How to clean your kitchen quickly (and properly)

The only kitchen cleaning checklist you'll need.
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There’s a wise viral TikTok voiceover that says: “I think that by far the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my 30s is that no matter how hard you try, no matter how well you do it, you’re going to have to clean your kitchen again tomorrow.” 

Cleaning the kitchen is a Sisyphean task – you’re always doing it, but somehow the job just never seems done! But clean it you must, because it’s the kind of room that needs to be kept germ free in order to fulfill its primary purpose: to provide a safe, hygienic and efficient place to prepare food. General disarray, cooking smells and odours from unwashed dishes or wilting fruit can also make your entire house seem messy, which is why, if you’re thinking of undertaking a full house clean, you must start in the kitchen. 

The next area many professional cleaners claim should be next on the list, however, is the bathroom. The logic behind this is that the kitchen and bathroom are both frequently used ‘wet areas’ that can become a breeding ground for germs, mould spores and soap scum if not cleaned regularly. These rooms also take the longest to clean, so tackling them first will make you feel super accomplished as you enter rooms that are generally easier to tidy, including the living room, bedrooms and common areas. 

Timber and black kitchen with black inset sink
(Credit: Photography: Alex Reinders | Styling: Sarah Elshaug)

Daily kitchen cleaning checklist

  • Wash and dry dishes or stack the dishwasher and run it
  • Clean counters following an S-curve pattern with a warm, soapy cloth
  • To disinfect the counters, apply a surface disinfectant and allow it to sit for at least 10-minutes (check the product label, some disinfectants may need to be diluted with water and rinsed afterwards, while others do not). If cleaning natural stone benchtops, steer clear of abrasive scours or hash cleaning products.
  • Wipe down stovetop and clean oven using Shannon Lush’s 5-minute oven-cleaning method.
  • Put away dried dishes and disinfect the sink
  • Sweep or vacuum floor
  • Mop the floor
White and marble kitchen with shaker cabinets and gold hardware
(Credit: Photography: Shania Shegedyn)

Deep kitchen cleaning checklist

Fridge and freezer

  • Clear out the fridge by discarding spoiled leftovers or anything that’s past its use-by date
  • Wipe down shelves using a damp, soapy cloth
  • Wipe down seals with a solution of one part water to one part white vinegar
  • Remove the crisper tray and wash with warm soapy water. Rinse and allow to dry before replacing it back in the fridge.
  • Defrost freezer (if required) discarding anything that’s past its best then wipe down the inside with hot soapy water.

Pantry and cupboards

  • Next up: decluttering kitchen cupboards. Remove items from pantry one shelf at a time. Discard any spoiled food. 
  • Wipe down pantry storage containers and shelving with a damp cloth to remove surface dust. For debris stuck in pantry crevices, use a dry cleaning brush or a vacuum cleaner.
  • Group items according to their purpose and place back on the pantry shelves
  • Get out a ladder and wipe down the tops of upper cabinets (if they’re not concealed by a bulk head) with a solution of Selleys Sugar Soap and water.
  • Wipe down kick boards with soapy water and, if there are any visible scuff marks, buff them out with a magic eraser or gentle scrubbing brush.
  • Wipe down cabinet fronts with soapy water.
  • Wipe down cabinet handles with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Do a stocktake of your kitchen cabinets: are there any pots, pans, utensils or small appliances you rarely use? Consider giving them away or donating them to charity to free up space.
Organised country style kitchen
(Credit: Photography: Brigid Arnott | Styling: Jodie Gibbons)


  • Now it’s time to spring clean your home appliances. Move appliances forward and vacuum and wipe behind and underneath them.
  • Empty the toaster crumb tray.
  • Refresh your kettle by filling it with water, adding 1 tablespoon of baking soda and boiling it. Allow boiling water to sit for 10-minutes before emptying the kettle and wiping the inside clean with a soft cloth or gentle dish brush. Rinse.
  • Clean and deoderise the inside of the microwave using the steam and white vinegar method.
  • Clean the dishwasher by running it on a hot cycle and washing the filter and thoroughly.
  • Clean rangehood filters.
  • Descale your coffee machine, if you have one.
  • Remove any old documents stuck to the front of the fridge, discard any unsightly magnets that may have accumulated and wipe down the front of the fridge, paying close attention to the handles.

Glassware, crockery and cookware

  • Make all of your ‘special occasion’ glassware and china sparkle again. Remove everything from the cabinet and wash by hand (place a tea-towel in the bottom of the sink to prevent breakages) or run a gentle dishwasher cycle.
  • Discard any plates or glasses that are chipped or cracked.
  • Get all stainless steel pots and pans sparkling clean by rubbing them down with a paste made up of water and baking soda. Rinse. 
  • Re-season any cast-iron cookware
Modern dual tone kitchen with white cabinets
(Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Corina Koch)


  • Wipe down window sills with a damp cloth
  • Wash curtains, or wipe blinds with a damp cloth
  • Soak kitchen cleaning cloths and sponges in a disinfectant solution before laundering in hot water and allowing to dry. Discard any sponges or cloths that are past their best.
  • Soak cleaning brushes in a disinfectant solution before rinsing thoroughly and allowing to dry.
  • Empty bin and wash thoroughly with a solution of hot soapy water. Wipe down with surface disinfectant. Allow to dry before placing back it in the kitchen.
  • Sweep or vacuum the floor, taking care to get underneath and behind the fridge and any other freestanding appliances
  • Mop twice with a solution of hot water, soap and surface disinfectant.

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