Your Kitchen Spring-Cleaning Checklist

By: Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.

Use this easy checklist to simplify and streamline your next spring-cleaning session! Print off the checklist to keep track of tasks, follow the tips for tackling the cleaning and use one of the "Cleaning Game Plans" as a guide to getting started.

Few things are more satisfying than a clean and organized kitchen. Getting your kitchen in good order can be as simple as throwing away expired food and old spices, or can include more involved tasks like sorting and organizing your cabinets. We're helping you simplify and streamline your next kitchen cleaning, whether you have 5 minutes or an hour. Use the Kitchen Spring-Cleaning Checklist and the Cleaning Game Plan ideas to plan your attack to freshen up the heart of your home.

Kitchen Spring-Cleaning Checklist

Print this checklist off to keep track of what you've cleaned, organized and stocked in your kitchen and make a plan to tackle these tasks over the course of a few weeks. Scroll down to the Cleaning Game Plans to see what can be accomplished when you only have 5, 15, 30 or 60 minutes.

Checklist

Pantry

Pantry

Clean

  • Remove all dry goods and spices from your pantry. Wipe down shelves using warm soapy water or a food-safe surface disinfectant.

Organize

  • Toss expired food and old spices. Generally, dried herbs and spices will last about two years. Set still-fresh food that you no longer want aside for donating. Consider using shelf organizers or small bins to store items together, like grab-and-go snacks, bags of rice and grains or baking supplies. When returning items to the shelves, place the newest foods to the back so you use up older items before they expire.

Stock

  • Take inventory of pantry staples and spices that need to be restocked and add them to your grocery list.

Related: The Pantry Staples You Should Always Have on Hand

Refrigerator and Freezer

Fridge

Clean

  • Remove all food from fridge and freezer shelves, drawers and doors. Toss rotting produce (or add to your compost bin), expired condiments and freezer-burned or expired frozen goods.
  • Using warm soapy water or a food-safe disinfectant, wipe down fridge and freezer shelves and the inside of doors. Wash any removable drawers and the ice-maker bin.
  • Wipe down the fridge doors and handles.

Related: What Food Can Be Composted (and What Can't)

Organize

  • Move fresh vegetables to the high-humidity drawer and fruits to the low-humidity drawer/crisper to help them last longer. Store milk and eggs in a colder part of the fridge and reserve fridge door space for condiments. Keep raw meat and poultry on the bottom shelf and separate from all fresh foods to prevent any drippings from the raw meat falling on the fresh foods.
  • Take note of any freezer meals or foods than need to be eaten in the next three months. Move these to a more visible location in your freezer so you remember to use them.

Related: The Best Way to Store Fruits & Veggies So They Last Longer

Stock

  • Take inventory after you've cleaned and add any fridge and freezer staples to your shopping list, like condiments or go-to frozen ingredients.

Related: 7 Ingredients You Should Always Have in Your Freezer for Fast Healthy Meals

Countertops and Sink

Sink

Clean

  • Clear off countertops, quickly wiping down small appliances as you go. Using warm soapy water or a disinfectant, wash and rinse off all countertops, kitchen island and backsplash.
  • Using warm soapy water or a kitchen disinfectant and a nonabrasive sponge or cloth, wash your sink. Clean and sanitize drain stoppers. Wipe down the faucet and disinfect handles.

Organize

  • Consider stowing small appliances you don't use on a regular basis in a cabinet or the pantry to create more space.
  • Declutter the space around your sink by storing hand soap, scrub brushes and sponges in a small caddy.

Related: DIY Cleaning Solutions

Microwave and Small Appliances

  • Using a damp cloth, clean the inside of your microwave. Remove the turntable plate and wash it with warm soapy water. Wipe down the front of your microwave, including the touch pad and handle.
  • Remove and clean the crumb collector from your toaster or toaster oven. Wipe down the outside and knobs.
  • Wipe down the outside of your coffee maker and the warming plate. Change the filter, if applicable. Consider brewing a coffee-free cleaning cycle using a water-and-vinegar solution (check manufacturer's instructions).

Cabinets and Drawers

Drawer

Clean

  • Remove cookware, dishes, glassware and food storage containers from cabinets. Wipe down the insides of the cabinets using a dry or damp cloth. Wipe down the outsides of the cabinet doors and handles. Repeat this process with drawers after removing utensils and small wares.

Organize

  • Consider donating unnecessary cookware duplicates or items you haven't used in a year.

Oven and Dishwasher

Dishwasher

  • Set your oven to run in self-clean mode. Wipe down the stovetop and hood using water and dish soap or a surface cleaner to remove grease buildup.
  • After removing clean dishes, wipe down the inside of your dishwasher to remove detergent residue. Check the drain and spin blades for any lodged food or buildup. To deodorize, sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher. Let stand overnight, then run an empty hot water cycle in the morning.

Floors

Floor

  • Shake out kitchen rugs and wash them. Sweep or vacuum the kitchen floor.
  • Wash floors using soap and warm water or your preferred floor cleanser. With assistance, move your refrigerator to clean the floor underneath.

Cleaning Game Plans for Any Time Budget

List

Cleaning your kitchen from top to bottom may require a few hours. If you're short on time, consider tackling the tasks outlined above over a few days, a week or a month, using your checklist to keep you organized. Or, prioritize tasks around your schedule using these game plans as a guide.

If you have 5 minutes:

  • Discard last week's takeout leftovers and rotting produce. Move fruits that are ripe or overripe (like bananas or avocados) to the fridge to delay further ripening.
  • Wipe down handles on large appliances and high-traffic surfaces.
  • Take an inventory of fridge and pantry staples and add items to your shopping list.

If you have 15 minutes:

  • Wipe down countertops and small appliances, including microwave, toaster oven and coffee maker.
  • Put clean dishes away and run your dishwasher in sanitation mode.
  • Shake out kitchen rugs and throw them in the wash.

If you have 30 minutes:

  • Disinfect sink, including faucet and handles.
  • Sweep or vacuum the kitchen floor and spot-clean using a wet soapy cloth to get rid of any visible splatters.
  • Sort pantry goods and wipe down shelves. Take note of where you may be able to organize with baskets or bins.

If you have an hour:

  • Remove grease buildup on stovetop and hood.
  • Clean and organize fridge and freezer.
  • Wash kitchen floor.

Deep cleaning tasks to tackle every 3 to 4 months:

  • Run your oven in self-clean mode.
  • Check your dishwasher's drain and spin blades for blocks and lodged food. Deodorize as described above.
  • Clean, sort and organize cabinets and drawers.

Watch: How to Clean and Season a Cast-Iron Skillet

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