The Hidden Part of Your Kitchen You’re Forgetting to Clean

published Nov 3, 2020
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Credit: Chloe Berk

When it comes to cleaning, it’s very easy not to think about the spaces you can’t see.
Even if you have a solid regimen for keeping your counters, walls, and appliances clean
and shiny, we all have spots in our kitchen that need a bit of extra love, simply because
we don’t think about them. For me, that’s the inside of my cabinets and drawers—places I use multiple times a day, but never really stop to look at closely.

When it finally occurs to me to take a closer look—usually when I’m organizing pantry staples or dishes—I’m always surprised to discover a collection of food crumbs, dust bunnies, and hair next to (or even on) the items my family eats off of. Not grossed out by a little dust? One of our editors recently found mouse droppings hanging out with the pots and pans she uses every day.

Moral of the story: Just because you put clean kitchenware back in your drawers and cupboards doesn’t mean these spots aren’t accumulating dust, crumbs, and other gross debris.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How to Keep Your Drawers Cleaner

1. Keep everything closed

Of course, the best way to ensure clean cabinets and drawers is to prevent messes in
the first place. You can do that easily by keeping them closed when you’re not using
them. (If they don’t close all the way, now would be a great time to finally repair those
hinges or glides.)

2. Line the inside

You can also line the insides of your drawers with contact paper or even leftover
linoleum floor pieces or wallpaper pieces (which will also protect your drawers). Sure,
it’s not the most eco-friendly solution, but it’s convenient to simply replace the paper
when they start to accumulate debris.

3. Do a routine once-over

No matter how much preventative effort you put in, you’ll eventually need to do a
thorough clean of your drawers and cabinets. It’s a simple process: Just empty out your
cabinets, then use a handheld vacuum or the hose attachment of your vacuum to suck up all the debris and dust lingering inside.

Then, grab an all-purpose cleaner and wipe down the surface with a paper towel or microfiber cloth. (Don’t miss the crevices and corners, where crumbs tend to accumulate.)

If you’d rather not use a store-bought cleaning product in an area where you keep kitchenware, you can easily whip up a natural alternative: Combine equal parts distilled white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle and spray on the inside, allowing the solution to sit for about five minutes. Then, wipe it away with a clean, microfiber cloth. For any stubborn or sticky spots, spray a little extra cleaner and gently scrub with a damp sponge. Dry the surface with a paper towel or separate cloth, then put everything back.