YOUR KITCHEN’S A PRETTY BUSY PLACE, AND EVEN THOUGH YOU KEEP IT FAIRLY CLEAN, IT NEEDS A REALLY GOOD DEEP CLEANING EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE. HERE’S A KITCHEN DEEP CLEAN CHECKLIST TO HELP YOU GET THROUGH IT ALL.
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Unless you’re pulling your entire kitchen apart during your weekly cleaning routine, there’s bound to be a bit of dust and grime build-up lurking around. It’s hiding in the corners of your drawers and cabinets and underneath all of those large appliances.
No judgments, that’s life. I don’t know a single person that wipes out their cabinets or pulls out their refrigerators on a weekly basis. If you do, tell them I’m impressed because I just don’t have that kind of time and I’ll bet you don’t either.
Instead, I keep my kitchen surfaces tidy and clean on a weekly basis, then I deep clean the entire kitchen once or twice a year.
My deep cleaning routine ensures that I clean every surface in my kitchen at least once a year. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it makes it manageable, and my home isn’t dirty by any stretch of the imagination.
Regardless of how often you deep clean your kitchen, this checklist will help you get through it all.
The checklist is broken down into specific tasks so it’s easy for you to tackle in smaller chunks when you have time, or knock it all out in one longer cleaning session. Just start at the top and work your way down the list.
Start with a Tidy Kitchen – 10 minutes
Deep cleaning the kitchen is a little more involved than your normal cleaning routine, so you don’t want to add to it by starting with a cluttered space.
Take a few minutes to clear any normal daily messes and remove any general surface clutter before trying to tackle deep cleaning your kitchen. Try to get your countertops as clear as possible so you have somewhere to set stuff you’re removing from the cabinets.
Want to make your deep cleaning even easier, do a thorough kitchen declutter before you start deep cleaning. Your cleaning will go much quicker if there are fewer things to actually clean.
Gather Your Supplies – 5 minutes
Before you start any deep-cleaning project, its’ a good idea to gather your supplies so you don’t get distracted looking for stuff after you begin.
Here’s a list of what I use for deep cleaning my kitchen
- Rubber Cleaning Gloves – I usually just use basic disposable gloves from the hardware store for my general cleaning, then I’ll switch to the heavier rubber cleaning gloves for any tough messes or harsh chemicals.
- Microfiber Cloths – You’ll need several microfiber cloths. Here are the ones I use, and they come in a handy 24 pack.
- Dusting Wand – Your favorite dusting wand or Swiffer. Some times I just use my microfiber cloths.
- Stiff Bristle Detail Brush – Try a paintbrush or grout brush.
- Scrubber Sponge – You’re going to want to have a good scrubber sponge for cleaning the stovetop, oven, and other tough spots.
- Vacuum with Upholstery Attachment (optional) – A smaller portable one works best.
- Glass or multi-surface cleaner – Your favorite cleaning spray. I really like this multi-surface cleaner.
- Canned Air – If you have a window in your kitchen, this window cleaning hack will make it super easy.
- Drain Cleaner – I use vinegar, salt, and baking soda.
Ceiling and Light Fixtures – 15 minutes
I always start with the ceiling so I’m not knocking dust and dirt down on surfaces that I’ve already cleaned. As a general rule when cleaning, always work top to bottom and left to right to prevent this.
Next, remove all of your lighting fixture covers and soak them in a sink of soapy water while you do some more dusting.
Dust off your ceiling and lighting fixtures paying close attention to any hanging cords, chains, or intricate fixtures. Wipe off the light bulbs with a damp microfiber cloth.
Scrub, rinse, dry and replace the light fixture covers you’ve been soaking in the sink.
Walls, Doors, and Moldings – 20 minutes
Working top to bottom to prevent water streaks, wash your kitchen walls, moldings, and doors with a damp microfiber cloth. Don’t forget the door handles and hinges’
I like to use a microfiber mop on larger wall areas and just a hand cloth on the smaller areas. The microfiber mop makes the wall washing go a lot quicker if your wall space is big enough.
Don’t worry about the wall behind the refrigerator and stove, you’ll do these when you deep clean each appliance.
Upper Cabinets – varies depending on the number of cabinets
I broke this into 2 different sections in case you can only work in small sections of time.
Clean the Top – 10 minutes
Dust or vacuum the tops of all of your upper kitchen cabinets, then wipe them down with a cleaning cloth to remove any built on gunk.
Don’t worry about the cabinet boxes themselves, you’ll clean those after you clean out the interiors
Clean the Interior – 10 minutes per cabinet
Now working one cabinet at a time, remove the contents and wipe out the interior with a damp microfiber cloth and your cleaner of choice. Remember to work top to bottom.
Make sure you wipe all interior walls and don’t forget the underside and front faces of the shelves. Also, pay special attention to any buildup in the corners.
Put your stuff back in the cabinet, making sure to wipe off any dusty items before putting them back.
Cabinet Exterior – 10 minutes
When you’re done with the interior of all of your cabinets and have put everything back in, wipe down the doors, side panels, and knobs/handles.
If you have intricate handles, you might need to grab the grout brush to get into the crevices.
Windows – 10 minutes per window
Depending on the type of window coverings you have, you’ll want to clean them first. If you have blinds or a roller shade, you can clean them while they’re still hanging.
If you have fabric window coverings, remove them and toss them in the wash or set aside for the cleaners.
Next, wipe down the window frame, then use the canned air and brush to clean the window tracks. When you finish the window tracks, spray and buff the glass, then move on to the next task.
Microwave or Vent Hood – 15 minutes
Depending on how you use your microwave if it’s a vent hood also, and how dirty you let it get, this task could take closer to 30 minutes. I rarely use mine, but it is the vent hood for my stove, so mine actually takes about 10 minutes.
Remove the exhaust screens and/or turntable and soak them in soapy water. Wash the underside of the microwave/vent hood with a soapy cloth, and don’t forget the little channel the screens sit in.
If this area has a lot of greasy build-up, you might need to get a good degreaser spray or bust out the big bottle of Dawn dish soap. Make sure you remove all of the greasy mess from this area.
Caked on greasy build-up is one of the biggest culprits of unpleasant smells in a kitchen along with nasty drains and food crumbs under kitchen appliances.
Once you’re done with the greasy build-up, wash down the interior of the microwave and don’t forget the channels around the door.
If your microwave has a lot of food and gunk on the interior walls, run a bowl of water on high for 3 minutes. Be careful when removing the bowl because it will be very hot.
Wash, dry, and replace the turntable and exhaust screens, then clean and buff the front of the microwave, the control panel, and the door handle.
Refrigerator – 45 minutes
The refrigerator is going to be one of your most time-consuming tasks, but I do recommend doing it all at once.
If you try cleaning the inside separately from the exterior, underneath, and behind, you’ll end up moving your refrigerator while it’s full of food. This is likely to create an even bigger mess and be rough on your back.
Remove the front grate and drip pan at the bottom of the refrigerator, then soak them in soapy water. Note that some drip pans can only be removed from the back of the refrigerator, so you may have to wait until you pull your refrigerator away from the wall to do this.
Remove the contents of the refrigerator and freezer and put them all on the counter or in a box or laundry basket. Vacuum out any loose debris to make your cleaning quicker and easier.
** Time Saver Tip: Have somebody else in the household wipe down all of the jars, bottles, and containers while you’re cleaning the refrigerator.
Wipe down the inside of both areas with cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Make sure to wipe the tops and undersides of the shelves, pull out any drawers, and clean up any spills behind them.
Pay special attention to the crevices around the drawer slides and the channels the shelves sit in. If you find gunky build up in those spots, a toothpick or the very tip of a paring knife make cleaning a little easier.
Wipe down the sealing gaskets on the refrigerator and freezer. Make sure to clean up any dried food spills that have gotten in between the accordion folds.
Pull the refrigerator away from the wall but leave yourself enough space to reach all sides. Dust and wipe down the top of the refrigerator and make sure to clean the top of the door and seal as well.
If you have an icemaker, unplug your refrigerator before cleaning the ice maker, you don’t want that thing engaging while you’re in there cleaning the ice hopper!
Remove and soak any washable pieces in soap and water. Clean out the inside of the icemaker and the dispenser channel the ice travels through.
Vacuum the coils (if they’re accessible) on the back of the refrigerator, then wipe down the back and both sides of the unit.
Dust and wash the wall and the floor behind and underneath the refrigerator.
Plug the refrigerator back in and push it back into place.
Wash, rinse, dry, and replace the drip pan and grate, then clean and shine the front of the refrigerator, including the ice maker/water dispenser drip tray.
Check all contents for expirations dates. Throw away any expired items, then wipe down all bottles and containers before putting them back in your refrigerator. Pay special attention to condiment jars that can get very messy.
**Pro Tip: To prevent leaky condiment messes in your refrigerator, rinse the lid as needed and wipe off the outer threads before sealing the container and putting it away.
Once everything is back in the refrigerator and freezer, apply a little bit of petroleum jelly to the face of the door gaskets to help them seal better and keep them from becoming brittle and cracking. This is one of the biggest reasons refrigerators start to fail.
Range – 30 minutes
Remove and soak the temperature knobs, then wipe down the control panel.
Clean the stovetop, by removing any crusty bits, then cover any cooked on messes with a mixture of Dawn dish soap, baking soda, and a little water. Let it sit for a bit before scrubbing.
Remove your oven racks, scrape off any crusty bits, and soak the racks in soapy water. Try doing this in the bathtub or a container on the porch for less mess.
Scrape the crusty bits out of the oven, then cover the interior with the same paste you made above. You’ll want to let that sit for a bit, so go ahead and clean off the paste you painted on the stovetop.
Once the stovetop is done, scrub and wipe out the oven, and don’t forget the glass on the oven door. If your oven is really dirty, you can follow these instructions for deep cleaning your oven.
If you have an oven drawer, remove the contents and set them on the counter. Vacuum the drawer out, then wipe down the interior.
**Fun Fact: Did you know that you shouldn’t store things in an oven drawer? These drawers were actually designed as warming drawers and heat up with the heat from the oven. My range doesn’t have a bottom drawer, it has a second smaller oven that works really well for Pizza!!
Once the interior is clean, pull the range out and wipe down the sides and back. Wash the walls and cabinets that surround the range, then scrub the floor.
Push the range back, then scrub, rinse, dry, and replace the knobs and oven racks. Clean and buff the front of the oven, the glass door, and the oven handle.
Kitchen Drawers – 5 minutes per drawer
Start with your upper drawers and work your way down and around the kitchen one at a time.
Empty the contents on to the countertop, then vacuum and wash out the interior. Pay special attention to the top sides of the drawer and the upper area around the front of the drawer. These places tend to collect crumbs and messes from dirty hands.
Replace the contents of the drawer, then wipe down the front and handle of the drawer.
Kitchen Sink and Faucet – 10 minutes
Use some disposal cleaner or toss a few ice cubes and some lemon wedges in the garbage disposal and turn it on to clean it.
Once you turn the disposal off, wipe the underside of your garbage disposal flange. Food splatter builds up on the underside of the seal and can really stink up your kitchen.
You can use an old toothbrush to get into the crevices of the flange if needed.
Pour some drain cleaner down your kitchen drains and let it soak. If you prefer to use the baking soda trick, slowly pour 1 cup of baking soda down the sink drain, followed by 1 cup of iodized salt, then 2 cups of vinegar.
The salt helps move the baking soda further down the drain, and the vinegar causes the fizzy reaction that cleans the drains.
Let that sit for 5 minutes or so. While that’s sitting, scrub around your sink faucet and drains.
If you have a sprayer head, pay special attention to any build-up on the sprayer. If it’s tough to get off, wrap with a vinegar-soaked cloth and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Remove the cloth and clean with a scrub brush to remove the build-up.
Wipe down the faucet and around the base, scrub the sink, then rinse everything with hot water. Let the hot water for a few minutes to flush everything through the drain.
Scrub the Sink basin.
Backsplash, Countertops, and Light Switches – 10 minutes
Spray the backsplash and countertops with cleaner and let sit for a couple of minutes.
While that’s sitting, take your grout brush and clean the crevices on your switchplates. Wipe clean with damp microfiber cloth, then use the cloth to wipe the counters and backsplash.
Make sure you select the correct cleaner and cleaning method depending on the type of countertops and backsplash you have.
I have granite countertops in my kitchen and I normally just use soap and water on mine. Never clean granite with vinegar, bleach, or any other acidic cleaners.
Once you’re done with the cleaning, you may need to seal the surfaces. I save all of my sealing until after the entire kitchen is clean.
Dishwasher – 10 minutes
Remove the lower rack and sprinkle baking soda on the sprayer arms. Spritz the baking soda with a little vinegar, let it stop foaming, then gently scrub with a scrub brush.
Rinse the sprayer arms with a glass of water, then inspect the little sprayer holes and remove any remaining buildup with a toothpick.
Wipe down the top and all sides of the dishwasher.
Pull out the filter and rinse all the gunk out. Don’t know where your filter is, check your owners manual or look online.
If your filter is really dirty, you may need to do some mild scrubbing to remove all of the mess. Clean out the area where the filter sits, then put the filter back in place.
Scrub the interior of the dishwasher door. Pay special attention to crevices where food particles can get trapped. Don’t forget to clean out the area where the hinges retract.
Wipe down the exterior of the dishwasher door including the handle and control panel. Pay special attention to the side of the door opposite from where you stand while unloading the dishwasher, this side gets missed all the time.
Lower Kitchen Cabinets – 10 minutes per cabinet
Remove the contents from each cabinet one at a time. Vacuum and wipe out the entire interior and don’t forget the underside of the shelves and back of the door.
Put the contents back in the cabinet and wipe down the door front, any side panels, and the knobs.
Baseboards and Floor – 20 minutes
I cheat when I do my baseboards. I clean mine by wrapping a microfiber cloth around my broom and dusting them off, then I wrap a clean wet cloth around the broom and wipe the baseboards again.
If I notice any dirty areas, I’ll hand clean them. Once you’re finished with the baseboards, sweep, vacuum, mop or scrub your floors accordingly.
Apply Conditioners and Sealers as Needed – 15-30 minutes
Now that your kitchen is sparkling clean, apply any wood conditioners, granite, tile, and grout sealers, floor polishes, etc.
Enjoy Your Freshly Deep Cleaned Kitchen
You’re Done! Whether you did it all in one day, or in small sections, you finished it all. Now that your entire kitchen has been deep cleaned, grab a glass of wine and relax.
While you’re drinking that wine, head over to see how I deep clean my bathrooms.