Kitchen Clean-Up: The Deep Clean Challenge Week 2

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The kitchen is the heart of the home.

Or something like that. Even if the kitchen isn’t the heart, you will likely spend a significant portion of your life at least passing through this part of your home.

Why are we cleaning the kitchen for Week 2 of the Deep Clean Challenge?

It can be demoralizing to stumble out of bed in the morning and have to move dishes out of the way to get a glass of water or to make a cup of coffee.

With that in mind, we are building off of last week’s clutter-clearing win and will be giving ourselves a clean slate in the kitchen. After this Saturday’s clean-up, the kitchen portion of your daily chore routine will be more manageable. Then, when you wander into the kitchen in the morning, the only groaning will be our normal existential ones. What? Like we’re the only ones. . .

What is the goal?

To create a more functional, less stressful space. You may not make it all the way through the printable kitchen clean-up checklist. Once again, we really don’t want you to spend more than a couple of hours on the deep clean challenge. The goal is to work toward creating a cleaner, more organized home, not to make it happen all at once. Each week you’ll be taking a big step toward that goal and then each day, as you do your daily routines—or just manage the minimums—things continue to trend better.

That’s what we are aiming for, a little better, all the time.

What will we be cleaning in the kitchen?

Please remember the kitchen deep clean challenge is not meant to be an all-day marathon. We are focused only on your appliances’ exteriors (except the microwave if you have one). We will tackle the large appliances in another session of the Deep Clean Challenge. Don’t worry. There’s a checklist, and this is the overview.

  • Dishes
  • Cabinetry (interiors and exteriors, upper and lower if you have them)
  • Drawers
  • The exterior of the fridge and other appliances
  • The interior and exterior of the microwave
  • Counters, backsplash/wall
  • Table and chairs or breakfast bar chairs if they are a part of your kitchen (We will do dining areas in detail in another Deep Clean Challenge week)
  • Sink
  • Flooring

What tools and cleaning supplies do we need?

It depends.

Again, really? Yes, not all kitchens are the same. In fact, the materials used in them vary wildly. Please remember the Home-Ec 101 motto:

We solemnly swear to always read the label, never mix chemicals without research, fight the man, test in an inconspicuous area, and hide the evidence.

So, your job is to figure out what you need before Saturday. Regardless of what your kitchen looks like, you will want:

  • Gloves – cleaners are typically hard on your hands
  • Rags or paper towels
  • A degreaser safe for your counters, cabinetry, and appliances
  • Vacuum with a hose attachment/soft bristle brush, handheld vac, OR a soft bristled brush to whisk away dust and crumbs
  • Broom & Dustpan
  • Mop & Bucket
  • Trashcan & Bags

How do we get started with this week’s kitchen clean-up challenge?

Do you need accountability to stay on track?

  • Phone or text a friend and have them check in on you.
  • If you don’t work well alone have someone share the space with you, maybe they would appreciate it if you did the same for them. This is often called body doubling and can work well for ADHDers.
  • Use a timer. There’s one on your phone, but Heather uses these timers for work and LOVES them, if you need a more tactile/visual timer, maybe these would work for you.

Please note:
If you utilize the body doubling technique, your friend should know that they aren’t expected to help.
Just having them in the same general area can be extremely motivating. They can sit there and have a cup of tea or coffee and play games on their phone or wrangle kids, if you have them, while you do the actual work. You can return the favor for them, or maybe, just maybe you can internalize that they enjoy spending time with you and it doesn’t matter what you are doing together. Not everything needs to be an expensive adventure.

Let’s normalize this.

Do you just need a little motivation?

  • Turn on your favorite upbeat playlist.
  • Turn on your favorite podcast. Last week we listed a few of our favorites. What are yours? We’d love to know, we’re always looking for new ones, please feel free to share your recommendations in the comments.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to print out the kitchen clean-up checklist.

A couple of things mentioned in the checklist that need clarification.

The tops of the cabinetry – When you do this, the goal is to get that first, thick layer of dust. The dust on top of your cabinets is going to be greasy. When you cook, especially when you saute, you create aerosolized grease and that floats around until it finds a place to land. Later dust particles and lint join the party.

Don’t scrub this mess with the soft bristle attachment of your vacuum. Trust us, that’s not fun. Just give it a quick once over to get the big stuff. Then go back over with a degreaser and a rag.

Lisa has a great tip for you to make the next time much easier: since no one can see up there, you can put down a layer of paper towels. Next time you do a major cleaning, just grab the towels, give the tops a quick wipe and put down a new layer.

The interior of your microwave – get a microwave-safe bowl and fill it with one cup of water and 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of distilled vinegar. Microwave it on high for five minutes and then let it sit for another five while you are cleaning other things. This creates a nice steamy environment in your microwave that softens whatever splatters are in there. Carefully remove the bowl and wipe out the interior.

One final note, while we will clean your dishwasher thoroughly in a future challenge, now may be a good time to check your dishwasher’s filter and give it a good cleaning before you start for the day. Wouldn’t it be nice to put away really clean dishes later today? If you don’t know how to clean your dishwasher’s filter or aren’t sure if yours has one, just search on YouTube for your dishwasher’s brand and model and how to clean its filter. Some ingenious person has likely posted a great tutorial for you.

For example, Heather has a Bosch and its filter is in the bottom near the front. she gives it a quick twist. Then it pops out, and all she has to do is give it a quick scrub under hot, running water before replacing it.

How long should cleaning your kitchen take?

Great question. How motivated are you? How much energy do you have? Do you have a lot of dishes to do before you can get started? There are a lot of factors to consider. The answer is we don’t know.

Got your timer? See you Saturday, Let’s go!

Do you need more helpful articles for kitchen cleaning?

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