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Spring is definitely on its way! You can smell it in the air, can’t you?
Despite a roller coaster of temperatures and countless forms of precipitation these past few weeks, the excitement can’t be stopped!
Thoughts of spring crocuses, new seedlings, wicker porch furniture, and even thorough home spring-cleanings begin to take center stage in your mind.
And don’t forget the kitchen…
Here are some tips to get your kitchen ready for springtime, and all that comes with the warmer seasons: lighter and fresher meals, fun cocktail hours, and plenty of outdoor dining.
Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips
Take the Time to Prepare
Make sure you are wearing appropriate shoes, and clothes you don’t mind dirtying.
And give yourself a quick pep talk before beginning – get ready for a fun kitchen workout that may take the next few hours to complete! You can also review our helpful tips to get the job done faster, if you consider yourself to be a lazy cleaner.
Try to empty the kitchen as much as possible:
Remove the trash can and fill it with a disinfecting solution outside.
If possible, move any kitchen islands or shelving units out to the foyer or living room, and get the kitchen table and chairs out of the way.
Remove any window curtains and raise the blinds.
Use the kitchen table, or another large flat surface, as the designated space to temporarily place all of your food, dishware, glassware, and appliances when you work from section to section in your kitchen.
Shuffle away any pets or children, and set them up to stay entertained in another room.
The entire kitchen area is now your personal construction zone, and is off-limits to anyone except you or anyone else in the family who has – happily with no groans and complaints whatsoever – volunteered to help you.
Transfer any rugs to the laundry room area to be washed later, set them aside to vacuum, or make note to drop them off at the cleaner’s if they’re too large.
Collect all of your preferred cleaning supplies and materials – towels, gloves, sponges, vacuum, broom, dust pan, trash bags, etc.
If you don’t like to use any chemical solutions, read over our suggestions regarding the natural cleaning power of lemon.
Section and Clean from Top to Bottom
A smart strategy for kitchen cleaning is to divide your kitchen into distinct sections, and work on each section from top to bottom one at a time.
In each section, start with the highest point, and work your way down. That way, any debris and dirt that falls while you’re cleaning will land on a spot that you have not gone over yet.
The floor will be the absolute final step – don’t even think about how much of a mess you’ll be making under your feet as you are cleaning everything else!
For a clear starting point, conquer the kitchen ceiling and top of your cabinets and appliances first. Though you may be supremely disinterested in these areas, and maybe have avoided them for years, this is where you should begin.
Use a handheld vacuum cleaner, long duster, or vacuum attachment to get rid of all the dust, cobwebs, and other weird stuff that has ended up on top of all your cabinets, refrigerator, ceiling, and any light fixtures.
Even with the daily use of a hood above the oven, which helps to capture, filter, and vent some grease and steam, you’ll still have some greasy buildup near your stove and oven area.
Using your favorite grease-cutting products, scrub and wash your ceiling, light fixtures, and any ceiling or exhaust fans. Move on to the tops of cabinets, the top of your refrigerator, and the top of your hood.
Now, you get to repeat this process with all of the exterior doors of your cabinets, reminding yourself of the top-to-bottom tactic by starting with the above-counter cabinet doors first.
Don’t get started on the below-counter cabinets until all of the elevated cabinet doors are completely finished.
If you’re not sure how to handle your specific cabinet material, study our ultimate guide to cleaning kitchen cabinets and cupboards. All of this information will help you move forward with your spring cleaning.
Remember the Inside of Your Cabinets
Let’s go a little deeper into your cabinets…
Just because they are safely tucked away behind a door, you should not think that the inside of your cabinets, drawers, and cupboards don’t need any attention!
Dust and debris will still build up on the shelves throughout the year – so don’t neglect the inside of your storage areas.
Beginning with the cabinets that hold dishes, cups, and glassware, carefully remove each item and place it in the designated spot you selected before you started this process.
Vacuum each shelf, and then wipe down the inside shelving of the cabinets with a non-toxic multipurpose cleaner.
Don’t forget to also focus on the inside of your cabinet doors, as well.
Remove any old shelving paper and replace it. Instead of paper, I recommend that you try Easy Liner’s Smooth Top protective liner, available on Wayfair. You can cut it to the shape you need, and it protects breakable items from cracks and chips. It’s also easy to wipe, and is machine washable.
Easy Liner’s Smooth Top protective liner, available on Wayfair
Continue moving forward with this process with all of your other drawers and cupboards.
Don’t skimp on cleaning out the dark corners of those under-counter cabinets. Who knows what could be lurking back there! We’re not taking any chances here.
It’s entirely up to you if you want to reorganize the chaos that is your kitchen junk drawer now, or save that for a rainy day. There’s still a lot to do, so we won’t be upset if you ignore that particular storage area – at least for now…
Just make a mental note!
And if you haven’t done so already, you can finally replace your Christmas plateware and glassware with all of your spring-themed items, and pack away the cool-season stuff for storage.
We get it, we get it – you’ve been very busy!
Check Food Quality of Pantry Items
Moving on to the pantry cabinets and cupboards that hold food items, remove all the boxes, cans, and canisters of food.
This is the best opportunity for you to check expiration dates and reorganize your items based on these dates and the type of food.
Dispose of any food in open boxes that have not been used in recent memory, and consider labeling each box with the date you first opened it moving forward.
For any other canned goods and items that no one in the household recalls purchasing – much less ever eating – throw those away, as well.
Please don’t save any questionable items to donate to local food banks – if you’re not interested in dining on something slightly past its date or potentially disgusting, why would they be?
Remove any old paper liners, vacuum or wipe down the shelves, use a multipurpose cleaner, and cut and assemble new shelf liners. Then store all of the food according to type, with labels facing forward so you can see what you have, and items with less time before they expire closer to the front of the pantry.
Ah, so much better!
Dry Erase Magnetic White Board with Rustic Wooden Frame, available on Amazon
You can also purchase a brand new markerboard to keep next to your pantry area, so you can keep a rotating list of what you have stored. This 24-by-36-inch magnetic dry erase board with a rustic wooden frame is a pretty and practical choice to mount on your wall, and it’s available on Amazon.
It will be easier to replace any necessary food items when you have a well-organized inventory and clear list of what your home pantry actually holds.
Spring ahead with impeccable organization!
Tackle Your Appliances
The type of appliances you own will determine your cleaning strategy.
Please carefully follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe cleaning with each appliance.
You can start from big to small, or small to big – this is your personal battle to fight with the personalized army of appliances you are up against in your own home kitchen!
We provide our recommendations for working with a variety of appliances in both articles, so be sure to consult each of these when you are planning your day for spring cleaning.
While we won’t go into all the details here, we just want to remind you now that the top-to-bottom strategy of cleaning also applies to appliances.
Clean every appliance you own starting from the top and working your way down so you won’t have to do any excessive wiping. It’s all about quick efficiency!
And make sure you plan your cleaning day before your next large grocery store visit – it’s easier to clean and reorganize your refrigerator when it’s on the emptier side.
Once you have finished working on your smaller appliances, don’t put them back on the dirty countertops!
Clean the backsplash area with whatever solution is appropriate in your household, and clean and dry all of your empty countertops thoroughly before you place your appliances back in their spots.
Save the Floor and Windows for Last
The time has finally come to clean the floor, and you might as well add the windows into this last step!
First, start by sweeping or vacuuming the kitchen floor and molding to remove any dry dirt and debris.
Then, scrub, rinse, and/or wax the floor.
Be sure to clean in the appropriate manner that is safe for the material of your kitchen floor, whether it’s vinyl, tile, wood, or something else.
Spray and wipe your kitchen windows to let in all that gorgeous light with no icky smudges, and hang the curtains back up if you removed, washed, and dried them.
Perfect with Finishing Touches
Once you return everything you set aside in the other room, take a step back and behold all the work you put into cleaning your beautiful kitchen:
The ceiling is gorgeous, the appliances are flawless, the cabinets are organized, and the floor is sparkling – you might be half-tempted to eat off of it for your next meal!
You can now add a few finishing touches as the cherry on top of a successful day of scrubbing, sweeping, wiping, and washing.
Consider sweetening the air with some natural homemade air fresheners, or arrange a lovely bouquet with freshly picked spring flowers. You can find a list of the best early-blooming spring flowers on our sister site, Gardener’s Path.
Once your kitchen is spic and span, it takes a minimal amount of effort to keep it that way, as long as you spend just a little bit of time each day or once a week working on one section at a time.
And next spring, you won’t be as overwhelmed!
Let us know if there are any tips we missed here in the comments below, or if you have your own special strategies to share.
If you’re looking for more help in the kitchen beyond spring cleaning tips, let us guide you in the right direction for all of your cooking, baking, and prepping needs. Improve your culinary skills by studying more of our articles and applying what you’ve learned at home, starting with these:
- Start Cooking at Home with These 3 Simple Steps
- 30 Time-Saving Kitchen Hacks
- 21 Common Cooking Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on March 21, 2014. Last updated on March 22, 2023. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.