I think the kitchen is one of the most complicated spaces in the home to clean and maintain. Kitchen cleaning can be really time-consuming. And with so many appliances, types of stains, different surfaces, and more, cleaning the kitchen can be overwhelming.
I’ve written articles on cleaning kitchen appliances, including:
- How To Clean a Microwave
- How To Clean an Electric Kettle and Stovetop Kettle
- How To Clean A Self-Cleaning Oven
But today, we’re not talking about appliances; we’re talking about your actual kitchen. As a cleaning professional, I’ve amassed a lot of little cleaning secrets over the years. And as a homeowner and a mother, I have a lot of kitchen cleaning tips and tricks to share. So, here are my 10 kitchen cleaning secrets that will make cleaning and maintaining your kitchen a snap!
1. Use The Eye-Level Test
The eye-level test is truly a pro tip; it’s a game-changer for keeping a clean space. I had no idea about it before I got into cleaning professionally, but now I use it at home all the time as well.
To employ the eye-level test, you need to get down to the same level as the surface that you’re cleaning. Once you’re down there, use light—whether it’s from a window or from an actual overhead light source—and maneuver it, so you get an almost reflective view of the surface. Viewing a surface at eye-level with the light just so you’ll find all the little bits that you’ve missed.
2. Remove Dinnerware Scratches
Over time, your dishes will eventually end up with scratches and marks from regular use of forks and knives, especially if you have small, enthusiastic eaters at your table. Although scratches are unsightly, it’s a pretty easy problem to fix. Get yourself some cream of tartar, which you can pick up in the spice aisle at your local grocery store.
All you have to do is make a paste with a little water and the cream of tartar. You want the paste to be a pudding-like consistency, so be liberal with the cream of tartar. Apply the paste onto the scratched surface and rub it in a circular motion with your finger or a cloth.
Apply a few drops of vinegar or lemon juice for particularly stubborn scratches. Keep rubbing to buff away the scuffs, and then rinse and wipe clean. This will work inside mugs as well.
3. Try Natural Stone Stain Remover
Just this morning I got a DM on Instagram with someone asking:
How do I remove a coffee stain from a granite countertop?
This happens all the time; whether it’s turmeric, tomato sauce, coffee, or wine, we all get stains on these finicky countertops. Luckily, I have a DIY recipe for you!
Mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and dish soap in a bowl, then spread it across the stained surface. Don’t be scared to use your fingers and get messy! It’s like finger painting for adults.
Let this sit for 10 minutes, then give it a quick wipe and what you’ll likely notice is that the stain is gone. If it’s not, you might be working with an unstained or unfinished countertop.
On that note, I can’t stress enough the importance of sealing your natural stone and finishing all countertops. I know it’s one of those jobs that you don’t really think about. However, at the end of the day, you’ve spent a lot of money on these countertops, and sealing them actually provides a protective barrier so stains don’t set in.
4. Clean Hard Water Deposits
When you see this in the kitchen, you can’t unsee it: hard water deposits on and around the faucet. This is not a big deal; it’s just unsightly. Once you clean them, your faucet and the whole sink area just looks so much more fresh and clean.
To remove hard water stains, fill a plastic bag with vinegar. Yes, you read that right. Then, put the faucet head right in the bag and affix it with an elastic band. Let this sit overnight. When you remove it the next morning, the hard water deposits will be gone. (P.S., this works for your shower head too!)
Now, if the area around your faucet has any of that build-up as well, you can just take a cloth or paper towel soaked in vinegar and affix it to the area. Again, let it sit for several hours, then remove it to find the hard water stains gone.
5. Clean Glass Cooktops
I’ve had a glass cooktop for the last 11 years. So, it’s not a stretch to say I’ve got some experience cleaning glass cooktops. I hear so many comments about people saying that it’s really challenging—it’s a pain to clean, and it looks dirty and grimy. And, it’s true!
If you think about it, you have a hot surface, you have something that’s bubbled over and baked on. Plus, glass is a delicate surface. If you use something super abrasive, it can also scratch the surface, which can lead to cracking—you’ve got to be careful with these things. So the challenge is, how do you clean a glass cooktop properly?
I’ve tested a number of things over the years, and I’ve recently found these cooktop wands made specifically for cleaning glass cooktops. They work really well with just water (just let water sit on the mess for a few minutes and then scrub), and they don’t scratch the surface. Win!
6. Empty The Kitchen Sink
It’s hard to be poetic about cleaning, but I will tell you this: I really believe that the kitchen sink is like the bed of the kitchen—if you walk into a bedroom and a bed is beautifully made, the rest of the bedroom just feels clean. It feels organized and beautiful. The same thing goes with the kitchen sink. If you walk into a kitchen and it looks pretty good, and the sink is sparkling, all of a sudden, that elevates the kitchen. The rest of the kitchen feels great.
On the flip side, if you walk in and you see a grungy sink with dishes in it, the kitchen kind of feels gross. So, the habit that we’ve tried to get into is keeping the kitchen sink empty and giving it a quick clean after every meal.
What that looks like for us is making sure there are no dishes left behind, followed by a quick scrub with baking soda and a bit of dish soap, a rinse, and a quick buff with a microfiber cloth. The whole thing takes under a minute, and it makes all the difference.
7. Clean With Vinegar, Without The Smell
There’s no doubt that vinegar is a powerful and nontoxic cleaner, making it perfect for cleaning surfaces that have contact with your food. However, the smell of vinegar is a polarizing subject. So many people don’t want to clean with it because they simply cannot handle the smell.
An easy way to make your vinegar smell better for cleaning is to get yourself a mason jar and fill it with citrus peels. Whatever you have on hand will do—lemon, orange, lime. Top it up with plain white vinegar and let it sit for at least three days. When that time has passed, grab a strainer and filter out your freshly infused vinegar. You can use this as is or in any DIY cleaning recipe.
8. Deep Clean Oven Racks
Cleaning your oven is one of the more daunting kitchen cleaning tasks, although a self-cleaning oven does lighten that load significantly. But—did you know that when you self-clean your oven, you can’t leave your oven racks in there?
So that begs the question, how do you clean oven racks? It involves an old towel, a bathtub, and a cup of laundry detergent. And no, I’m not trying to play Clue with you. But you can read all about it in How To Clean Oven Racks.
9. Keep On Top of The Fridge
If you pay more attention to what’s going on in your fridge, it keeps you accountable. It helps you eat the food that you have in there and know what you have so you can cook through it. This helps reduce waste, and of course, it also helps your fridge look and feel cleaner.
I know when I let my fridge go, it gets a little gross. So here’s what I suggest—give your fridge a good cleaning once every 30 days. What that means is taking everything out, giving the shelves and drawers a wipe down, replacing paper towels in crispers, checking the expiration dates on things as you put them back in, and getting rid of anything past due.
Also, consider making a short-term menu to cook through items that have been hanging around for too long. I actually have a whole Fridge Cleaning Guide that takes you through the entire step-by-step process of deep cleaning your fridge, with pictures and bonus tips.
10. Eliminate Coffee and Tea Stains
If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, you know the drama of looking into your cup or your favorite travel mug and seeing all the nasty tannin rings and stains. Whether it’s a stainless steel coffee mug or just a regular ceramic mug, those rings are very easy to clean.
We use a lot of baking soda at the CMS Headquarters (i.e., my house). If you want to know more, just read 10 Ways To Clean With Baking Soda. But when it comes to mugs, simply take a pinch of baking soda, get it a little wet with a couple of drops of water, and use your finger or a cleaning toothbrush to apply this to mug stains. Rub the stains, rinse, wipe, and repeat until they’re gone.
Kitchen Cleaning Like A Pro
We all know how to wipe down a counter, but there are so many little details that go into a sparkling kitchen. My kitchen is absolutely not sparkling clean all the time. But, I know how to get it there (and yes, I mean every time my in-laws come over.
You don’t have time to clean every part of your kitchen every day, but if you keep on top of the fridge, the stove, and everything else, your whole kitchen will look better in the long run.