A kitchen cleaning checklist is a great way to make sure you keep on top of all the jobs. That way you can avoid the risk of clutter and grime building up into a much bigger problem down the line.
Keeping your kitchen clean isn’t just about appearances. It helps to avoid food contamination, insect infestations and food poisoning. Cleaning might not be your favourite thing to do, but we guarantee that it’s a lot more fun than hugging the toilet...
You can also use your schedule as a rota, by adding the name of a family member or housemate next to each chore.
Creating a kitchen cleaning checklist and schedule
We’ve split our schedule into daily, weekly, monthly and twice yearly tasks. Just tweak it to suit your own lifestyle. If you live on your own, some jobs might not need doing quite as often. If you have a large family, you might find that you need to do some tasks more frequently (particularly if you have a toddler with a penchant for emptying packets all over the floor).
Kitchen cleaning checklist: daily
A few minutes of cleaning each day can save you hours at the weekend.
When buying dishwasher tablets, which of these is most important to you?
Tidy everything away. The kitchen table can easily turn into a dumping ground for junk mail, Lego models, homework and a tonne of other things you don’t want to look at while you’re eating.
Clean as you cook. Tidying as you go along will save you time after dinner.
Wipe spills from work surfaces, floors and appliances as soon as they happen.
Wash the dishes or run the dishwasher. Fed up of playing dishwasher Tetris or finding leftover bits of food stuck to plates? Check out our guide to loading a dishwasher.
Spray all work surfaces with kitchen cleaner and wipe down.
Do the same with your chopping board.
Give the floor a quick sweep. Short on time? Just use a dustpan and brush to pick up any bits around the cupboards.
Kitchen cleaning checklist: weekly
It might look like there’s a lot to do each week, but most tasks only take a few minutes. To make it less of a chore, you could split the tasks over the week.
It’s time to check what’s in the fridge; you never know what might be festering right at the back. Throw away any spoiled or out-of-date food items.
Hopefully, you’re wiping the surfaces down every day, but now’s the time to lift up small appliances, utensil pots and so on, to get rid of any crumbs or dirt that have collected underneath.
And while you’re at it, wipe down those small appliances (such as the toaster and kettle) with a kitchen cleaner like Cif Power and Shine. As well as removing smudges, fingerprints and splashes, this will help to keep them hygienic.
Give your chopping board a good scrub with hot water and washing up liquid in the sink. Make sure you clean the base and sides as well as the top.
Scour the stovetop to clean up any burnt bits that you missed in your daily clean.
Clean and disinfect your sink, draining board and dish draining rack.
Empty the rubbish, food and recycling bins at least once a week, even if they’re not full, to stop them from smelling.
Spray your bins with an anti-bacterial cleaner inside and out, and wipe it off. Dry them before popping in new bin liners.
Sweep and mop your kitchen floors.
Throw out any disposable cleaning sponges and cloths, and replace with clean ones. Or wash them if they’re reusable.
Replace tea towels with clean ones.
Kitchen deep cleaning checklist: monthly
If you follow the above checklists, you shouldn’t need to then spend hours scrubbing stains. Nevertheless, a monthly kitchen deep clean is still a good idea, as bits always get missed, particularly when they’re usually hidden from view.
Clean the dishwasher. Scrub inside and out, and run a cycle while it’s empty. Add a dishwasher cleaning tablet or a couple of tablespoons of citric acid to help tackle limescale build-up.
Check what’s in your freezer. Throw away any items that are past their use-by date, and take note of frozen food that needs to be eaten soon.
Clean out the fridge. Take everything out so that you can wipe down the shelves and drawers with a mild antibacterial spray. Ideally, do this the morning before you go food shopping as there’ll be fewer items to deal with.
Deep clean the oven. Take all the racks out and give them a good clean in the sink. Scrub the inside of the oven with a specialist cleaning product. (You may want to invest in an oven liner to make this job easier next time.)
Descale your kettle (you might need to do this more often if you live in a hard-water area.)
Have a good look around for things that you might miss in your day-to-day cleans, such as a soap dish or the rack you keep your sponges in, and give them a good clean.
If you’ve let the cleaning slip a bit (it happens to all of us at times), you might need to use a bit more elbow grease to tackle older grime. There are some great tips on cleaning challenging grease build-ups here.
Kitchen deep cleaning checklist: Twice yearly
A kitchen deep clean is as much about organisation as it is about cleaning. Getting rid of clutter and making sure there’s a place for everything will make your daily and weekly kitchen cleaning schedule much easier.
Remove everything from your food cupboards (you might want to tackle one cupboard a day) and clean inside them. Throw away any stale items. If you have unopened, in date food that you haven’t eaten in the last six months, pop it in a box to give to your local food bank. Place everything else back neatly.
Have a think about how you could organise your kitchen better. Something as simple as making sure the condiments you use most are within easy reach can save you time and hassle.
Clean the tops of your cupboards and fridge (you might need a step-ladder for this).
Do the same for your pan and crockery cupboards. If you’re struggling for space, consider moving items you hardly use to the tops of your cupboards, or the cupboard under the stairs. If you haven’t used something for a year, it might be time to donate it to charity.
Tidy the drawers. Throw away or donate any unneeded or broken items. Wipe inside the drawers and wash the cutlery tray before you put everything back.
Defrost and clean your freezer.
If possible (please don’t hurt your back trying this!), move large appliances so that you can sweep and mop underneath. It’s amazing how much debris can collect under a dishwasher.
Kitchen deep cleaning: Your questions answered
What is the fastest way to clean a dirty kitchen?
If you’re expecting guests and the kitchen looks an absolute tip, focus on the areas on show.
Start by stacking the dishwasher. If needs be, everything can stay in there until your guests have gone.
Wash any crockery and other dirty items that can’t be put through the dishwasher.
Clear the table and work surfaces of anything that doesn’t belong there.
Empty the bins if they’re starting to smell.
Wipe down the work surfaces, appliances and cabinet doors. Use a lemon-scented cleaning product as it’ll help to make your kitchen smell fresh.
Replace the tea towels.
Put anything away that you’d left to drip dry.
How do I deep clean my kitchen?
If you’re pretty good at keeping it clean and tidy, just follow the steps in our monthly and twice yearly kitchen cleaning checklists above. If, however, everything has got a bit on top of you, then a fair few of the earlier tasks will also need your attention.
Focus on organising first and then cleaning. There’s no point wiping down cupboards and putting everything back in them if you don’t need half the stuff.
You might want to dedicate a full day to your deep clean, or set aside chunks of time every day for a week or so.
How can I save time on kitchen cleaning?
It definitely helps to be organised. For example, empty the dishwasher before you start cooking so that you can load it as you cook. If you wash up by hand, fill your bowl with hot soapy water and put dirty baking trays and saucepans straight in so that the food doesn’t have time to dry.
Made the perfect pesto sauce but don’t fancy scraping the leftover pine kernels off your blender? Pour a cup of water in the blender and add a couple of drops of washing up liquid. Pop the lid back on and switch the blender on for a few seconds. Then just tip the mess away and rinse it clean.
If you’re upgrading your kitchen, look for cabinets and appliances that are easier to clean. A self-cleaning oven can save you a lot of elbow grease!
Slowing down can also save you time in the long-run. Most of us have a tendency to rush cooking sometimes (particularly when family members are moaning about how absolutely starving hungry they are). But rushing around means it’s more likely you’ll splash soup on the hob, drop food on the floor or spill that glass of wine (which really would be a catastrophe). So take a deep breath, shut the kitchen door, turn up the radio and take your time.
What if I really, really hate cleaning?
We get it. But keeping on top of things could stop you getting a nasty case of food poisoning. Our advice? Find a podcast you really enjoy to take your mind off the cleaning. If you can’t face the mess just yet, watch this video for a few more tips on keeping your kitchen germ-free.