I don’t know about you, but for ME, sometimes the hardest part about getting a task done is knowing where to start. The second hardest part is knowing when I’m done. Because let’s face it, is house cleaning ever really DONE? That’s why I love when I come across a “step-by-step” guide to…..anything. Even though I may not end up following it exactly, it’s nice to have some sort of framework to start from.

That’s why today I am offering my own step-by-step to cleaning my kitchen that I have developed over the years with the help of a myriad of sources. Books, magazines, online articles, even TV shows, have all served as inspiration for this routine. Of course it won’t apply to everyone’s situation, but hopefully it will at least help you get started, and more importantly, know where to end. :-)

1. Clear The Decks!

Put away all of the items that belong in the kitchen but are not in their proper place. Then move on to gathering all the items that do NOT belong in the kitchen. Put all these items into a basket to be put away later (or if you have a helper, enlist their help with this.) Do not stop working on the kitchen to take these misplaced items to their homes.

2. Start At The Sink

Put all of the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Run a sink of hot, soapy water then drop in things that need soaking like the microwave turntable, the dish drainer, or large pans and bowls.

3. Spray Countertops and Stovetop

Use an all purpose cleaner and spray surfaces liberally. Let the cleaner do it’s work while you move on.

4. Empty The Refrigerator

Well, not completely. Toss anything that is expired and throw the dirty food containers in the sink full of soapy water. Working from top to bottom, wipe down the shelves with a rag sprayed with all-purpose cleaner.

5. Start At The Top

Knocking dirt and debris onto the floor is OK because you’re going to be sweeping it all up later. Use a long-handled duster and work your way around the entire perimeter of the room. Clean the corners, the light fixtures, and the tops of the cabinets. Don’t forget the top of the refrigerator. When you’ve worked your way back to where you started, you’re ready to move on.

6. Wipe Down Upper Cabinets & Clean Microwave

Set a wet sponge in the microwave and “cook” for 2 minutes. While the microwave is doing it’s work, dip a rag in the warm, soap water and use it to wipe down the doors and pulls of the upper cabinets and anything else on the wall as you circle the room. The sponge in the microwave should be cool enough to handle now. Use it to wipe down the inside and outside of the microwave.

7. Wipe Down Countertops and Stovetop

Now that the cleaner has had a chance to work, wipe down the horizontal surfaces. Again, just let dust, crumbs, etc. fall to the floor because you’ll get it later. Add a little baking soda for stubborn stains. For granite countertops use my Homemade Granite Cleaner. For stainless steel surfaces, use my Stainless Steel Cleaner.

8. Clean Vertical Surfaces of Appliances

Use another rag dipped in the warm soapy water to wipe down the front of the refrigerator, dishwasher and oven. Pay close attention to handles and outside edges. (Use my Stainless Steel Cleaner or vinegar diluted with water for stainless steel appliances.)

9. Wipe Down Lower Cabinet Doors & Drawers

Once again, a rag dipped in warm, soapy water will do the job.

10. Finish Dishes and Clean Sink

Place the items that have been soaking in the sink into the dishwasher or wash by hand. Drain the sink and rinse with hot water. Clean the basin with a mild abrasive like baking soda, or if you need a little more power, I like Bar Keepers Friend. Rinse with hot water again. Wipe down the faucet and handles with a microfiber cloth.

11. Empty The Trash

Give the inside of the can a quick wipe down with a wet rag before replacing the bag.

12. Sweep & Mop The Floor

Using a broom or a dry duster, get right up to the baseboards, under the cabinets and into the corners. Pull out appliances if necessary. Follow up with a mop or steam cleaner. Start at the farthest corner from the entrance to the room. If using a mop, be sure to use a bucket. You don’t want to contaminate your clean sink. Dump the dirty water outside or in the toilet.

Now it’s time to congratulate yourself on a job well done! Grab a cold beverage of your choice and relax…you’ve earned it!!

A Few Extra Tips:

  • Make cleaning up the kitchen a family affair. Divide the steps between your family members, and you really can have the kitchen done in a short time.

  • Train your family members to clear and rinse their own plates after each meal. This simple act takes little time for each person, but saves so much time for the dish person later.

  • Run a sink of hot soapy water before food preparation begins. As mixing bowls, cutting boards, knives, etc, become dirty, quickly wash them up to prevent food from drying and sticking. It will take the stress out of cooking and you won’t be left with a pile of dirty dishes when you’re done!

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