Not a lot compares to the satisfaction of a spotless space that’s clean and clutter-free. But after a long winter, our homes can quickly fill up with unwanted mess and start to give off a lived-in look. And not in a stylish way.
In particular, the kitchen is a busy space that’s desperately in need of a big spring clean. But carrying out a big declutter and deep clean can seem like an overwhelming and time-consuming job.
That’s why we’ve pulled together a go-to guide to spring cleaning that’ll motivate you to give your kitchen the much-needed refresh it needs.
To help you clean and tidy like a pro, we spoke to Emma Lewis-Jones, Product Director at KitchenCraft, who has over a decade of experience in the kitchenware industry. Emma shares her expert knowledge on the best tools to help with deep cleaning and talks us through some top tips and tricks for helping your kitchen look its best.
- How to clean the kitchen: a step-by-step guide
- How to clean:
- 1. The oven
- 2. The dishwasher
- 3. The fridge
- 4. Small appliances
- 5. Wooden spoons
- 6. Knives
- 7. Pans
- 8. Baking trays
- Tips for cleaning the kitchen sustainably
- Kitchen cleaning checklist: tools and equipment you’ll need
- Frequently asked questions
How to clean the kitchen: A step-by-step guide
1. Start by decluttering
Before cleaning, go through your cabinets, drawers, fridge, and freezer, removing any expired food or items you don’t use. Donating things — as long as they are still in good condition — that you no longer need, like old cookbooks or that blender in the back of your cupboard that you’ve never used, is a great way to free up some space.
Emma says: “Decluttering your kitchen in preparation for cleaning makes the process more efficient. It creates more space and reduces distractions, helping you to focus on the task at hand — making your kitchen shine! Getting rid of unnecessary items means fewer things to clean, so you can be more thorough and get the job done quicker.” Work smarter, not harder, right?
“My advice is to concentrate on one cabinet at a time to make the task more manageable and prevent you from getting overwhelmed.”
Make piles of things that need to go in the bin, to the charity shop, and back in the cupboard. An easy and effective way to do this is to collect all your items in a basket or box as you come across them. Then, you can redistribute everything in the box in one go. This saves you from having to interrupt your cleaning pace to put things back.
“Once you’ve decluttered, you can then begin to organise everything you want to keep”, says Emma. “When things are in their place, you don't have to waste time moving items around or trying to clean around clutter. You'll also be able to find things easier when it comes to cooking.”
You can also use fridge storage containers — like the MasterClass Fresh Keeper — to extend the life of your fruit and veggies. The adjustable vent system allows air to circulate, keeping moisture from building up and causing odours.
Your next step is wiping your cupboard clean, so hold back on returning everything to its place for now.
3. Clean the kitchen cabinets
Emma says: “Once you’ve decluttered a cabinet and it’s empty, now’s the time to clean it. Start by removing dust and crumbs with a cloth or vacuum before wiping over with a damp cloth dipped in warm, soapy water. Then, dry with a microfibre cloth for a polished finish.”
Once your cabinet is clean and dry, you can pop all your stuff back in its place.
To ensure your hard work goes the extra mile, work from the top to the bottom of your kitchen. This is the key to efficient cleaning, as the dirt and dust will gradually get knocked down and vacuuming or mopping will catch it all.
Start with your door frames, cupboard tops, and oven hood before moving onto the inside of your cupboards, countertops, and then appliances. These will also be the biggest tasks, so get them out of the way first.
5. Clean kitchen surfaces
Once everything in your kitchen has been cleaned and put away, you’ll need to clean the surfaces. Spray a cleaning product evenly across the surface, and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping with a clean, damp cloth.
6. Hoover and mop the floor
You'll probably notice dust and crumbs on the floor after wiping the kitchen surfaces, so hovering is the last step to clear it all away. If any areas are hard to reach with a hoover, use a long-handled dustpan and brush to collect the dirt.
Then it's time for mopping. Fill the bucket with hot water and add a cleaning solution for your type of flooring. Dip the mop in the water and wring it out until it's damp but not dripping. Begin mopping in a back-and-forth motion, making sure to rinse frequently in the bucket to avoid the spread of dirt. Once you've finished, leave your floor to air dry.
How to clean:
1. The oven
Cleaning an oven can be a challenging task — especially if you’ve not done it in a while — but it’s an important part of maintaining a hygienic kitchen. So how can you clean an oven quickly and efficiently?
Follow these steps and you’ll have a sparkling-clean oven in no time!
Remove racks and other removable parts — Removing the racks from your oven before you begin cleaning means you’ll have easy access to the inside of the oven.
Remove loose dirt — Use a dry cloth to remove any food and dirt left at the bottom of your oven.
Spray the oven — Apply multi-purpose cleaning spray by spraying or rubbing with a sponge. Let it sit for a few minutes or hours, depending on how dirty your oven is.
Wipe down the oven — Using a damp cloth or sponge, wipe down the inside of the oven to remove the cleaning product and any grime. For stubborn spots, you can use a non-abrasive scrubbing pad or brush.
Dry the oven — Leave your oven to dry naturally, or wipe it over with a towel.
Clean the racks — Wash the racks and removable parts separately using the same product and a cleaning brush. Rinse them thoroughly and dry with a towel before returning them to the oven.
“If you have tough stains in your oven that you just can’t get rid of, try using a baking soda solution. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can help dissolve and lift dirt easily,” explains Emma.
“Simply mix half a cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water until it forms a thick paste. Then, spread on any problem areas in the oven and leave for a few hours or overnight for extra tough stains before rubbing clean with a damp sponge. Just ensure it’s all removed by wiping everything down.”
That means no more scrubbing and scratching the inside of your oven!
2. The dishwasher
Cleaning a dishwasher is vital to keep it working properly and ensure that your dishes come out clean. Most problems with unpleasant odours come from leftover food inside the dishwasher, and over time, this is the perfect environment for bacteria and mould to thrive.
Removing food daily and rinsing plates thoroughly before loading the dishwasher is the best way to prevent this. But if food has been building up for a while, or you just want a nice refresh, a deep clean is the way to go.
Emma suggests: “Natural alternatives, like cleaning with white vinegar, can actually wear down the rubber door seal on your dishwasher, resulting in leaks! The leftover residue in your dishwasher may also discolour metal dishes and utensils.”
“It’s best to clean your machine with a product specifically designed for dishwashers around every six months for a refresh.”
Cleaning the filter is also an important step when cleaning your dishwasher; over time, food particles and grease can clog it, increasing the risk of leaks. Just remove it from your machine and rinse it under hot water before soaking it for 10 to 15 minutes to loosen any stubborn dirt. You can use a sponge or cleaning brush to make sure it’s all off.
And don’t forget to wipe over the door once the interior is clean!
3. The fridge
Fridges can accumulate a surprising amount of dirt that’s hidden behind all your food. Once you’ve thrown out any expired food and taken everything out, it’s time to thoroughly clean the inside of your fridge.
Spray the shelves with a multipurpose spray before wiping them down with a cloth — don’t forget to get into the compartments in the door! Leave to dry completely before restocking.
Emma says: "If there's still an unpleasant smell in your fridge after cleaning, try cutting a lemon in half and placing both sides in a small bowl inside your fridge for a few hours. The lemon will help absorb any odour, leaving your fridge smelling fresh and clean!"
4. Small appliances
Start by unplugging them and wiping them down with a damp cloth to remove any loose dirt. For appliances that have removable parts like blender blades or a toaster crumb tray, take them out and wash them separately in warm soapy water. Be sure to dry all parts with a tea towel thoroughly before plugging your appliance back in or using it.
When it comes to cleaning the microwave, which can get dirty very quickly, regular maintenance is best. But we know this isn't always possible if you have a busy lifestyle.
Microwaves are also often a source of unpleasant smells and dirt. While the plate can usually be put in the dishwasher, stains on the inside of the microwave can be tackled with a steam clean.
If you've let your microwave get a bit grubby, Emma has a great tip to get it looking new again: "Fill a microwave-safe bowl with a cup of water and a tablespoon of lemon juice and place it in the microwave. Heat the solution on high for four to five minutes and let it sit with the door closed for a few minutes after. The steam combined with lemon water, which is a natural antibacterial cleaning agent, will loosen any remaining dirt and grease without needing any scrubbing. Then, all you need to do is use a clean cloth to wipe down the interior, including the door and control panel."
The lemon will also leave your microwave smelling beautifully fresh!
5. Wooden spoons
It's super important to give your wooden spoons a good deep clean every now and then. If you don't, little bits of food and bacteria can get stuck in all the little nooks and crannies in the wood.
Thankfully, Emma has a handy tip for cleaning your wooden spoons: "A traditional wooden spoon is a kitchen essential, but they do tend to hold onto grease and smells due to their porous surface — especially if you've had them for a long time! But putting your spoons in the dishwasher is a no-go; excessive heat and moisture in a long washing cycle can warp and crack the wood."
"Thankfully, soaking your spoons in boiling water is an excellent alternative to deep cleaning them, removing oils lurking inside the wood. The hot water will break the high bonds in solidified grease and oils, causing them to melt and flow off the spoon. It will also help to soften any stubborn food particles that are stuck on.
Simply boil the kettle and fill a cup before popping in your spoon and leaving it to soak for up to 20 minutes. Oil is less dense than water, so you should notice grease and oils floating at the top of your cup within minutes!"
You can even clean extra grubby spoons using lemon! "Add a squeeze of lemon juice and around one tablespoon of baking soda to your boiling water before soaking," explains Emma.
"Carbon dioxide is released when these ingredients are combined, causing a fizzing reaction that helps remove stubborn stains. After soaking for around 20 minutes, wash with warm, soapy water as usual. Not only will this make your spoons look brand new, but it will also keep them smelling fresh."
But once you've cleaned your spoons, restoring the protective oil that's been stripped away is super important. Emma explains how you can do this by reseasoning: "Once your spoon has air-dried, add a generous amount of mineral oil to a cloth and rub it over your spoon. Then pop it in the oven for two to three minutes at 180°C. This will add a protective layer, giving your spoons a new lease of life and helping them to last longer."
But take note: you should only do this when your spoon looks extra grubby – soaking too often could cause it to fray or crack.
"As long as you're not doing this excessively and ensuring you recondition after cleaning, soaking your wooden spoons in water is a simple hack to rejuvenate your tired-looking utensils," says Emma.
Knives can come into contact with harmful bacteria, especially when cutting raw meat. That's why cleaning them is so important.
"The high heat of the dishwasher can dull knife blades, so it's best to wash them by hand. Soaking for a long time in warm water can also have this effect, so use a cloth dipped in warm water and dish soap to carefully wipe the blade and handle," recommends Emma.
Once clean, wipe your knives with a kitchen towel and put them safely back in your knife holder.
To learn more about keeping your knives in top condition, read our guide to how to sharpen a knife.
Although high-quality, non-stick pans should withstand hot temperatures, taking your eye off the hob for a moment or forgetting to stir can result in a burnt mess at the bottom of your pan. It happens to the best of us!
Emma says: “Charred pans can be revived with a few simple steps without damaging them with harsh scrubbers or chemicals.”
“Washing up liquid should do the trick for mild food remains, but a dishwasher tablet is best for harder-to-remove areas. These tablets are packed with enzymes that break down protein and starch in food. To clean, all you need to do is pour enough boiling water into your pan to cover the bottom, and pop in a dishwasher tablet. Bring the water to a boil on the stove for around 10 minutes, before rinsing thoroughly and wiping with a cloth.”
This is a straightforward technique to clean burnt pans in no time, using something you probably already have in your kitchen!
If your pans are severely damaged and burnt food isn’t budging, it may be time for a new one. If that’s the case, read our guide for how to choose the perfect induction pan.
8. Baking trays
You can clean baking trays and tins in a similar way as a burnt frying pan. Soaking in warm soapy water works well for mild remains, and a dishwasher tablet is useful for removing pesky bits of burnt food.
Emma explains how to remove stains from a baking tray with a dishwater tablet: “Pop on some rubber gloves and dip the tablet into warm water so it soaks up a little water before scrubbing your tray with it in circular motions like you would a sponge,” says Emma. “Afterwards, you can add boiling water to the pan and let it soak for 10 minutes to lift stains. Then, all you need to do is rinse!”
Tips for cleaning the kitchen sustainably
By making small changes in your kitchen cleaning habits, you’re on the right track to living a more sustainable lifestyle. But what are some simple ways you can do this?
1. Opt for natural cleaning brushes
In contrast to synthetic cleaning brushes, which can take hundreds of years to break down, those made of bamboo or coconut husk are biodegradable and limit environmental harm. The perfect option if you're looking for ways to be more sustainable when cleaning your kitchen!
"Whether it's for pans or the inside of your oven, if you need to remove any remaining pesky burnt bits, opt for a coconut husk cleaning brush as these are made from natural fibres. Not only are they more sustainable, but they're also gentler, compared to synthetic ones, so are less likely to scratch your non-stick pans," says Emma.
2. Use natural cleaning products
Conventional cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can persist in the environment for years, polluting water and soil. Thankfully, there’s a solution: natural cleaning agents like lemon juice absorb back into the environment without causing harm.
Bottled cleaning solutions can’t always be avoided, but using natural ingredients when you can always helps!
Of course, they’re better for the environment but also for your purse — you probably already have lemons in your kitchen.
3. Avoid single-use plastics
We all know that single-use plastics harm the environment; plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose and can harm wildlife. Filling a glass spray bottle with your own eco-cleaning solution or refilling it with a dissolvable product could be the way to go.
Kitchen cleaning checklist: tools and equipment you’ll need
Holding yourself accountable to a scheduled day in your diary means you’ll have the opportunity to gather all the supplies you need for cleaning in advance.
Here are a few essentials that it’s worth having on hand to make the job much easier:
1. A vacuum cleaner
A good vacuum cleaner is essential for cleaning the kitchen because it will remove dirt and dust from any carpeted areas or skirting boards. Look for a vacuum with attachments for cleaning different surfaces and hard-to-reach spaces.
2. A duster
We all know our kitchens can get dusty after a while, especially on top of hard-to-reach kitchen cupboards. That's why a good quality duster is a must when spring cleaning.
Emma says: "A lambswool duster is a great choice, as this material makes light work of dusting without the need for harsh chemicals. Lambswool is also a natural material, making it ideal for anyone looking to be more sustainable."
3. A mop and bucket
A mop and bucket are useful for tackling cleaning hard floods like tile, laminate, and hardwood. A microfiber mop is a good choice because it’s gentle on floors and can be reused many times.
4. A dustpan and brush
“A long-handled dustpan and brush will make cleaning your floors a breeze, saving you from the backache that comes with traditional sets. Perfect for anyone who wants to make cleaning the kitchen a bit easier,” says Emma.
Not only is this useful for your big spring clean, but it’s also great for quickly cleaning up daily messes or spills.
5. Cleaning brushes
6. Cleaning cloths or sponges
Cloths — especially those made from microfibre — are great for various tasks, including dusting, wiping down surfaces, and cleaning windows and mirrors.
7. An antibacterial cleaning spray
“An antibacterial spray is important for killing germs and bacteria, especially in high-touch areas of the kitchen where food is prepared and cooked,” explains Emma. “For a sustainable option that cuts down on plastic, use a glass spray bottle that you can refill with your cleaning products.”
“You could also try making your own cleaning solution using equal parts white vinegar and water. Vinegar is a natural antibacterial agent; the acetic acid can help to kill bacteria and viruses.”
8. Rubber gloves
To protect your hands from harsh chemicals, rubber gloves are essential for cleaning. If the ones you already have are damaged, make sure to replace them before you plan to clean.
9. Glass cleaner
Glass cleaner is necessary for a streak-free finish on mirrors and windows.
Emma says: “A helpful tip is to use newspaper when cleaning windows, as when dampened with glass cleaner, some of the ink dissolves and mixes with it, creating a slightly soapy solution that can help break down dirt and grime on glass. Once the window is clean, use a fresh sheet of newspaper to buff the glass to a streak-free shine!”
10. A compost bin
A compost bin is a must-have for deep cleaning your kitchen and clearing out any expired foods in your fridge or cupboards.
Emma says: “By composting your scraps, you’re helping to reduce the amount of food waste going to landfills and create nutrient-rich soil that can be used to nourish outdoor spaces.”
“The Living Nostalgia Blue Compost Bin not only keeps odours at bay with its clever charcoal filter, but the vintage-inspired design also adds a touch of charm to any kitchen.”
11. Bin bags
You don’t want to run out of bin bags when you’re clearing out clutter, rubbish, and items you no longer need. Look for bags that are durable and tear-resistant.
Frequently asked questions
How often should you clean the kitchen?
“How often you need to clean your kitchen depends on various factors like how often you cook and how many people use your kitchen,” says Emma.
“You’ll want to wipe surfaces and clean the dishes daily after each use, but as a general rule, aim to do a deep clean every three months. That way, you’ll avoid any bacteria buildup and keep your kitchen looking great!”
How to clean the kitchen fast
Keeping your kitchen clean is essential for a hygienic living space, but sometimes it can feel like a never-ending chore.
Emma has some tips for speeding up the process: “The key to cleaning the kitchen fast is preparation,” says Emma.
“Having everything you need to hand before you start can help you move quickly from one task to the next without stopping and searching for items. Removing clutter from your kitchen surfaces will also provide a clear space to work efficiently, streamlining the cleaning process.” Your space will be looking tidier in less time!
“And once you’ve deep cleaned your kitchen and have everything organised, keeping on top of it should be easy.”
Can you clean the kitchen with white vinegar?
White vinegar is the perfect solution for a whole host of cleaning tasks, including burnt pans, baking trays, and drains.
Emma says: "Distilled white vinegar and baking soda have mild abrasive properties, so when combined, they work excellently for cleaning. Carbon dioxide is released, resulting in a fizzing reaction that helps loosen tough stains and burns."
"However, it's best to steer clear of using vinegar for certain cleaning tasks in the kitchen. This solution can react badly with kitchen surfaces, for example, if made from stone, granite, or waxed wood. The vinegar can eat away at these materials, making them susceptible to water damage. Although your surfaces may initially look sparkling new, they'll probably become dull and worn over time."
It's important to note that even if you think a surface or material is suitable for cleaning with white vinegar, it's always a good idea to patch test first to make sure.
Emma explains how to do this: "Add vinegar and warm water to a spray bottle in equal parts and shake or mix (you can always add a little more water to ensure the vinegar isn't too acidic and intense). Then add a little to a section of the area you want to clean and leave for a few minutes before wiping it away with a cloth. I recommend doing this in a hidden place, like the underside of your kitchen surface, just in case it reacts badly."
If there's no noticeable harm, you should be good to go, but always be cautious and use sparingly to prevent damage.
How can I stay motivated when cleaning?
Spring cleaning is a big task, so it's easy to lose motivation when you're a couple of hours into your scheduled clean.
Emma suggests creating a playlist to help you feel energised when cleaning: "Putting together a playlist of your favourite songs can really help you to stay focused on the task at hand. It can make cleaning feel less of a chore and more like a fun activity."
It's scientifically proven, too: music triggers a release of dopamine, a feel-good chemical, which can boost your mood and promote motivation. Who are we to argue with science?!
Putting the most difficult and time-consuming tasks at the start may also help.
"There might be jobs that you know you're going to want to put off, so do these at the start of your list and get them out of the way first," explains Emma. "If you don't want to do them now, you definitely won't want to do them halfway through your clean when your motivation starts to flag!"
Make your kitchen sparkle with CookServeEnjoy
It doesn’t have to be a big challenge to clean and refresh your space. Once you’ve gathered all the products you need and organised your cupboards, you’ll find cleaning the kitchen a breeze — especially when you’re into a routine!
Whether it’s scrubbers made from natural materials to clean your pans gently or microfibre cloths to tackle a range of tasks, having the correct tools can make deep cleaning the kitchen easier.