Is your kitchen a disaster and you need to learn how to clean the kitchen – stat? Or, maybe your kitchen isn’t too bad and you’re just looking for some kitchen cleaning hacks to help you keep your kitchen clean daily. Either way – I’ve got you covered.
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One of the hardest parts about cleaning anything is knowing where to start. Maybe you’ve already made a list of everything that needs to be cleaned, but when you’re looking at that list you don’t know what you should start with.
Everything is in such dire need of being cleaned – what should you clean first?
Finally, after you figure out where you’re going to start cleaning, you can get going and get this thing done. But, what happens when hours have passed and you’ve barely made a dent in the whole mess?
There’s got to be an easier way of doing things.
And there is!
Here we’ll look at some of the top kitchen cleaning tips to help you learn how to clean a kitchen fast, so you don’t have to drag it out over several days (no matter how big of a mess it is).
Before we dive into your kitchen deep clean, let’s go over the order that the kitchen should always be cleaned in.
In what order should you clean the kitchen?
It might come as a surprise to you that there is actually a specific order you should clean your kitchen in (in fact- there’s a specific order for most everything in your house to be cleaned). If you don’t follow this order and end up cleaning your kitchen in the wrong order, you’ll likely have to go back and clean things that you already cleaned.
The cleaning rule isn’t complex, but it’s important:
Clean from high to low. Always.
As a rule of thumb, you always want to clean from top to bottom. It doesn’t really matter what you’re cleaning – starting with the top of the item/room and working your way down will give you the best results in the least amount of time.
As you work your way down, the dust and dirt that is getting knocked off the stuff at the top of the room will get wiped off the lower surfaces as you work your way down the room, rather than starting at the bottom, or even mid-way, and finishing with the top. If you do that, you’ll be knocking dirt and dust onto your already-cleaned surfaces.
In the kitchen this would mean you will want to start with the top of the room – start by dusting light fixtures and ceiling fans if you have any, then work your way down the room moving to the cabinets, the top of the fridge, and any other tall objects in the room.
Then, do the inside of the cabinets, drop down to the drawers and lower cabinets, the oven, dishwasher, sink, then the countertops, then finally, the floor.
We’ll go more in-depth on each of these points below.
How to clean the kitchen fast, a step-by-step guide
1. Clear the room
The first step to cleaning your kitchen is to clear the room of any objects that don’t belong there, and putting away any objects that do. Ultimately, before you can start scrubbing the cupboards, you’ll want to ensure you’re started with clear countertops and surfaces so you don’t have to clean around items.
So, grab this basket (or one like it) and put anything into the basket that is in the kitchen but belongs elsewhere.
Don’t worry about putting these things away right now. Your main focus right now is cleaning the kitchen, so we’ll worry about putting these items away later. For now, you just want them moved out of your way.
Put them into a basket and move the basket into a different room, somewhere out of your way.
2. Start with the dishes
Dishes are often the biggest contributor to a messy kitchen. Start your kitchen clean by filling up the sink with hot soapy water and putting any dishes that need to be hand-washed into the sink to soak, then load the dishwasher up with the remaining dishes.
Give all the dishes that need to be washed by hand a quick scrub and place them on the drying rack to dry. Don’t drain your water yet.
3. Empty the fridge
Now you’re going to remove everything (yes – everything) from the fridge. Place the fridge items onto the floor or the countertop.
Once the fridge is completely emptied out, you can grab this cleaning cloth along with this chemical-free cleaner (because you don’t want chemicals where you store your food…) and wipe down all the shelves and drawers in your fridge.
If you feel so inclined, you could even remove the drawers and shelves from the fridge and wash them in the sink. It’s totally up to you.
After you’ve wiped down the sink, go through everything that was in the fridge and toss any food that has long expired.
Place the now-empty food containers in the sink or dishwasher.
Put everything else back into the fridge.
Now, wash any of the food containers that have to be washed by hand, then dry them and put them away immediately. Drain the dishwater.
4. Soak hard-to-clean items
Now you’re going to refill the sink again with soapy water (you’ll be washing some pretty greasy stuff now, so I recommend using this specific dish soap).
Place the microwave turntable in the soapy dishwater. If you have a countertop cooking untensil holder, take the utensils out and place the holder into the water.
Remove the filter from your range hood fan and place it near the sink. (Don’t know how to remove your range hood fan? Find a detailed guide, here.)
If you have a gas or electric stovetop you can disassemble the burners and place the washable parts in the sink to soak.
After you’ve taken all the various parts from around your kitchen and either placed them in the dishwater to soak or near the sink to be washed, it’s time to move on to the next step.
5. Dust the room
Starting at the top and working your way down, use this to dust your entire room. Start with the light fixtures, then extend your handy duster to reach the tops of the cupboards, the top of the fridge, and so on.
Knock all the dust off of surfaces up high, then work your way down the room, dusting surfaces that are lower.
Don’t worry about the dust that’s getting knocked onto the countertop and the floor, you’ll be washing both things later on.
I like to use this to get deep into the corners, where cobwebs and dust bunnies like to hide and populate. Work your way around the entire room, and once all the surfaces that need to be dusted (excluding any surfaces in arm’s reach – you’ll wash those with your rags) are done, you can move onto the next step.
6. Wash items in the sink
Put your duster away and head back to the sink. Take your dishcloth and scrub the microwave turntable, the utensil holder, the hood fan, and anything else that you have lined up to be washed.
(Hint: when it comes to cleaning your range hood fan, you’ll want to use THIS specific soap. Other soaps won’t remove the grease quite like this one does.)
Set everything up on the countertop to air dry, then move on.
7. Clean exteriors of top cupboards
Grab your favorite kitchen cleaning spray (this is my favorite brand since it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals), or just use a cloth dipped in warm, soapy water (you’ll want to use this soap when making your soapy water since it works great at removing grease) and spray down the exteriors of the cupboards (just the cupboards above the countertop, for now).
Be generous with the amount you spray on because – even though you may not be able to see it – the cupboards likely have a film of grease covering them.
Grab your cleaning cloth (I recommend using these cloths as they are antibacterial and will last you a LONG time. They are a bit pricier than these cleaning cloths, but I find them far better.) and start wiping down the cupboards.
Once you’ve gotten all the faces and bottoms of the cupboards wiped down (do you see how much grease they were harboring?), you can move on.
8. Clean the microwave
Use this nifty tool to clean your microwave without any scrubbing. Simply stick it in the microwave and turn it on for about 2 minutes. When it’s done, take it out and wipe the microwave down with a cloth.
9. Wipe down the stove top
Spray some cleaner on the stove top and grab whichever cleaning tools you need (if you have a glass stove top, this nifty thing has a TON of different uses, but I use it to clean my stove top and it works great – it scrapes the burnt-on substances right off).
If the stove top has a lot of stuff stuck on it, spray it with cleaner (or use your own homemade stove top cleaner) and let it sit.
Come back to it after the next step.
10. Clean the countertops
Remove everything from the countertops. This includes your coffee maker, the toaster, serving utensil holders, your spice rack (unless you use this kind of spice rack), and anything else that sits on your counter.
After everything is removed, spray the countertop down with your kitchen cleaner. Go back and grab your cloths dipped in warm water and wipe the countertops, all the way to the back and into the corners.
Scrub any spots with substances stuck on and get in all the crevices.
After you’ve wiped the entire countertop, put all the small appliances back into place.
If you left the cleaner sitting on your stovetop from the last step, head back there now and wipe it clean.
10. Wipe exterior of the fridge, oven, and dishwasher
Grab your cloth and soapy water and wipe down the exterior of the fridge from top to bottom, focusing on the handles. Wipe down the exterior of the oven door and handle, and the dishwasher door and handle.
If your appliances are stainless steel, after you’ve wiped them down with the soapy water and allowed it to dry, use this and a mirror cloth to buff all the fingerprints and scuffs out of the stainless steel and keep it looking shiny and clean for a longer period of time.
(When I worked as a housekeeper this is all we ever used for cleaning the stainless steel elevators – think fingerprints EVERYWHERE – and it worked GREAT, plus it’s cheap.)
11. Wipe down lower cabinets and drawers
Now that you’re done with everything above the countertop and the countertop itself, it’s time to move a bit lower.
Your cleaning cloth dipped in soapy water (remember: ALWAYS use this kind of soap when working with grease) will work just fine for cleaning these lower cabinets and drawers.
You might find that these cabinets don’t have as much of a greasy film on them as the cabinets above the countertop, but these cabinets may have more fingerprints and scuffs on them.
12. Put dishes that were air drying away and wipe down the sink
You’re just about done cleaning your entire kitchen, there are just a few steps left.
Now you’re going to head back to the counter where you left your dishes to dry on this and put them away where they belong.
If you hadn’t already, drain the water in the sink and wipe the sink down with a soapy cloth, then use a microfiber cloth to shine the faucet and handles and remove any water marks from them.
13. Take out the trash
Put the trash near the door and put a new trash bag in the garbage can. If the can is looking particularly dirty, you could quickly wipe it out with a cloth to remove any crumbs or spills before putting a fresh bag in.
14. Sweep/vacuum and mop the floor
You’re on your final step for cleaning the kitchen, all that’s left after this is cleaning up your supplies.
Quickly grab your broom or use your vacuum cleaner and give the kitchen floor some attention. Then grab your mop – I use this mop and love how it can reach all the way into deep corners – and give the floor a quick once-over. (If you want to cut the amount of time spent cleaning your floors in half, use this combo cleaner to do both jobs at once.)
Related: The Best Inexpensive Vacuum Cleaners for Under $100
15. Clean up cleaning supplies, throw out trash, put away items in basket
Dump your mop (NOT in your freshly-cleaned kitchen sink) and put away all your cleaning supplies, then bring the trash bag by the door out to the garbage and put all the items from the very beginning that you placed in the basket away in their proper homes.
And now it’s time to sit back and relax for a while. Put your feet up and admire your clean kitchen – doesn’t it feel good?
How to keep your kitchen clean daily
Now that you’ve learned how to deep clean the kitchen, let’s go over some small things that you can do on a daily basis to keep your kitchen from becoming a disaster, and keep it in this clean state longer.
- Always (always, always) wash your dishes at the end of the day. I prefer to wash my dishes throughout the day – or load them into the dishwasher – as soon as I’m done using them, rather than having a big pile of dishes to wash come evening. Whichever way you choose to do it doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you are ending your day with a kitchen that is free of all dirty dishes.
- Run the dishwasher in the evening and clean it out in the morning. Before heading to bed, if the dishwasher is full, turn it on in the evening and clean it out first thing the next morning, so you are starting the day with an empty dishwasher and cupboards stocked with clean dishes.
- Use up leftovers. To eliminate the amount of food you throw out (or the amount of food that sits in the back of your fridge for months), use these food storage containers with the dates on them so you can clearly see what’s inside and when they need to be eaten up by.
- Clean up as you make meals. While making dinner (or lunch or breakfast), have a sinkful of warm, soapy water and place any dishes you’ve used into the sink during meal preparations. Then, if you get a minute or two when you’re just waiting for the meat to cook (or veggies to steam, etc), wash a couple of the dishes instead of just waiting around. This will make cleanup after the meal a hundred times quicker.
- Clean the sink nightly. After you’ve washed your final load of dishes for the night, grab a clean cloth and wipe out the sink and quickly run over the faucet and handles.
- Sweep the floor in the evening. Just before heading to bed, quickly grab your broom (I recommend this broom, NOT this one) and give the floor a sweep to pick up any dirt or crumbs that collected throughout the day.
What is the fastest way to clean a kitchen?
If you’re looking for the FASTEST way to clean a kitchen, this probably isn’t it. This kitchen cleaning checklist is thorough and will clean even the deepest nooks and crannies in your kitchen.
If you want to do a FAST kitchen clean, we’re talking how to clean your kitchen in 30 minutes, then all you’d want to do is:
1. Wash dishes/load dishwasher
2. Wipe down countertops & stovetop
3. Wipe down exteriors of oven, fridge, and dishwasher
4. Take out the trash
5. Sweep and spot-mop kitchen floor
That would be the fastest way to clean a kitchen – a quick kitchen clean up – but keep in mind that this won’t be a kitchen deep clean, it’s simply cleaning the surfaces in the kitchen, but it’s enough to tide you over until you are able to do a full deep clean of the kitchen.
What are some of your best kitchen cleaning tips and hacks? I’d love to hear from you!
Related articles to read:
Simple Daily Cleaning Routine to Keep Your House Tidy
How to Clean Every Room in Your House
How to Clean a Disgusting House When the Mess is Overwhelming