Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips

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Spring is definitely on its way! You can smell it in the air, can’t you?

Vertical image of a bright green bucket filled with various sponges, sprays, towels, and gloves on a wooden table, with text on the top and bottom.

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.

Take the Time to Prepare

Make sure you are wearing appropriate shoes, and clothes you don’t mind dirtying.

Vertical image of a woman wearing a green apron and yellow gloves holding a large plastic bucket filled with supplies.

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!

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.

Horizontal image of a woman wearing an apron working and wiping a countertop next to a bucket filled with supplies.

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…

Horizontal image of a green bucket filled with supplies next to sponges on a wooden table.

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.

Image of empty glasses on top of a smooth top shelf liner in a cabinet.

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.

Horizontal image of glass canisters filled with food inside a pantry.

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.

Vertical image of the back view of a woman standing while wearing an apron and yellow rubber gloves.

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!

Before you attack, be sure to first review our cleaning tips for small kitchen appliances, and you might as well take a look at our top techniques to clean large kitchen appliances next.

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!

Horizontal image of mopping the floor next to a green bucket full of supplies.

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:

Horizontal image of a woman in an apron picking out supplies in a large green bucket next to sponges on a wooden table.

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:

© 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 a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer 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.

35 thoughts on “Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips”

  1. I confess, am lazy when it comes to cleaning kitchen ceiling and attachments, am always like, its far up high, its unreachable and a manner of all other excuses that comfort my working ‘ego’ but you are extremely right, i ought to put more footwork into it and trash away all the excuses…and for the life of me, i never understood why i really loved to clean the refrigerator{in the past} above all other kitchen items that awaited my magic cleaning touch :)..lovely tips here that ought to be followed to book 🙂

    Reply
  2. Thank you for this helpful article. Actually, it makes me lazy when after the long days of warm temperature.. oh so beautiful weather, cleaning in the kitchen is typically a daunting task. Whenever I do it, I realized that I’ve been cleaning chaotically that’s why it consumed my time a day or two. Fridge, utensil divider and other big items such as major appliances, I am unsure which to start with. Hope this checklist would make my life easier to get them done straightaway!

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  3. I like these tips, especially the mentality of taking it step by step. The task of doing spring cleaning can be intimidating and overwhelming, leaving some to give up. I am guilty of this myself. My trick is to make a list of small tasks so I don’t get bogged down in it. I also put a reward in place after I’m done. It’s a big undertaking and I don’t mind treating myself afterward!

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  4. Although I hate living in an apartment having a small kitchen is good and bad. Only good when it comes to cleaning. I usually wash the ceiling and wall by hand and use my step ladder. We have no fan of any sort so it gets pretty nasty on the ceiling from cooking. I always wipe outside the cupboards they also tend to get dirty quick and inside. From there remove everything from the fridge and counter and scub and for last I sweep and mop the floor. I don’t do the wash down off the ceiling and walls as often as I should but I try to when I can. Since the holidays are coming I may tackle the kitchen tomorrow or Friday night.

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  5. I love dancing around the kitchen as I clean. I will even turn up the stereo especially if it’s something from the 80’s. My little dog just looks at me like I’m crazy. Then I’ll just give out, but hey the kitchen got clean, and I got some fun calorie burning in to boot.

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  6. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know hwere to start with the spring cleaning, particularly if things have been somewhat neglected of late. It is definitely wise to tackle the refridgerator before doing a big grocery shop, I’ve made the mistake of not doing so before!

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  7. I confess I never do any spring cleaning; I hate warm/hot weather, and I am light sensitive which makes even a small amount of piercing sunlight difficult to cope with. Instead, I swap my spring cleaning for autumn – October is usually cool, misty and dull enough for me to get everything aired out, cleaned out, and looking great again. I repeat this in February just before the dreaded warming up begins, and just keep on top of cleaning tasks in between those times.

    Even though I do my cleaning at a different time in the year to most people, I find this article very helpful in getting organised – I can often start in the wrong place, and find that the job takes a big longer in the end. This is a very logical step by step guide, and I’ll find it very useful next week when I do my February clean!

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  8. I don’t know if I have ever done a thorough Spring cleaning, and to the best of my knowledge, I don’t think I’ve ever cleaned my ceiling, in my kitchen or in any other room for that matter. Reading through this list of things to do made me feel like my kitchen cleaning leaves a lot to be desired. That being said, my kitchen looks okay, but there is definitely room for improvement. Doing everything listed in this article seems a bit much for me to do, but just thinking of how wonderful things would look and smell if I did muster up enough energy to really give this cleaning plan a go makes me feel kind of motivated.

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  9. There are two sides to me: The side that loves a clean atmosphere & the side that loathes to be responsible for creating it. I’m glad you offered a decent amount of tips to simplify the side I most certainly can do without. Maybe an addition of ways to make it more fun would help?

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  10. Thanks for the tips! I’ll start cleaning once vacation comes! 🙂 Sadly though, I can’t clean that well (or I take too much time) because I have asthma -_- Guess I’ll be leaving the most dusty work to my older siblings! Haha!

    (I hope I won’t find any six-legged creature (especially if it flies! Egad, those roaches are creepy!) while cleaning up, else I’ll give up on cleaning! XD)

    (P.S. What’s a good way to keep roaches from infesting the house?)

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  11. Just to let you know that I revisited this post last weekend to get a little help with the spring clean. The tips and hints you wrote about really made light work of things and the whole ordeal was over with a lot sooner than expected! Thanks again!

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  12. Hey !
    Some good ideas here. If I ever muster up the courage to clean I normally just pick a task and do it without much thought but then I normally have to restart everything as sweeping the floor isn’t the best palce to start ! One thing I am finding really hard to clean is my stove top. There seems to be so much grease and such enbedded into it because if I don’t clean it then nobody will. I jjust haven’t found the time to do it but now I am trying to clean everything away but nothing will work. Is there anyone with any tips or anything that will work? i have tried a few things but nothing seems to be working at the moment 🙁

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  13. I enjoy a good deep clean on my kitchen but I will admit I rarely clean the ceiling fans or on top of the refrigerator. These places are up high and often if I can not reach them, I don’t. We just recently replaced the range hood and I was appalled at how filthy it was. Having the steps laid out for me in this article will help me to make sure I get all the nooks and crannies nice and clean.

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  14. This article really spells it out for me and even provides photos for motivation! For me, I easily get overwhelmed thinking about cleaning and organizing my entire kitchen because there is just so much to do. This step by step guide will definitely prove helpful for whenever I next set my mind to this daunting task.

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  15. Although, it is not Spring I did a shortened version of this today. It is so dusty here in Cyprus, I just couldn’t take it anymore! I wiped down cabinets, refrigerator and appliances. I wiped all the counter tops, deep cleaned the sink, the stove, and gave the entire kitchen a good sweep and mop. It took 3.5 hours! Oh my gosh! It is a great suggestion to clean out the refrigerator before a trip to the grocery. I find that doing the refrigerator a day or two ahead of a big kitchen cleaning works best for us. That chore alone can take hours depending on how many people are living in your household!

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  16. Hm, I think I may respectfully disagree with this article’s point on not donating your food to the local food bank. If the food is hopelessly spoiled, then don’t donate it. Otherwise, I don’t see any reason not to. I live in an area with an enormous homeless population, and I can guarantee that they would be happy to eat /anything/. There is no need to be wasteful.

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  17. I plan to start my first spring in my new home off right. One big mistake I make is forgetting to start from the top down. This simple tip really can save you the hassle of having to re-do something you have already finished. There is still a lot about my new home I need to learn. I have a gas stove for the first time in my life. I really don’t know if there is a difference between cleaning a gas and electric stove, but I have not cleaned it since I bought the house. I hate oven cleaners. They have such a strong smell, but there is no other, non fume, option that works. Or if there is one, I haven’t figured out what it is. I want to keep my new house nice, and the only way to do that is to do both deep spring and fall cleaning.

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  18. I’m so lazy the best part of this whole article to me was the Finishing Up part, haha. I’m kidding but these tips are very helpful to get the job done. I clean my kitchen every once and a while and it’s time to do a clean up again. I will be using these tips. I’m sure they’ll be of great help to me and my boyfriend, because there’s no way I’m cleaning that kitchen all by myself!

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  19. Thank you for the complete rundown of the process to get everything completely scrubbed down. I have a few questions though.

    What is the best product to use on a stainless steel stove top and what can I do to prevent grime build up? My biggest issue is with oil that shoots out of the frying pan and becomes entrenched in the metal. I feel like I will never be able to get it looking and feeling like it did when it was new.

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  20. The two most important areas of the house for keeping sanitized are the kitchen and bathroom. They are also the hardest to keep up. These tips for are great and make cleaning a little less painful. I usually use a lemon or vinegar mix for some of my scrubbing chores because of the acidity in the two that kill bacteria.

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  21. I will admit my spring cleaning routine is a lot less through than yours! I’d second your suggestion of vinegar though. It’s not just good for cleaning, and froths wonderfully if you mix it with bicarb, but it lifts limescale like you wouldn’t believe. We have hard water in our area, and leaving the sink full of warm water and vinegar while I clean and then rinsing it out loosens the limescale enough to remove it with a light sponge.

    The only problem is the rather pungent smell. I haven’t found any way round that, and it is one reason to leave cleaning until the weather is warmer, rather than freeze with the windows open and the rain pouring in.

    The only thing I disagree with you on is donating food. If the food isn’t spoiled and is still sealed, perhaps just one of those impulse purchases we’re never going to eat (or at least not before the best-before date expires), I do prefer to donate it and I’ve never had any complaints. As long as the food is still good and shop -sealed, most food banks are delighted to receive it. If the food isn’t good, that is what compost heaps are for!

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  22. Ugh. My Kitchen is a disaster. I don’t even have the normal cleaning caught up and this reminds me I need to get it done. There are some helpful tips here however. I guess I better do my preparation and get going with it.

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  23. This is so very informative but am I the only one struggling with ants in my kitchen? Not just in spring, winter too.. Like how do I get them to leave?

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  24. I’ll admit, I get easily overwhelmed when having to clean my kitchen, which is why I often only do a general sprucing up..you know, the dishes, the counters, the appliances, and the floors. This is a really good step by step guide for those of us that need some direction. Also, it should make obvious sense to clean from the top down, but when I read that it was like a revelation! Great post! XO

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  25. I’m doing my spring cleaning a bit later than usual but I think taking it step by step is the right approach for this year. I’ve definitely neglected my cabinets this year so that part will be most intimidating. I definitely agree… Sometimes cleaning does feel like preparing for war!

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  26. It’s a real good idea to keep things as clean as possible throughout the year, especially when you don’t like to spend that much time doing a thorough cleaning. Pick one section of the room and clean it and then pick another section another day until it’s done. That way you can do this several times a year, keep it all clean and you don’t have to worry about a special marathon cleaning spree in the spring.

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  27. A vinegar solution is a brilliant idea for kitchen cleaning. I’ve always used it to scrub bathroom tiles but never extended it to kitchen use. This is a great article for me since I’ve been procrastinating a kitchen spring cleaning for months now. I have domestic help who comes in weekdays and does top cleaning but I know that if I really want things to be ship shape I’ll have to do it myself! I think every weekend is going to be the one where it gets done but somehow never get round to it! I’m going to use this as a step by step guide to get things done. 🙂

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  28. Your last paragraph sums it up for me – I tend to keep on top of things year round. “Spring cleaning” is not something I’ve ever done. I find it a strange concept. I’m not a maniac about cleaning – but I do have a very minimalist home, including my kitchen.I don’t hang onto things that are not used or useful. So keeping on top of cleaning, using white wine vinegar dilution, is easy.

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  29. How do you keep up with the kitchen even after it is clean? You mentioned just focusing a bit of time on one area a day once it is clean. However, I find that doing one task a day is simply not enough.

    For example, I cook breakfast every morning and do not have time to clean the pans before going to work. Then when I come home, dinner needs to be made, which causes more pans to build up. That is besides the dishes that obviously need to be loaded into the dishwasher and the food that ends up on the floor during the cooking proccess. I find that I am always chasing this kitchen and can never catch up. It’s frustrating.

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  30. Cleaning daily is easy to say but it’s hard to get into a routine. But it makes so much more sense to work a little each day than to do a lot on one day. And I’m happy that this article suggested using vinegar products as opposed to harmful chemicals. I’m a big fanatic when it comes to natural household goods being put to practical use.

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  31. I love this step-by-step process. I find it easy to get distracted when cleaning the kitchen because there are so many small items and it is so common for there to be grease and other dirt on all the surfaces. I am keeping this post handy when I do a thorough cleaning next week, it will help me make a great checklist. Thanks for the tips!

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  32. One of the best things that I have been turned onto in the recent past was the citrus scented and citrus based cleaners. They do a great job and there is no more of that cleaning smell, the chemical smell. I really hated that smell and it might have contributed to my lack of cleaning. Or, I am just saying that as an excuse. That one might be more likely. That said, another good point is the wiping down of ALL the fridge, inside everything, and the citrus cleaner helps there too.

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  33. Well I have to say that I really love the whole idea of cleaning downwards. It may be something that many people may not really think about, but when you are cleaning up top, the dirt has to fall somewhere and it goes down, so cleaning the bottom first would be foolish. It is a simple little thing, but I like how the author works it in there.

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  34. I loved how in depth this article was. Cleaning from the top down is something not a lot of people think about. I know I`ve never cleaned above the cabinets due to my shortness and fear of ladders lol. What I have found makes spring cleaning easier is keeping up with things throughout the year. While my curtains only get done once a year, my rugs and cabinet faces get done as needed. From time to time we even touch up the paint in spots where it has gotten worn due to scrubbing. Don’t forget to pull that stove out to clean under and behind that too!

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  35. Thanks for the great tips! I’ve always just kind of rushed through my annual cleanings, since it’s one of my least favorite parts of the year. I try to keep mine as spic and span as possible whenever I’m in it, so it usually takes a while for the dirtiness to build up into something I can’t stand. I try to put it off as much as possible, but I guess there’s no getting around the fact that eventually, you’re just gonna have to set some time aside and apply some elbow grease. Hopefully, through using the methods you described, I’ll be able to keep my area clutter and dirt free for more than just a few months. It’s actually pretty crazy how far you’re willing to take it, as I usually just try to scrape away the top layer of dirt and call it a day. Maybe I’ll get my wife to help me go along with the intricate process you go through. Either way, this was definitely a good read and it opened my eyes to how some people that actually care about their kitchens clean them.

    Reply

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