular basis, you can store them in the basement).
- If you have a utensil jar, sort out everything in there and clean it out (and if you don’t have a utensil jar, you need to have one – I have one for just wooden spoons and one for all of my other utensils).
- Clean your microwave by putting a glass of vinegar in there and heat it on high for 1-2 minutes; leave it in there for 5 minutes and then wipe down all the dirt.
- Check you coffee makers and see if the cartridges need to be replaced or that the coffee makers don’t need to be descaled.
- Clean out the crumb tray of your toaster.
- Pull out all items and clean the shelves with some warm soapy water (if your pantry is huge, and you don’t have time, you can spot clean now and tackle a shelf at a time later).
- Go through all of your spices and throw away any that are old (remember, some spices that have lost their pungency can be “restored” with a quick flash in a dry pan.
- Throw away any items that have expired.
- Donate any items that have not been opened or that you won’t use.
- Combine any ingredients that are similar and put them in sealed containers.
- Go through your cereal boxes and make sure the inner bags are sealed well (I like to use paper clips).
- If you use them, replace any shelf liners that are old.
- Consider moving bulk items into mason jars…I love how they look!
- Clean any boxes/organizers/baskets that you might use to keep things together.
- Place all items back in an organized fashion and remember to clean the door/handle too!
- Wipe down tables, chairs and stools (sometimes these get “greasy”, so use the right cleaner to get rid of those spots!).
- Clean your light fixtures and replace any burnt out light bulbs.
- Now that you’ve cleaned everything, vacuum floors and then mop them.
- Make a note of your grout. If it’s getting dark in spots, use a toothbrush and a bleach cleaner to spot clean over the next few weeks (I do a square a day while I make dinner).
- Now mop your floor and take away any garbage that you’ve accumulated.
- Put the box/bag with donated items right in your car so you don’t change your mind!
I hear it’s going to be a dreary weekend…the perfect time to do a good clean!!