The kitchen is the heart and center of the home — but it gets dirty fast. (Cleaning up is the downside to cooking at home!) If neglected, aside from basic washing up and wiping down, the kitchen can get out of hand very quickly. But forget weekend cleaning marathons — you can deep-clean the kitchen from top to bottom (and keep it clean!) in only 20 minutes a day.
Here is a 30-day plan that will help you clean your kitchen in manageable chunks of time — and keep it gleaming clean without those hours of toil on the weekend. (We even have a handy PDF you can print out and tack on the fridge to remind you!)
A little while ago I shared my daily routine for keeping my entire house clean in 20 minutes a day. The whole house, folks. I've been using this method for a long time, and it keeps things manageable and easy. What I didn't mention though is that I allot the same amount of time for cleaning the kitchen. Even though it's only one room, it requires extra love and attention. So I thought I would take a moment to share with you my kitchen routine as well.
Twenty minutes a day isn't much time. It is however enough of a window during your day to tackle your kitchen from top to bottom. We're not talking about simple wiping down of surfaces, no sir, we're talking all out, dusting, de-greasing, baseboard wiping, oven cleaning goodness. In just 20 minutes a day? Sarah you must be crazy! Possibly, but when it comes to kitchen cleaning, I've got it down to an art. Want to see how it's done?
1. Adjust to Your Own Schedule: This method works wonders for a two-person household with a large amount of dishes and wear and tear in the kitchen. If you have eight kids, there's a good chance this number might need to go up a little; but then again, you have eight kids, so put them to work!
Likewise, if you don't have 20 minutes all together, break up the tasks so you can do things in parts. Maybe add 10 minutes to your morning routine and 10 minutes after your nightly meal.
2. Dishes + Sweeping + Surfaces = Given: The list below assumes that you'll be taking care of dishes, sweeping and giving things a quick wipe down every day anyway. These basic chores being done each and every day are essential to the plan (and your sanity) below. P.S. But give yourself a break when necessary; no one will know if you don't sweep your floor every single day.
3. Set a Timer: Everyone gets distracted easily. When you're at home there are doorbells ringing, text messages flying, kids calling your name, work emails winging in; it's no wonder we often feel buried under chores. Sometimes we just don't get to them. Set a time for 5 minutes. When it goes off, set it again. If you get derailed during that time, the ding! will help bring you back and refocus.
Day 1. Wipe down the fronts of appliances, large and small.
Day 2. Clean the inside and outside of your trash can.
Day 3. Tidy cookbooks, aprons and towel and linen drawers.
Day 4. Wipe down baking containers (flour, sugar, cornstarch).
Day 5. Clean out your refrigerator. Wipe down shelves and tidy freezer.
Day 6. Wipe down cabinet fronts (dust and polish) and range hood.
Day 7. Mop the floor.
Day 8. Wipe down the fronts of appliances, large and small.
Day 9. Clean the inside of your utensil holders and top of refrigerator.
Day 10. Clean under your refrigerator and stove.
Day 11. Clean the seal on your dishwasher and garbage disposal.
Day 12. Clean windows and sills (if you have them).
Day 13. Wipe down decorative accessories and pictures.
Day 14. Mop the floor.
Day 15. Wipe down the fronts of appliances, large and small.
Day 16. Tidy pantry, canned goods, boxes and bags.
Day 17. Clean cleaning items (clean the sponge, wash towels, etc.).
Day 18. Wipe down interior cabinet shelves.
Day 19. Wipe down walls.
Day 20. Wipe down cabinets (dust and polish) and range hood.
Day 21. Mop the floor.
Day 22 Wipe down the fronts of appliances, large and small.
Day 23. Organize pots, pans or other frequently used under cabinet drawer.
Day 24. Scrub out sink and wipe down faucet.
Day 25. Clean out your refrigerator, wipe down shelves and tidy freezer.
Day 26. Clean the inside of your microwave and set your oven to clean.
Day 27. Wipe down baseboards.
Day 28. Mop the floor.
Day 29. Wipe down the fronts of appliances, large and small.
Day 30. Dust light fixtures, clean switch plates, vent covers.
For the most part, these extra chores can be done in addition to your regular dishes and surface cleaning. That said, some tasks will require more time than others. Remember some nights you'll order in and dishes will be slim or you won't eat at home at all. Those are the nights to tackle large things if you need to swap out a chore.
If you like a whole day off from kitchen cleaning, check out the list and see if there's a few things you can do on the same day. If you have a large suburban or warehouse loft kitchen, this might be impractical, but if your kitchen is the size of a postage stamp, then there's a good chance you could do a week's worth of chores all together and knock them out.
Are you ready for 30 days of deep cleaning so you never have to freak out again? Since I've started using this method it has been nice to have company over and not worry whether they can see the pile of pet hair stuck against the air vent under my refrigerator, or whether they'll spy the stay onion peel below my prep table. Things just take care of themselves — imagine that!
Do you use a schedule like this for cleaning the kitchen? Any tips to add?
Related: How To Clean a Greasy Stovetop (with Just Soap & Water)
(Image of inspiringly clean kitchen from Jenny & Asmund's $4000 Renovated Kitchen & Garden by Leela Cyd Ross)