A Cleaning Expert’s Guide to Getting the Kitchen Sparkling Clean

published Jan 12, 2024
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Apartment Therapy’s January Cure is a free 18-day program that’ll help you reset your home for the year ahead. Joining us today is guest cure-ator Becky Rapinchuk of the Clean Mama, her lifestyle brand where she’s shared cleaning tips and tricks on the internet since 2009.

Having a cleaning routine is essential in keeping a clean kitchen. But no matter the routine, it’s normal for some things to get left behind, whether it’s the forgotten spots, ones that require more care, or ones you need to skip because life gets busy. 

Today, we will dedicate our time to cleaning the kitchen, and regardless of whether you only have a short amount of time or a lot, we’ve mapped out a plan that’ll work for you.

Day 8: Clean the kitchen and treat yourself.

For this assignment, we reached out to Becky Rapinchuk of the Clean Mama, who has over a decade of experience as a cleaning expert, and who shares her tips and tricks online. She helped us carve out plans for cleaning the kitchen that anyone can do depending on the time and energy they can devote to this task. 

And because today is a “clean and treat” day, don’t forget to treat yourself before or after getting started! Go ahead and pick up some flowers (#fridayflowers), some sweets, or a nice-smelling candle to enjoy. 

Now, let’s get to cleaning the kitchen. Rapinchuk has broken down the assignment into two strategies: a quick clean that can be done in one day or a deep clean that’ll be more of a weekend project. (Plus, her pro tips are sprinkled throughout!) You decide what you’d like to do and how far you want to go with this, so feel free to skip what doesn’t apply to you.

Kitchen Quick Clean

For a quick kitchen clean, Rapinchuk recommends tackling these core areas: the sink and surfaces. 

  • Sink: Start by doing the dishes and putting them away, then clean the kitchen sink.
  • Counters: Clear off the counters and wipe them down before putting things back intentionally. Take this moment to reassess your items. Maybe you don’t actually use the toaster that often and you have extra cabinet space, so you can put it away for now. 
  • Floors: Vacuum the floors once you are done cleaning the surfaces, as dirt and debris may have fallen.

Finally, Rapinchuk recommends putting out fresh hand towels and changing out the sponge to give the space a nice reset.

Kitchen Deep Clean

For a deeper clean, Rapinchuk breaks it down into three parts, which you can do each day (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) or group together depending on your skill level or the time you have. Just like the quick clean, though, you’ll want to clear out the sink first before proceeding with the three-part cleaning plan, as you’ll need it to soak items in it!

  • Part one: Dusting. Before dusting, consider moving items on your counter out of the way, as dust will fall. Then, you’ll want to dust your kitchen from top to bottom, starting with corners, molding, above the upper cabinets, the light fixtures, blinds/window treatments, and then making your way down the wall and cabinet fronts. The tools you may need are a vacuum cleaner with attachments (like a soft hose and nozzle tool), a soft dusting tool, and an extendable duster. Once all this dusting is done, you’ll want to do a quick wipe-down of your counters and vacuum the floors. Rapinchuk’s pro tip: In the future, you can consider laying down newspaper or wax paper above your cabinets, so that the next time you go to dust you can just bundle that up and toss it! 
  • Part two: Surfaces and appliances. If you haven’t cleared off your counters completely, take the time to do so. Then, using your favorite cleaner or hot soapy water, clean your counters and the backsplash, which can get particularly greasy by the stove area. Then, assess what you want to put back on your counters (like the quick clean task above). Wipe and dry cabinet fronts, too. Move onto your appliances, saving the fridge for last! You’ll want to let your cleaning products dwell to get the best clean possible, so take any removable parts (like stove grates or microwave glass plate) and let them soak, spray down the appliance inside and out, then move on to the next appliance. Then, go back to the first one and complete the clean. The fridge and freezer come last. Be sure to wipe it down and take out drawers and clean them. Rapinchuk’s pro tip: Rapinchuk advises that if you use the vacuum cleaner here, you’ll want to put some rubbing alcohol on a cloth to wipe down the vacuum nozzle beforehand, as it has been in other places. 
  • Part three: Inside drawers and cabinets. You can choose to do one, three, or all of your cabinets and drawers (like under the kitchen sink, the utensil drawer, or the food storage area), and the level of intensity you’ll be cleaning and/or decluttering them. You’ll want to take everything out of your drawer or cabinet and vacuum and wipe down inside. Then, assess what you should keep or toss before putting things back inside. You can also focus on just cleaning or decluttering. For instance, you can do an “at a glance” strategy, where you open every drawer and cabinet, look inside, and see what can be taken out — no vacuuming or washing required. Throw anything you’re unsure of that’s still in good condition in the outbox. Rapinchuk’s pro tip: This is the perfect opportunity to put away your holiday items, too!

    Finish by putting out fresh hand towels and changing out the sponge.

    What did you treat yourself to today? Tell us in the comments.

More ways to participate in the January Cure:

The Cure Program is a tradition here at Apartment Therapy — it happens every January, April, and September. Click here to learn more about the year-round program and when to sign up.