Many lines have been written on the importance of cleanliness and household chores (remember that iconic speech by U.S. Admiral McRaven, urging us all to make our beds in the morning?) and the role they play in maintaining our mental and physical health.
And since we now see ourselves in a position to spend far more time in our homes (whether we want to or not), we can think of no better time to circle back on this subject, and focus on what’s arguably the first room of the house to get messy: the kitchen.
Naturally, with more of our family members inside, our kitchens are bound to become dirtier and more cluttered. And while there’s no way we’ll reach that perfect, Mr. Clean sparkling kitchen anytime soon (and you definitely shouldn’t feel the pressure to take it to that extreme), keeping your kitchen tidy and clean can have positive effects on your state of mind, especially during these troubling times.
According to a 2010 study published in The Personality and Social Psychology bulletin, higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol were observed in women who felt that their homes are cluttered and who had lots of unfinished projects around the house.
That’s why it’s vital to keep your house clean to reduce stress levels and help you feel more relaxed and comfortable at home. In addition to reducing stress, maintaining a healthy cleaning regimen for the home also makes you more productive, helps you sleep better, and protects your family from illness-causing bacteria and pathogens.
However, maintaining a clean home is easier said than done. This is especially true when it comes to the kitchen. And that’s because the kitchen requires more attention than any other room in your house, especially if you have more family members and young children. After every meal, there are spills that need to be cleaned, dishes and utensils to be washed, and lots of tidying up to do. Not to mention that if any dirt or spills are left unattended, there may be a buildup of bacteria that poses a significant health risk for your family. After all, this is the room where we keep all of our food.
Maintaining a clean kitchen requires a systematic approach, and that’s why it is vital to create a kitchen cleaning checklist. Taking a structured approach to your kitchen cleaning will ensure no cleaning task skips your mind and your kitchen is spotless at all times — without making you feel overburdened by all the chores that comes with kitchen maintenance.
Read on to find out what to include in your kitchen cleaning checklist and the tasks that you should schedule on daily, weekly, and monthly basis — so that you don’t feel all the tasks weighting on you without having a clear plan to address them.
#1 Tasks to include in your daily kitchen cleaning list
To ensure that food is not contaminated during preparation, and that your family enjoys meals in a clean and safe environment, there are a few cleaning tasks that must be carried out daily. Don’t worry, they’re not the type that take hours to get out of the way, but they’re crucial to keeping a clean kitchen. Here are the things you should watch for on a daily basis:
- Cleaning spills on counters, tables, floors, and appliances as soon as they occur
- Washing dirty dishes immediately after meals
- Emptying the dishwasher and dish drainer as needed
- Putting everything back in their rightful place after usage (think condiments, cooking ingredients, pans and pots, and utensils)
- Checking fridge and kitchen counters for expired/spoiled food and throwing them out if you suspect they might have gotten bad
- Sweeping the floor whenever something gets spilled
- Cleaning the sink with a multi-purpose cleaner so that bacteria doesn’t get a chance to form
- Removing items that don’t belong in the kitchen (like the kids’ toys)
- Taking out the garbage
Making a habit out of these tasks will ensure that your kitchen is always tidy and will make your weekly and monthly cleaning easier.
Something else that might help, but that might need some advance planning, is choosing an easy to clean and maintain countertop material, which will also reduce your workload. Quartz is not only easy to clean, but is also visually stimulating. Read more information on kitchen countertops to understand why quartz may be a good choice for your kitchen and to find good alternatives that are easy to keep clean.
#2 Tasks for your weekly kitchen cleaning list
Depending on your weekly schedule, pick a day to schedule your weekly kitchen cleaning. Setting a specific day is the first step to ensure you do not bail on your weekly kitchen cleaning checklist — and it really doesn’t have to be in the same day you clean up the rest of your house. Having a separate schedule for the kitchen makes sense, and will allow you to spend more time on this crucial room of the house.
For your weekly kitchen cleaning, you’ll want to go a bit deeper into it than you do on your regular daily cleaning routine. Tasks to include in your weekly kitchen cleaning checklist are:
- Mopping the floor (if you have small children or pets — or just a clumsy husband, like me — you may need to do this more often)
- Cleaning the exterior of appliances thoroughly
- Sorting out leftovers in the fridge and throwing away those that have stayed too long
- Cleaning off smudges and fingerprints from drawers and cabinets
- Cleaning your dishcloths and towels
- Cleaning and disinfecting the sink and faucets
- Cleaning the interior of your microwave
#3 Tasks for your monthly kitchen cleaning list
If you are thorough with your daily and weekly kitchen cleaning, you’ll breeze through your monthly cleaning. Monthly cleaning should be set for the first or last week of the month to make it harder for you to skip it, and should cover some essentials that don’t need to be checked on as regularly as the other items on our list.
Monthly kitchen cleaning tasks can include, depending on your home setup:
- Checking your pantry to see what needs to be tossed out and which items should be restocked
- Checking the freezer to see if there are any items that should be eaten soon, and those that need to be thrown or restocked
- Cleaning the oven and stove
- Cleaning your refrigerator and disinfecting the drip pan
- Targeting the dirt and crumbs that hide between cabinets and floors during your daily and weekly cleaning
- Dusting light fixtures as well as cabinets and the refrigerator
- Cleaning the dishwasher and dish drainer drip pan
- Spot-cleaning grout
General tips to make kitchen cleaning easier
There’s nothing more daunting than cleaning a kitchen that’s been neglected for some time. So that you’ll never have to face this challenge, follow the following tips:
- Create visual checklists with your daily, weekly, and monthly kitchen cleaning tasks — use our suggestions above to create your own, personalized list with areas that require more attention in your household
- Post your checklists in a visible place and encourage other members of the family to take cue on the things that have to be done on a daily basis
- In fact, you could take things a step further and assign minor tasks to different family members
- Make a habit of dealing with spills immediately and sweeping the floors each meal
Keeping your kitchen clean and safe for your family begins with healthy cleaning habits and a good tidying up regimen. Create a system that works for you and put it in a checklist so that you can keep your mind off all the things that need to be done, and instead, enjoy your time at home with your family.
Graceland, Elvis Presley’s house in Memphis
Michael Jordan’s house in Chicago