Welcome to the Clean your Kitchen Challenge!
If you are like most people, you clean your kitchen regularly. Counters get a wipe down several times per day, cabinets washed when needed, the sink is sanitized after dishes and the floors are swept and mopped as needed. But what about the areas you don’t see as much?
Have a super clean kitchen in 20 minutes per day for 15 days! I bet you’ve never even thought to clean the item on day #10!
I’m talking about under the appliances, the way back of the freezer or even the garbage disposal. Yes, you are supposed to be cleaning those things! And cleaning them with some regularity will actually leave the other, more visible areas, of your kitchen cleaner as well.
I challenge YOU to take my Cleaner Kitchen Challenge. In about 15-20 minutes per day over the course of 15 days, you will have a sparkling, cleaner-than-you-can-imagine kitchen. You can download the handy dandy printable checklist by joining our email list HERE!
Can you do it all in one day, certainly, but who has that kind of time? I need something I can do in pieces that won’t take up all of naptime.
Print it out and attach it to the inside of a cabinet, the refrigerator or any other place you will see it as a reminder to do your simple chore for the day. Also PIN this page so you can find it easily to reference the details.
DAY 1- Kitchen Sink
I am sure you wipe out your sink after doing dishes, but you should also be sanitizing it, replacing kitchen sponges AND cleaning the garbage disposal.
- Clean or replace kitchen sponges. Sponges should be replaced every two weeks. Between replacements, you can clean them by running them through the dishwasher, soaking them with a splash of bleach in a tub of water or microwaving wet for 2 minutes (and watching closely). All three will kill some, but not all bacteria. The same applies to any kitchen brushes too.
- Clean the garbage disposal by pouring 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then slowly trickle 1/2 cup white vinegar. Allow it to sit before rinsing. Between vinegar baths, use lemon wedges or peels to clean and freshen. Lastly, you can purchase garbage disposal bead
- Finally, disinfect the actual sink using a bleach or disinfectant cleaner. Get in the nooks and crannies by using a cheap toothbrush. Remember to wear gloves so you don’t damage your skin.
DAY 2- Clean out spices
Did you know that your spices expire? While most aren’t carrying food borne bacteria or illness, they are muted in flavor and won’t be adding much pizzaz to recipes. Here are some tips and general rules about spices:
- Open each container and give them a good whiff, if you can smell the herb or spice, then it is still in the “good” range.
- If it is a little lackluster, next time you use it, rub it together between your palms to release natural oils and maximize the flavors.
- You will get the most flavor out of freshly ground spices.
- Pre ground spices are hold the most flavor in the first 6 months of purchase.
- Whole spices will hold their flavor for a year or more.
- Buy the small containers so you don’t end up having to throw out unused spices and can rotate them more frequently.
- Many brands have an expiration date on the container, but if not, use a label maker and smack the date you opened the bottle on the top of the lid.
- Discard any bland or outdated spices.
DAY 3- Mise en Place
This is French for “everything in its place”. This can mean doing meal prep like doing all your chopping, grating and locating of pots and pans before starting the cooking. Also, fully reading the recipe, something I am totally guilty of. Or simply placing your most used items in easy to reach places.
Many home kitchens aren’t set up for easy maneuvering. By thoughtfully placing key items, you’ll save time in the long run. Here are a few key elements for organizing your home kitchen.
- Place your most used seasonings and spices near the stove top or range. Kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and a few key herbs are generally on the list.
- Always have a kitchen towel handy.
- Place oven mitts in a drawer near the oven.
- Use a large container to store frequently used kitchen utensils like spatulas, spoons and ladles near the stovetop.
- Place and store kitchen knives near the workspace you most frequently use for prep work.
- Place most of your items including mixing bowls, small appliances and other frequently used items within the “kitchen triangle”. Draw a line between the refrigerator, stove and sink to form a triangle, place your most frequently used items in the storage within this area.
- Store water glasses near where you get water. For some this is the fridge, for others the sink.
DAY 4- Clean Dishwasher Trap
Wait? My dishwasher has a trap I am supposed to clean? Let me tell you how many times I’ve heard this!! And yes, your dishwasher has a trap. Where do you think all those food particles go?
- Each dishwasher model is different, so you’ll need to look up directions for yours online.
- After cleaning the trap, wipe down any areas of the dishwasher that appear to have accumulated grime. On mine, it seems to be on the upper door.
- Then sprinkle 1/2 cup baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and place a bowl, sitting upright, with 1 cup vinegar on the top rack. Run the dishwasher on highest heat or “sanitize” cycle with no dishes. If you have a heated dry function, also use that.
DAY 5- Organize Plasticware Storage
How many times have you just thrown a piece of plasticware in the designated drawer or cabinet? How many times do you get annoyed when you can’t find the coordinating lid or bottom?
End that all right now by taking a few moments to pull it all out and go through these steps.
- Pull out ALL of your plasticware.
- Match each pieces with a lid.
- Anything missing a lid or showing signs of being on the fritz, gets tossed immediately.
- Next, store all of your lids in the largest plasticware container.
- Lastly, nest similarly shaped or sized plastic ware in one another.
DAY 6- Trash Cans
Yes, I know you take out the trash, but how often do you clean the actual trash can? Take any trash receptacles outside and hose off the inside and outside. Either rinse with a bleach-water mixture or spray with Lysol. Allow to dry completely before taking it back in and lining with a new trash bag.
DAY 7- Under Appliances
Much like the dishwasher, things might get a little nasty. You don’t realize how much gunk finds its way under your appliances. If you can move them easily, pull them out and vacuum and mop under each.
If not, most vacuums have a handy attachment that it slender and slides right under.
Under appliances also pertains to on counter appliances. Turn your toaster over and shake out all those crumbs. Move it from its spot on the counter and wipe down the counters. Same goes for the coffee maker, stand mixer and any other small machines that live on your counter.
DAY 8- Backsplashes & Cookbooks
Backsplashes and cookbooks don’t really have much to do with each other, but both are such small tasks that I lumped them together.
Wipe down backsplash, if you have tile and grout, clean grout well and consider resealing it.
Go through your cookbooks and get rid of any you have never used. Donate them or give them to a friend. I am a terrible cookbook hoarder, so I feel your pain, but sometimes you need to downsize.
DAY 9- Clean Inside of Appliances
Cleaning the inside of appliances includes the oven, microwave, coffee machine and anything else you have.
- To clean your oven use the self-cleaning cycle or some sort of oven degreaser. Wipe down as needed or use a BRILLO pad.
- To clean the microwave, place a bowl of equal parts water and vinegar in the microwave. Heat for 2-3 minutes or until water starts to boil. Remove bowl and wipe down the interior with soapy water.
- For your coffee maker, either single serving or traditional, take off all removable parts and soak them in soapy water. Wipe down the outside. Next, place an equal parts water and vinegar solution in the water bay. Run the machine until all water has run through then repeat with clean water. If you use a single serve machine, also change the water filter. It should be changed monthly, at the very least.
DAY 10- Clean Refrigerator Coils
Did you know that cleaning your fridge coils might actually help reduce your electric bill? Most people never clean the coils! Here is how you do it:
- Unplug the refrigerator.
- Remove the grille that is over the coils.
- Using a soft bristle brush, remove all the dirt and grime on the coils. Vacuum well. You can even get a refrigerator coil cleaning brush
- Replace all the pieces and plug the fridge back in.
DAY 11- Cooking Utensils, Gadgets and Clean Drawers
This is the time to go through your “everything” drawer. Remove it all and get rid of that crazy tool someone put in your Christmas stocking last year and you’ll never use.
While everything is out of the drawer, vacuum and wipe it out before you return the items back. Repeat with all the drawers.
DAY 12- Wipe Down Cabinets
Lightly soap a bucket of water and wipe down the inside and outside of all your cabinets. Grab a stepstool and get those tall ones too!
If you have time, take all the junk out and do a deep clean, but if not, wiping is still better than nothing.
DAY 13- Defrost and Empty the Freezer
Did you know that most refrigerators have a recommendation to totally defrost the freezer twice per year? Yea, I don’t know anyone who does this… but you do now. It’s YOU!
- Transfer all your frozen foods to a cooler with ice packs. You’ll have the stuff out for a short time, but even being at room temperture for short time can threaten food.
- Empty it all out, turn off the cooling component and wipe down the inside with a vinegar and water solution or bleach. Wipe dry and allow to air dry for a few minutes before turning the cooling competent back on and replacing food.
- This is also a good time to do the same with your refrigerator. Remove all food and wipe down interior. Check condiments for expiration dates and dispose of anything that needs to go.
DAY 14- Dust and Polish Light Fixtures
Get out that duster and give them light fixture a good cleaning!
Place a bed sheet below any light fixtures you plan to clean. Turn off lights and turn off breaker to the electricity in the kitchen. Electricity and water don’t mix!
You can either dust them using a Swifter or duster or you can use a soft cloth and a vinegar and water solution to wipe them down.
DAY 15- Clean the Vent Above Stove
This thing gets nasty and won’t work as effectively if it isn’t clean. Take vent covers off and soak in soapy hot water. A grease fighting dish cleaner or an oven cleaner like Easy Off, work best to remove the grime. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before attempting to scrub. Rinse and replace!