Sparkle & Smile

Blog for Cleaner and Healthier Homes.

Home Organization

Deep Cleaning the Kitchen – Part 1

September 26, 2017


Once in a separate building altogether, kitchens have become the centerpieces of our homes today.  They are now meant for living, not just cooking.  Some modern kitchens have open floor plans that include a great room and a fireplace and some even flow outdoors. But regardless of whether your kitchen dated or updated, it is probably the place where people most often congregate. And with all this added activity it’s even more important this room is clean and organized. According to Maid Brigade’s 2017 Cleaning Calendar + Checklists certain deep cleaning tasks should be completed every three months. These handy tips will help you succeed with deep cleaning the kitchen.

Although each deep cleaning task should be completed start to finish, all tasks do not need to be performed on the same day (or weekend). To help make sure you don’t take on too much at once, this how-to guide is broken into two posts.

Part 1: The Pantry and the Refrigerator

Before you start

Before starting to deep clean your kitchen take the time for a little prep work. Start by clearing away the clutter and putting everything back where it belongs.  Remove things that don’t belong in the kitchen.  Clean the table and wipe down all the counter tops so you are not distracted.


The pantry

  • The best place to start is in the pantry or cabinets where dry and can goods are stored. Remove everything from the top shelf and place it on the counter. Check each and every package and can for an expiration date. Throw out expired food as well as items you won’t really ever use.  If you have unwanted items that are not expired, donate them to a local food pantry.
  • Vacuum the shelf using the upholstery attachment to remove dust and debris.
  • Using warm soapy water and a large looped microfiber cloth, wipe the entire shelf as well as the sides and top of the cabinet or closet. These areas accumulate cob webs and need to be washed carefully.
  • When replacing the shelf contents, organize things based on how you use them. For example, store all your baking needs in one area, can goods in another and snacks in yet another area. Look at the next shelf and see if there are items that should be brought up to this top shelf.
  • Consider storing your dry goods in plastic containers. These will prevent damage from moisture and insects. Great, inexpensive containers can be found where kitchen and container items are sold. Make sure containers are easy to open and comfortable to grab with one hand. Use a labeling system to keep track of freshness dates.
  • Continue this process throughout the other shelves until all are done.
  • Wash the inside of the door or cabinet with warm soapy water and rinse.


The Fridge

  • The easiest way to clean and reorganize the refrigerator is to empty it out completely. Throw out everything that has expired as well as things that you know you won’t be using.
  • Take out all the removable shelves and place them in warm, soapy water to soak.
  • Wipe down the interior fridge walls using a damp microfiber cloth and a spray bottle of distilled white vinegar. You don’t want to expose your food to the ingredients in a cleaning product. Vinegar is a natural acid and will work to break down food particles as well as kill 98% of the bacteria.
  • Wash, rinse and dry all the removable shelves and replace them.
  • Replace the food items. Remember that items that need to say cool should be placed on the back of the shelves. We tend to put things that we use on the doors or on the front of the shelves but in reality, your refrigerator should be organized based on the item’s temperature requirement. Milk should be stored toward the back of the frig instead of on the door. Items that can be stored on the door are items that don’t really require a consistent temperature such as condiments or salad dressings.  Keep this in mind as you reorganize your refrigerator.
  • Clean the outside of the refrigerator. Pull it away from the wall and vacuum the coils on the back and base of the unit. Remove items from the top of the refrigerator and clean it with a good de-greasing cleaner, dish soap or vinegar. Rinse and wipe it dry before putting things back on top.  It’s a good idea to clean these items while they are off the top of the fridge.
  • Finally, clean the sides and front of the refrigerator and make sure to give the handles a really good scrub. Use a tooth brush to get in and around the areas where the handles connect to the door. That connection is a sneaky place where spills and drips accumulate yet it rarely gets cleaned.

Be sure to check back next week for Part 2 in this series.


Leslie Reichert has tons of green cleaning tips, at

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