4 Areas in Your Kitchen You’re Probably Forgetting to Clean, According to Pro Chefs

published Nov 8, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Even if you religiously clean your kitchen, you’re human — and chances are, there are a couple of spots you’ve forgotten to clean. Or maybe you know you should clean them, but you just keep putting the chore off. Either way, now’s the perfect time to address those oft-forgotten kitchen areas. 

Not sure exactly where to begin? We tapped professional chefs to find out which kitchen spots are most forgotten, and how to clean them most efficiently. 

Your Stovetop Crevices

You might be great about wiping away visible food splatters when you’re cooking, but what about all the nooks and crannies in and around your stovetop? If you can’t remember the last time you tackled those areas, Katina Mountanos, founder and CEO of Kosterina and author of Kosterina Kitchen, suggests you do so pronto — and she suggests you use olive oil to get it done.

“I dab olive oil on a microfiber cloth, and it works wonders on stainless steel,” she says. While you can use pretty much any olive oil to shine up your stove, save the fancy stuff for cooking. “I use generic olive oil for this,” says Mountanos. “I wouldn’t disrespect high-antioxidant EVOO in this way!”

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Your Electric Kettle

Tea- and coffee-drinkers, this one’s for you. Carla Contreras, a professional chef and food stylist and photographer, says electric kettles can quickly accumulate limescale. “I had no idea about this until I started to make tea and pour-over coffee regularly in my electric kettle,” she says. “To my surprise, there was a build-up of white gunk.”

Luckily, it’s simple to clean. Contreras adds a cup of white vinegar and a cup of water to the kettle, brings it to a boil, and then lets it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing. Then, fill up the tea kettle with clean water, bring it to a boil, and rinse it again. “I do this at least once a month to keep my kettle clean, and my tea fresh-tasting,” she says. No electric kettle at home? This method also works for a stovetop one!

Your Silverware Drawer

Another commonly forgotten space: inside your silverware drawer. “I recently replaced my silverware organizer and was surprised by the amount of crumbs that had accumulated,” Contreras says. “This area can get really dirty, especially if you are prepping food above and the drawer isn’t closed 100%.”

To clean, take everything out, including the drawer liner and silverware. If the drawer has a ton of crumbs, Contreras suggests using a vacuum hose, then wiping down with hot soapy water and drying with a clean towel. Once everything is dry, put everything back in the drawer. “I now do this once per season to keep things neat and tidy,” she says.

Credit: Reader Kavita

Your Spice and Oil/Vinegar Area

Timothy Hollingsworth, chef and owner of Otium in Los Angeles and OXO Chef In Residence, says people commonly forget to clean their spice and oil and vinegar areas. “A lot of the time when people are cooking they tend to grab, use, and put back,” he says.

The easiest way to keep things tidy is to give your spices, oils, and vinegars, a quick wipe-down every time you use them. To go the extra mile, keep your spice jars organized and easily accessible to prevent them from falling over and spilling. (Hollingsworth likes OXO Not So Lazy Susan Turntable and spice organizers.)

Another tip: Go through your spices, oils, and vinegars at least quarterly. “I pull everything out, make sure things are not expired, still in good condition, and the shelves or drawers are wiped down,” Hollingsworth says. “This is also a great opportunity to take inventory of what you have and restock on anything you might be running low on.”