As the heart of the home, our kitchens tend to get the brunt of household chaos; from food prep and family meals to seasonal soirees, weekend craft sessions, and perhaps even a few dog dinners, too, there’s a lot going on, meaning things can get pretty dirty, pretty quickly.
While a quick wipe-down might suffice on a day-to-day basis, there will undoubtedly be areas overlooked, so familiarising yourself with an ultimate spring cleaning checklist – and actually sticking to it – is well worth the effort. After all, kitchen ideas are never as stylish as when they’re fresh and sparkling, and maintaining good hygiene is a must, too.
‘Kitchens can harbour a range of bacteria, dirt and out-of-date food, so it’s important to designate time to thoroughly clean and disinfect every once in a while to ensure it remains a hygienic space for prepping and eating meals,' says Anna Elkington, founder of Melody Maison (opens in new tab).
Let’s face it, carrying out an ultimate kitchen spring clean is probably not high on your list of favourite things to do, and we’re not here to convince you that it should be. However, we are here to tell you not to put it off – it needs to be done. To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive checklist, including handy tips and tricks from those in the know. Tick them off one by one to guarantee gleaming results.
Kitchen spring cleaning checklist
‘Before you get going with your deep clean, make a to-do list. You’re more likely to avoid feelings of overwhelm if you’ve written down your jobs in order of priority. Ensure your cleaning caddy is well-stocked too – there’s nothing worse than having to run out to the shops mid-clean!’ advise the experts at Zoflora (opens in new tab).
Now you’re in a position to tackle the tough spots. Spritz down any dirt-laden areas – think mouldy grouting and greasy cabinet fronts as well as the sink, oven and fridge shelves – with the appropriate cleaner. Whether you’re using all-natural solutions or the best store-bought cleaning products, you’re guaranteed better results if you allow them time to work. Get on with other cleaning chores, then come back to them a bit later.
When it comes to dusting and wiping down surfaces, work from the top down so that dirt and dust doesn’t resettle on surfaces you’ve already cleaned. Mopping and vacuuming floors should be the very last thing on your list.
1. Start with a good declutter
Making time for a thorough declutter should be part of any spring cleaning routine, but particularly so in a kitchen – you don’t really want out-of-date food hanging about, and the more ‘stuff’ you’ve got, the more opportunities there are for bacteria to build.
Over time, the contents of your kitchen cupboards, drawers and fridge can become cluttered, and a spring clean is the perfect opportunity to clear out items you no longer need. Assign into the following categories; most used, sometimes used and rarely used.
Be harsh – if you rarely reach for an item, or if it’s gone past its sell-by, throw it away, or give it to someone who will make use of it,' says Anna Elkington.
2. Spruce up the sink
Cleaning a sink is likely part of your daily routine, but you’ll need to go a little deeper on occasion if you want to keep stains and grime from building up. How you go about this will depend on what material your sink is made from, so do a bit of research first, but a mixture of mild washing-up liquid and warm water is generally safe to use.
Plugs, taps and other fixtures benefit from a similar treatment – anything more abrasive could cause damage to the finish. ‘If you have an instant hot tap, be sure to include filter maintenance on your to-do-list as well,' recommends Michael Sammon, Managing Director at Wodar (opens in new tab).
One of the most commonly missed areas of your kitchen that you’re forgetting to clean is actually down the plughole. Unscrew and give it a good scrub with washing-up liquid, then chuck some bicarb of soda and vinegar down there to help with the smells.
3. Deal with the dishwasher
While they do a great job of cleaning your dishes, dishwashers are not so great at cleaning themselves, unfortunately. If left too long, old food, limescale and undissolved detergent can build up, which results in those dishes not coming out quite so clean anymore. The good news is, once you know how to clean a dishwasher, it’s actually pretty painless.
‘Even dishwashers need a spa day, so remove the trays and baskets and get to work with a sponge or toothbrush. A toothpick is useful for removing food from the spray arm, too. You can use detergent or vinegar, but the important thing is to sponge everything thoroughly, including the door seals. Don’t forget to rinse the filter, too. A clever little hack is to finish off by adding a glass of white vinegar and running a hot cycle – that should break down any remaining grime,' say the experts at Currys (opens in new tab).
Doing this every few months or so, along with rinsing plates before you put them in, should keep things in good working order.
4. Disinfect bins
You may well be taking the bags out, but we bet you’re not cleaning your kitchen bin as often as experts say you should be. For ultimate hygiene, the experts recommend a rinse down twice a week, but we appreciate that’s not always feasible. It’s fine to tackle odours and stains as and when, as long as you’re disinfecting them thoroughly during your kitchen spring clean. Don’t forget your food caddie and recycling bins, too.
I’d recommend popping on a pair of Marigold Longer Bathroom Gloves ( (opens in new tab)available at Amazon) (opens in new tab)’, says cleaning expert Lindsay Turford @dazlincleaning (opens in new tab). ‘Even though these gloves are designed for bathroom cleaning, the extra-long cuffs are perfect for protecting your arms from yucky stuff as you reach into the bin’.
A final tip from the UK’s Queen of Clean, Mrs Hinch @mrshinchhome (opens in new tab), is to line the bottom of your bin bag with a piece of kitchen roll doused in scented disinfectant, to help keep odors at bay.
5. Give grout a going over
Spritzing down kitchen tiles is one thing, but when undertaking a deep clean, you’ll need to understand how to clean grout properly if you want them looking as good as new. The humble toothbrush is your best friend here; use it to remove that top layer of mould and mildew.
A whitening toothpaste can sometimes be enough, but if you’re struggling to uncover your grout’s original sheen, chemical-based cleaners may be required.
6. Wipe down cabinets – inside and out
Grubby cabinets can really bring a sleek-looking kitchen down, particularly on sunny days; there’s no hiding those greasy fingerprint marks! Wiping down the fronts every couple of weeks should help with build-up, but you’ll want to factor in a deeper clean every other month to tackle thicker layers of dirt and grime – both inside and out.
To clean kitchen cabinets thoroughly, Remove everything from inside first, including any organisers you’re using, and give everything a good once over with a handheld vac to clear crumbs and other debris. Wipe down the shelves and sides with a microfibre cloth dipped in warm, soapy water and allow to dry before you start putting things back.
If you’re housing ingredients, take the opportunity to remove any items past their sell-by. The same process can be used for cleaning kitchen drawers, too.
6. Descale the coffee machine
Even the best coffee machine will fail to deliver if you don’t keep on top of cleaning it properly. A quick wipe down isn’t enough, you’ll need to look after the parts you can’t see, too, if you want to ensure a great-tasting brew.
While there’s specific descaling cleaners available, you can achieve just as great a result cleaning with denture tablets – yes really. Simply fill the reservoir with water, drop in a tab or two and run a cycle. Discard the water and run through again to rinse away any loose limescale.
When cleaning a coffee machine – or any small appliance for that matter – always check the care manual thoroughly beforehand. Some manufacturers warn against using certain cleaning products and you don’t want to do anything that might invalidate your warranty.
7. Clean the oven
Arguably the most-used appliance in your kitchen, knowing how to clean an oven and hob properly is a priority. It may be gross, but putting it off will only make things harder in the long run, and if you try our handy hack, it’s actually easier than you might think – no scrubbing required.
‘Place a slice of fresh lemon into one and a half cups of water in an oven-proof bowl, then place into a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the water cool slightly before wiping the floor, walls and racks with a cloth or sponge dipped in the hot lemon water until they shine,' says Rebecca Knight, Digital Deputy Editor of Ideal Home.
A deep clean means tackling the extractor fan, too; wash all the removable parts in water and fairy liquid solution (avoid getting too much water into the mechanisms) then wipe down the outside and dry. If your oven isn’t built in, be sure to clean underneath it – the same goes for your fridge, dishwasher and washing machine if it’s located in the kitchen.
8. Steam clean the microwave
When was the last time you cleaned your microwave? Probably longer ago than you’d like to admit. Often overlooked, the microwave needs a fairly regular refresh to keep it in tip-top condition, so introduce it into your spring clean routine – it’s quick and easy to do.
‘Pour a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water into a bowl and cover with cling film. Stab a few holes in the top and turn the microwave on for five minutes. Grab a microfibre cloth and wipe down – the dirt should come away easily now,' advises Lindsay.
9. Freshen up the fridge
If your fridge is starting to smell a little ‘off’, it’s probably time to familiarise yourself with how to clean a fridge freezer. Start by taking everything out and checking the sell-by; only keep items that are within date and you know you’re going to eat, anything else can be discarded or passed on to somebody else.
If you're winding up with a lot of waste, now might be a good opportunity to establish a better organisation system going forwards – positioning items with closer expiry dates towards the front of the shelf so they get eaten first is easy, and really works, too.
Before putting items back, give the shelves and interior walls a good wipe down to ensure there’s no bacteria lurking. It’s a good idea to use natural cleaners (such as this one, available at Lakeland (opens in new tab)) (opens in new tab) in the kitchen in general, but particularly in the fridge, to avoid anything nasty coming into contact with things you’re going to eat. Bicarb soda is great for removing stubborn spillages, while a 50:50 solution of vinegar and water should get shot of lingering smells.
10. Steam-clean the floors
Mopping tiled floors is a fairly standard kitchen cleaning task, but a good steam clean every now and then will ensure you get rid of dirt and bacteria. As well as disinfecting thoroughly, the heat from the steam means you’ll find your floors shining and drying quickly, without the need of harmful chemicals – handy if you have pets or little ones.
Before you waste time researching the best steam cleaners, it’s important to consider what type of floor you have; they aren’t recommended for all.
‘If you’re dealing with wood or wood-effect flooring, you’ll want to avoid steam cleaners really, as they can cause warping. A microfibre dust mop is a great alternative – use it dry alongside a concentrated cleaning solution to avoid soaking the floors,' says Johanna Constantinou, brand director at Tapi (opens in new tab).
Regardless of the type of kitchen floor you’re dealing with, the most worthy investment in our opinion is one of the best cordless vacuum cleaners. While they may not be as powerful as plug-in versions, their convenient and lightweight design makes it easy to get into those harder-to-reach areas where crumbs and debris like to congregate.
What do you clean first when spring cleaning?
Ironically, the first thing to do when spring cleaning is not to clean anything.
‘Start by tidying and decluttering before getting stuck into the actual cleaning – it’s impossible to deep clean around mess,' advises cleaning expert Sue Caldwell of Clean Living International (opens in new tab). Clearing countertops and surfaces will give you a good view of what needs doing, and you’ll be able to get into dirty corners and crevices that otherwise stay hidden’.
When spring cleaning, experts advise starting at the top and working down
- ceiling fans, the tops of cabinets, sinks and surfaces, and so on. Whilst this rule still applies when cleaning a kitchen, the very first thing you should do is spray down your oven, sink, microwave and any other appliances with your cleaner of choice, so you can leave them to sit. ‘This provides time for the grime and dirt to break down, meaning a quicker clean and less elbow grease required’, says Anna.
What is the difference between spring cleaning and general cleaning?
The key difference between a general clean and a spring clean is that, with the latter, you can focus on areas that you don’t usually get around to doing – the tops of cabinets, or inside appliances, for example’, says Ryan Calvert, product expert at Hiatt Hardware (opens in new tab).
It may be called ‘spring’ cleaning, but don’t take it literally – a deeper clean should be carried out at least once every couple of months, alongside your general day-to-day cleaning, to ensure your kitchen stays in tip top condition.
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