The Only Kitchen Cleaning Checklist You’ll Ever Need
The ultimate guide to cleaning all the kitchen things, and then some.
The kitchen has a lot going on. There are your basic walls, floor and sink area—plus a million different appliances and multiple potentially stinky drains to combat. Ugh, and the entire stove region, including the burners and the backsplash. Plus the cabinets, oven, microwave and refrigerator, all of which have sticky, grimy residue and gunk lurking on both their interior and exterior. Where do you even begin? (Hint: not by procrastinating any longer!)
It’s super tempting to blow off cleaning the kitchen entirely. But you’ll regret it later, when you settle in to cook a nice meal and realize how unsavory your countertops are and how uninviting those leftover pots and pans from dinner three nights ago still soaking in the sink are. And when’s the last time you cleaned that cutting board? But, like, really cleaned it? And every time you turn the oven on, it omits that smell. Even the dishwasher seems to stink. You wish you could throw the entire kitchen down the garbage disposal.
We’ve got you covered. We compiled the ultimate, definitive kitchen cleaning checklist to help you slog through your chores. The checklist is divided up by daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal tasks to help you keep on top of your kitchen cleaning. Not to go full mom on you, but we do encourage you to try to stick to a regular cleaning routine. This will ensure that your kitchen doesn’t get too out of hand. No single task or chore will seem too monumental if you continue to gradually tidy up bit by bit as you go.
Kitchen cleaning tools
You’ll need fewer tools than you think.
- Dish soap (we prefer Dawn)
- Soft sponge or scrub brush
- Multipurpose cleaner
- Baking soda for tough stains, weird smells and burnt-on messes (and everything in between)
- White vinegar
- Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty Super Extender
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (for stubborn spots, scuffs, smudges and stains)
Daily kitchen cleaning checklist
- Wash the dishes (all of them!).
- Use the dishwasher for basic plates, bowls, cups and utensils.
- Hand wash large, fragile or sensitive items.
- Wipe out and clean the sink after each use.
- For a quick and easy sink clean with readily available tools, wipe down with dish soap and hot water.
- Empty dishwasher.
- Clean dishwasher, as necessary.
- Run the dishwasher on a hot cycle with a full cup or bowl of white vinegar in the top rack. The vinegar’s acidic properties will steam clean your dishwasher and neutralize any weird smells. Leave the dishwasher door open overnight to air dry and dissipate the vinegar’s smell.
- Wipe and sanitize countertops with multipurpose cleaner.
- Wipe down the stovetop and clean burners. Okay, at least wipe down the stovetop, though. But you’ll have to get to those burners eventually.
- Sweep floor.
- Use a Swiffer to trap and lock in dust, dirt and loose crumbs, and simply throw away the mop pad when you’re done.
- Tidy up stray items and countertop clutter. Sort and toss that pile of mail, put the chargers back where they belong and hang your keys somewhere you’ll actually be able to find them.
Weekly kitchen cleaning checklist
- Take inventory of leftovers. Conduct the faithful sniff test. Is it more than a week old? Trash it.
- Clean outside of appliances.
- A simple spritz and wipe with white vinegar cuts grease from stainless steel appliances. You can also wipe them with a very light coating of olive oil to retain their glossy sheen and prevent fingerprints.
- Clean the inside of the microwave.
- Microwave a cup of white vinegar on high until it boils, steam cleaning the interior of your microwave and loosening caked-on gunk and grime. Wipe clean with a soapy sponge, then wipe out soap residue with a clean rag. Leave the microwave door open to air dry.
- Disinfect sink and faucets.
- Sanitize sponges.
- Microwave your damp sponge on high for one minute to kill bacteria.
- Mop floors.
- We recommend skipping the mop bucket and using a flat mop like Swiffer with wet mopping pads. You can easily sweep with the dry pad and then swap it out for the wet one to clean up spills, stains and scuffs. Just trash the used pads once you’re done.
- Launder dish towels.
- Deep clean the sink.
- Sprinkle baking soda all over the sink basin, let it sit for a few minutes, scrub then rinse clean with warm water. If the sink is majorly gross, you can let the baking soda sit overnight, or even try a ready-made cleaning product to degrease the sink.
- Spot clean cabinets to remove smudges.
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works great for spot cleaning cabinet marks or scuffs.
- For a more thorough cleaning, spray on a multipurpose cleaner like Mr. Clean Clean Freak Mist, or your DIY 1:1 vinegar/water solution, and wipe clean.
- Empty trash, as needed.
- Take out recycling. It doesn’t hurt to rinse out your recycling bin occasionally with dish soap and warm water, leaving the lid off to allow it to air dry afterward. All of those soda and beer droplets can create a sticky, smelly situation at the bottom of the bin.
- Clean garbage disposal.
- Toss some ice cubes down the disposal, and run it to knock loose any built-up grime from the blades.
- Pour boiling water down the disposal to flush it out.
- Run the disposal with some fresh citrus peels in it to generate a fresh smell.
Monthly kitchen cleaning checklist
- Clean cabinet doors and drawers.
- Take inventory of the pantry. Check expiration dates. Canned goods generally have a very long life span, but stuff packaged in boxes or bags tends to go bad after about a year. Items that have been opened and sit unused for a while can attract tiny bugs or bacteria.
- Take inventory of the freezer. How much freezer burn is too much freezer burn? Check for discoloration of meats. If it looks weird, it probably is weird. Trust your gut.
- Dust the tops of the cabinets and refrigerator.
- Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty Super Extender is perfect for this task, saving you the trouble of having to climb on a stool or chair.
- Clean and sanitize trash and recycling bins.
- Bust out the bleach, dilute it a bit and give the inside of the cans a little rinse. Let them air dry completely before putting in a trash bag.
- Clean dishwasher.
- Make it easy on yourself by swapping your regular dishwasher detergent with Cascade Platinum ActionPacs + Dishwasher Cleaner Action, which cleans your machine while it washes the dishes.
- Clean dish drying rack.
- Run it through the dishwasher! Easy peasy.
- Clean tile grout.
- Baking soda paste is perfect for smearing onto stained grout. Mix a paste with baking soda and water in a 3:1 ratio, wipe on and let it set for about 30 minutes, then scrub it with a soft bristle brush. Wipe clean with a damp rag.
- A vinegar + water solution will also work well for cleaning grout. Spray on, let sit for a couple minutes then wipe clean with a damp rag.
- Clean and descale coffee maker.
- Run the coffee maker through with white vinegar, then run it again with warm water to clear out the vinegar. Leave the lid to the water chamber open to air dry.
- Wash kitchen rugs.
- Dust light fixtures.
- Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty Super Extender is great for this also, capturing dust particles and preventing them from raining down into your hair.
Seasonal kitchen cleaning checklist
- Rinse out any drawer dividers or organizers
- Vacuum crumbs out of drawers
- Deep clean refrigerator, wipe down shelves and drawers
- Clean under the refrigerator
- Clean the oven
- Organize cooking tools
- Organize pantry
- Take inventory of spices, toss expired everything
- Take stock of dishware and glassware, repair or replace as needed
Tips for sticking to a schedule
- Keep this checklist handy as an easy reference. Hey, you could even print it out and hang it on the fridge! Add that task to today’s checklist.
- Build good habits. We know, we sound like a kindergarten teacher. But seriously! If you stay on top of your daily and weekly tasks, your monthly and seasonal ones will suck way less.
- Divide weekly tasks by day of the week. For example, “We mop on Mondays.”
- Pick just a few monthly tasks to do each week to divide and conquer, like descaling the coffee maker every first week of the month. Make a little calendar. Give yourself gold stars, as if you were a child! Who doesn’t love stickers?
- Better yet, enlist your kids and roommates to help with the chores. Give them a calendar and gold stars! It’s not condescending; it’s fun!
- Align your seasonal tasks with the equinoxes for an easy way to remember when to do those bigger chores. Follow the stars and seasons to your big semiannual refrigerator deep clean.