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Intensely Clean a Kitchen

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Man carefully scrubbing kitchen Cultura/Liam Norris/Riser/Getty Images
Cluttered cabinets, a dusty refrigerator top, and an oven that smokes every time you bake are not the components of an ideal kitchen. Revive this important room in your home with a step-by-step tutorial on intensely cleaning the kitchen.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 30-90 Minutes

Here's How:

  1. Begin with a 15 Minute Kitchen Cleanup.

    This will clear out the clutter and dirty dishes, and give you room to do the actual intense cleaning projects. Don't worry about cleaning the floors in the 15 minute clean up. We will do this later.

  2. Dust down the ceiling and corners of walls. Determine if the walls need washed in dirty spots.

    Spot wash, remembering air vents, doorknobs, doors, switch plates. Walls will likely need to be washed more often in this room than in others. You may not have noticed that the hand mixer or blender sloshed goop all over the wall. Take your intense cleaning time now to clean the grease, grime, and spilled food from your walls.

    Best Dusting Tools
    Dusting Tips
    Video: Cleaning Ceiling Vents

  3. Dust and clean all art and photographs along the wall.

    Be careful when cleaning framed art and photographs. Never spray cleanser or water onto the frame. The liquid can seep behind the glass and damage the pictures. Instead lightly wet a clean cloth to wipe the frame and glass.

  4. Dust and clean the ceiling fan.

    You may need to use a gentle cleanser like Murphy's Oil Soap. Take down any light fixtures and gently wash and dry them before replacing.

    Video: Clean a Ceiling Fan

  5. Take down draperies, curtains, and blinds to wash or have cleaned according to the manufacturer's directions.

    Vacuum and clean windowsills and corners. Wash the insides and outsides of the windows. Take down and rinse off screens, before replacing.

    How to Clean Curtains
    How to Clean Blinds
    How to Clean Drapes

  6. Apply oven cleaner to the oven and clean the refrigerator.

    Leave the windows in the kitchen open to avoid the overpowering smell. Don't forget to vacuum the coils of your UNPLUGGED refrigerator. This is a great time to sweep and mop underneath it too if you can find some help to move it. Be careful of scratching your floor.

    Video:Clean an Oven
    How-to Clean an Oven

  7. While the oven cleaner works, begin sorting through the freezer and refrigerator.

    Throw out any expired food, mostly empty containers, and items that you bought and never used. Put the stuff to keep on the counter. Take out the refrigerator shelves and drawers. Wash them down, being careful with glass shelves. Wipe down the entire inside of the refrigerator and freezer before replacing shelves and food. Wipe down and clean out the oven according to the directions on the oven cleaner.

    Clean a Refrigerator
    Remove Refrigerator Odors
    Use Baking Soda in the Refrigerator

  8. Take the knobs, burners, burner covers, and spill catchers off of the stove.

    Follow your stove/oven owner's manual for information on proper cleaning methods for your model. (The one you carefully filed, when you bought the stove, just for an occasion like this.) Some stovetops lift up to allow easy access to spills and crumbs. Wipe down the entire stove.

    Clean a Cooktop
    Clean Gas Burners
    Clean Electric Burners

  9. Wipe down and clean the toaster, blender, and other small appliances.

    Wipe down and clean the microwave. If the spills in the microwave are fossilized, try bring a water-filled glass cup to boiling in the microwave. The steam should help loosen the gunk. If the microwave smells, boil lemon juice. Unplug all appliances first. Don't forget the turntable.

    Basic Appliance Cleaning
    Video: Microwave Cleaning

  10. Clean out kitchen cabinets.

    Line the cabinets if needed. Remove mismatched lids and bowls. Take out anything that isn't being used on a regular basis. Reorganize and wash down the inside and outside of cabinets.

    Clean Kitchen Cabinets

  11. Run the dishwasher empty.

    Try adding vinegar or baking soda to the empty dishwasher before running it. If your dishwasher has a food trap in the bottom, clean it out. Wash down the outside of the dishwasher.

    Dishwasher Mistakes
    Baking Soda in the Dishwasher

  12. Wash down the countertops in your kitchen.

    Don't forget back splashes. Check here for ideas on cleaning different countertop surfaces.

  13. Wipe down and clean out any drawers.

    Organize your flatware. This is a great time to install drawer dividers to better organize your kitchen drawers.

  14. Wash down the sink. If you have a garbage disposal now is the time to pour baking soda with warm water and/or a lemon peel down the disposal to freshen the drain. Put ice cubes through the disposal to sharpen the blades.

    Use Baking Soda in the Drain

  15. Sweep and mop the floors.

    Don't forget baseboards. One of the best ways to get a floor REALLY clean is to use a rag or towel while on your hands and knees.

    Sweep a Floor
    Mop a Floor

Tips:

  1. Gather all of your supplies together first thing. Trying to sort through the pantry cabinet for your oven cleaner might make you frustrated enough to declutter the cabinet. It's easy to forget what your initial goal was.
  2. Reward yourself by ordering in for dinner tonight. Forbid anyone to touch your spotless kitchen at least until breakfast the next morning. Any longer is probably cruel, but they can handle it overnight.
  3. Listen to music, an audio book, or a foreign language tape. The time will pass a lot more quickly if you have an enjoyable atmosphere. This is a great time to commandeer the stereo for what you want to listen to. If anyone objects, offer to let them have a turn with the stereo and the cleaning.

What You Need

  • Dust mop (preferably with a long handle)
  • Step-ladder
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Small bucket with handle
  • Sponges
  • Vacuum with attachment
  • All-purpose cleanser, dishsoap, or mild cleanser of choice
  • Oven Cleaner
  • Shelf or cabinet liner and drawer dividers
  • Broom and mop or towel
Related Video
How to Clean an Oven

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