The sun is shining, the flowers are starting to bloom, and everyone’s mind turns to one thing—spring cleaning! While it might not be the most glamorous of annual tasks, there’s nothing better than saying goodbye to the long winter season by giving the most used areas of your home a makeover.
As the “heart of the home”, the kitchen is an ideal place to start when the spring cleaning itch arrives, and we’ve put together this go-to guide to help you break down this project into manageable tasks.
What to Toss During Kitchen Spring Cleaning
The kitchen needs to be functional, and when clutter, expired food, and mysterious mismatched Tupperware start clogging up the space it can lead to a lot of frustration for the whole family. Spring cleaning is the perfect time to toss what you no longer need in your kitchen and start with a fresh, clean slate.
As you go through your kitchen on a mission to clear the clutter, make space by getting rid of the following:
- Expired food or open food items that are old, rancid, or stale
- Freezer-burned food or items with built-up with ice crystals
- Tupperware and storage items that don’t have a matching lid
- Pots and pans that are unused, broken, or have a coating that is flaking
- Spices and seasonings more than 18 months old
- Paper, school work, and mail piled on your countertops
If you come across food in your pantry that is close to its expiration date and you know that you won’t be able to use it, consider donating it to a food pantry! You can also donate unwanted dishes, silverware, and small appliances to make room in your kitchen while helping out a family that is in need.
Pro Cleaning Tips for a Sparkling Kitchen
Tossing, recycling, and donating items from the obvious areas of your kitchen is a good first step for a spring deep cleaning. However, that’s only half the battle! The appliances, cupboards, and countertops in your kitchen all require regular maintenance and cleaning to look great and function well, and knowing when and how to clean these kitchen features is important for getting the most out of your spring clean.
Appliances like the dishwasher, refrigerator, and oven are all essential components of your kitchen—as well as the most used! So regular cleaning is necessary to maintain a clean and healthy space for your family to gather, prep food, and eat a delicious home-cooked meal. However, don’t forget to give your walls, counters, windows, and flooring the attention they need to keep functioning and looking their best too.
Everyone has had a moment where they look in the fridge and are appalled at the mess left behind by leftovers, careless spills, and the build-up of everyday grime. Spring cleaning is a great time to scrub down your fridge from top to bottom, but you need a plan in place to ensure you’re not getting in over your head!
When cleaning your refrigerator, follow these simple steps:
- Toss all leftovers, expired food or condiments, and produce that is going bad
- Place all the food that you’re keeping into ice-filled coolers to protect them while you clean
- Remove shelves and drawers
- Scrub down the interior of the fridge, shelves, and drawers with a baking soda and water solution
- Wipe down the fridge and replace the food (this is a great time to organize everything too!)
It’s recommended to clean the refrigerator seasonally to stay on-top of germs and mess, but if that’s not feasible, aim for doing a thorough fridge clean-out at least twice per year.
The dishwasher has one job—cleaning dishes. So, do you really need to give it any additional scrubbing than what it gets on a daily basis? Absolutely! The dishwasher is not a self-cleaning appliance, like many homeowners assume, and neglecting regular maintenance can lead to unpleasant odors, lime scale and soap scum build-up, and rotting food particles hanging out in the bottom of your dishwasher.
Ideally, you should give your dishwasher a good scrub-down every four to six weeks, and your spring cleaning is a great time to start. Begin by emptying debris out of your dishwasher’s filter and wiping down the inside with a dry sponge. The racks can be removed for washing, and running a cycle with white vinegar or baking soda is a great way to deodorize while removing hard water stains.
Just avoid using any hand soap or dish detergent in your dishwasher! This can damage the components, void your warranty, and make a much bigger mess than you intended.
Stovetop and Oven
Your kitchen range and oven are often used on a daily basis, which means that build-up of food and grime can quickly become an issue. Spring cleaning is a great time to scrub out all of the nooks and crannies of your oven, but regular deep cleaning is also necessary throughout the year when you start noticing that it’s looking a little worse for wear.
When cleaning your oven and stovetop, you’re going to want to do the following:
- Remove the racks and (if applicable) stovetop burners
- Soak the racks and/or burners in hot soapy water before wiping clean
- Vacuum out crumbs and wipe down the oven interior
There are many different types of cleaner that can be used for deep oven cleaning. While a commercial chemical cleaner generally has the best results, more natural cleaners are less hazardous. Check the owner’s manual for your oven and stovetop for more detailed recommendations of what can be used for your model.
Dirty countertops can make your kitchen an unpleasant place, and daily spot cleaning should be done to clean up spills and prevent the spread of germs—especially when spring allergies are in full swing!
However, you can’t just dive into a more thorough cleaning of your countertops before doing a bit of research. Different counter material has different needs:
- Marble: Avoid any contact with acidic products or cleaners, as they can cause severe etching. Marble counters should be sealed once a month to protect it from stains and further damage.
- Granite: Lower-maintenance than marble, granite counters only need to be sealed every couple of years. Acidic products should still be avoided, and daily cleaning with granite-specific products are recommended.
- Wood: Stains can quickly penetrate butcher block or wood counters, and they need to be wiped down after every use. Only food-safe commercial cleaners can be used on this type of counter, and undiluted vinegar is best for cleaning.
Cabinets and pantries are great for hiding a mess, but messy storage areas can wreak havoc on the efficiency and enjoyment of your kitchen! Having an organized, clean pantry is essential in any home, and a good wipe-down of its surfaces is needed throughout the year.
Changing seasons also means a shift in the type of food your family will be eating, so spring is the perfect time to clear the pantry and make more room for fresh, healthy ingredients! If food is expired, toss it, and if you don’t want the food you find on the back shelves, donate it to a local food pantry.
Walls, Windows, and Floors
Part of spring cleaning is taking advantage of the warm weather by getting your windows and kitchen interior ready for fresh breezes and sunlight. Giving all of your kitchen windows, walls, and flooring a scrub can go a long way in how clean the room feels, and each area requires unique attention:
- Walls: Vacuum down the walls to remove dust, and give them a good washing with warm, soapy water. Some stains may require harder scrubbing, but start in a small area to ensure it doesn’t damage the paint.
- Flooring: Laminate and tile flooring should be mopped with a gentle cleaner, and grout-specific cleaners are also available for tile. However, hardwood floors require special cleaners based upon the finish and type of wood used.
- Windows: Spring is the perfect time to clean your windows—inside and out. Wash both sides of the glass and clean out any debris within the screens to get the best view of the outdoors. It’s also a good time to check for any damage from winter’s freezing temperatures and ice!
Getting the Most out of Your Kitchen Spring Cleaning Project
Spring is a time for renewal, and there’s no better way to jump start the season than getting your home back to a fresh, clean state. While warm weather will bring your family outdoors more often, the kitchen is still used nearly every day, so it’s a great time of year to get to the deep cleaning you’ve been putting off since the holidays.
In order to get the most out of your spring cleaning project, start with a plan, break your to-do list, and make sure you accomplish one task before moving on. Seasonal scrubbing of appliances is good practice to extend their lifetime, but spring cleaning also gives you a clean slate to work from when keeping up with daily cleaning during the busy summer months to come.