Cleaning Checklists for an Under-Control Kitchen: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly

updated Sep 30, 2022
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Credit: Liz Calka

The kitchen is one of the most used rooms of the house—and frankly, it’s probably crawling with more germs than any other space at home. It’s a relentless cycle: The kitchen gets used often to prepare food, so it gets dirtier than many other places in the house. So your approach to keeping the kitchen clean needs to be strategic. The key to successfully keeping a kitchen clean without feeling like you have to obsessively watch over it is a well-laid plan. 

You can get away with a piecemeal approach to keeping other rooms picked up and clean. Unless you have allergy sufferers in the house, nothing too bad will happen if you neglect to dust the living room bookshelves for a few weeks, for instance.

But a dirty kitchen spells trouble and even danger. Not only are there risks of cross-contamination of germs on surfaces, but over time, an unkempt kitchen invites much bigger problems, like cockroaches or other pests or appliances that require costly repairs or need to be replaced sooner than you’d expect. At the very least, a dirty or messy kitchen is unpleasant and stressful.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Here’s the thing: Even if you think you’re cleaning your kitchen well and it looks nice and tidy, you could be missing spots or neglecting chores that will make it all run more smoothly and safely.

Having daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal chores on a list helps turn all the shoulds into tasks that are regularly checked off the list. And with practice, many of these necessary and helpful kitchen tasks become second-nature habits that keep your kitchen in tip-top shape without you having to reinvent the wheel or even think too hard about what needs to be done. 

Here is a breakdown of tasks that will help keep your kitchen sparkling every day, week, month, and year.

Daily Kitchen Cleaning

  • Empty the dishwasher and dish drainer as necessary
  • Wash dirty dishes as they happen
  • Wipe spills from counters, floors, and appliances
  • Clean counters
  • Sweep floor
  • Run the dishwasher as necessary
  • Wash out the sink
  • Set out a clean rag for the next day

Weekly Kitchen Cleaning

Monthly Kitchen Cleaning

  • Inventory pantry items to see what’s outdated and what needs to be restocked
  • Take inventory of freezer items that need to be tossed, eaten soon, or restocked
  • Clean out the refrigerator and wipe down shelves and drawers
  • Clean inside of the dishwasher if necessary
  • Clean the dish drainer drip pan
  • Spot-clean tile grout

Quarterly (or Seasonal) Kitchen Season

  • Clean refrigerator coils (unplug your fridge first)
  • Clean under the refrigerator
  • Clean the oven
  • Sort through and organize cooking tools, like utensils and pans; declutter duplicates and anything you haven’t used
  • Take inventory of spices and supplements; toss ones that are too old, and take note of what needs replenishing
  • Look at all your dishware and repair or repurpose anything that’s chipped

Keeping the kitchen organized, cleaned, decluttered, and well-stocked is a monumental, never-ending task. Having the tasks down on paper means you only have to think once about what needs to be done and when.

Breaking down all the chores into bite-sized daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks keeps the challenge from becoming overwhelming and gives you a perpetually spic-and-span kitchen.

When the kitchen is clean and keeping it that way is rote, you have the time and head space to enjoy the creating and togetherness that’s supposed to happen in the heart of your home.