How to Clean Every Surface in Your Kitchen

Your kitchen regularly requires a thorough cleaning — but that doesn't mean it has to be difficult or complicated.

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Photo By: Josh Grubbs

Photo By: Josh Grubbs

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Photo By: Josh Grubbs

Photo By: Josh Grubbs

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Photo By: Josh Grubbs

Photo By: Josh Grubbs

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Photo By: Josh Grubbs

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Make It Gleam

The kitchen isn’t just an isolated space for dreaming up dinner parties and coming up with confectionary treats for bake sales. It is ground zero for all household activities. It’s the place your kids drop their muddy cleats and dogs drag in their backyard finds. It’s a home office, a mail collection center and the hearth we gather around for holiday meals and everyday dinners. And it gets dirty, because life is messy.

But here’s how you clean it up: First, you’ll need toolkit, like sponges, soft bristled brushes, microfiber cloths, mops and a broom. Then you need an arsenal of cleaners, like soapy sprays (mix 1 tablespoon dish soap per 8-ounces water), grease cutters (1-part vinegar and 1-part dish soap), sanitizers (1-part water to 1-part rubbing alcohol) and polishers (mineral oil and chalk). Plus, some heavy action baking soda and vinegar scrubs for caked on food and stain removal.

Now that you are ready to get started, we’ve created this guide to help you tackle every surface in your kitchen to have it sparkling in no time — we promise.

Countertops and Backsplashes

A wipe down each night with a non-abrasive sponge should keep things mostly in check, but when the mess builds up, you’ll need to pull out some tools.

First, the countertops: you can’t sanitize what isn’t clean, so wipe your counters free of any debris and spray with a soapy solution. Next, sanitize with either a bleach or alcohol-based disinfectant. You don’t want last night’s chicken juices in tomorrow’s eggs. If you’re looking for a polished finish, a paste made of baking soda and a little water works wonders on porous stone counters, like marble and granite. Just never spray vinegar or anything similarly acidic on those natural stone counters — you might etch them permanently.

While backsplashes can be tackled in a similar way as countertops, they often come with the added bonus of grout. Pull out your toothbrushes and scrub that grout to a pearly white — some bleach or baking soda can work wonders lifting stains off tired grout.

Butcher Blocks

Butcher block islands look great until they become a petri dish for growing smelly bacteria. Luckily, there is a solution: sanitize with a bleach- or alcohol-based solution to kill bacteria. Then, scrub with coarse salt and a halved lemon to get rid of odors. And use a food-grade mineral oil sealer regularly to protect your butcher block from cracking.

Cabinets

Scrub regularly (at least once a week) with a soapy water and a soft sponge to remove any grease. Use the same microfiber cloth from cleaning your vent hoods to dry and wipe down cabinets. Be sure to cleanup quickly any food spills that might cause the paint to discolor or finish to wear off.

Line drawers and cabinets with contact paper for easy cleaning and to protect against dust.

Floors

Floors take the brunt of the beating in a kitchen taking hits from food spills, tracked in mud and grime, dust, greasy buildup, etc. You name it, the floors have seen it. So, it’s important to sweep at the end of the day to remove the particles and grime that are most likely to leave scratches in their wake.

Do a deep clean once every other week or when the floors really need it. Choose a cleaner specially formulated for your floor type and mop until your hearts content, or at least the grime is gone.

Sinks and Disposals

Once you’re done wiping down the counters, take that sponge on a cleaning tour of the sink. Bacteria can really build up here if not cleaned and sanitized daily as every dirty fruit, raw food scrap and plate eventually wind up in the sink.

Eliminate odors coming from your disposal by grinding citrus peels in it while flooding it with boiling water.

Faucets, Grooves and Tiny, Hard-to-Reach Spaces

Remember that grout polishing toothbrush? It has another use in your kitchen cleaning crew — reaching in those tiny cracks, grooves and other hard-to-reach places. Use your soft bristled tooth brush with some soapy water to scrub around faucets where mildew is likely to buildup. Then rinse and use the same brush to scrub in that impossible to clean crack between the countertop and oven range.

Stainless Steel Appliances

At some point stainless steel took over our appliances, but what it didn’t come with was a manual on how to keep it fingerprint-free and shiny. But, the answer is a simple one. A little mineral oil and a microfiber cloth or old t-shirt rubbed in the direction of the steel’s grain will make your refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves and ranges look like new.

Vent Hoods and Filters

These poor oft-forgotten fixtures in the kitchen keep the smoke alarm at bay when you’re searing steaks and stir-frying rice, but all that heavy-duty cooking takes a toll. So how do you degrease these splatter screens? First, spray with a homemade or store-bought grease cutter and let it soak in for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the mess. Then wipe the smooth surfaces clean with a damp cloth and finish with a polishing microfiber cloth or old t-shirt. Rinse the filters in the sink and use a pipe cleaner from your kid’s crafting table to clean any grease stuck in the grooves.

Cooktops

Caked-on food can be a real headache, but it inevitably happens on every cooktop. For the surface itself, sprinkle with baking soda and spritz with some vinegar, let sit for 5 minutes before scrubbing and most spills should lift up easily.

For the grates, soak in warm soapy water, scrub and rinse, or if dishwasher safe, clean them on the pots and pans cycle to remove caked-on grease.

Refrigerators

Refrigerators house the food and sometimes that food leaves its odorous mark. Four times a year, wipe down the interior of the shelves with a deodorizing solution (baking soda works wells, here) to keep food odors at bay. Clean the drawers with warm soapy water and dry completely before returning to the fridge. Finally, be sure to wipe the gasket around the doors with a vinegar solution to prevent mildew growth.