Easy Steps for Cleaning the Kitchen

  • Maria Shollenbarger

Kitchen duty isn't easy. The main culprit: grease. Before you start combating it, move small appliances off the counters to ensure that bacteria (kitchen enemy No. 2) won't flourish underneath the toaster oven or the coffeemaker.

If You Have 15 Minutes

  • Clean countertops and the sink. Spray disinfectant in the sink and let it soak. "Otherwise the product won't have time to kill all the bacteria and viruses you're trying to remove," says Janice Stewart, owner of Castle Keepers, a professional cleaning service in Charleston, South Carolina. Meanwhile, spritz the counters with disinfectant. Then scrub the sink with a sponge, rinse well, and dry. Return to the counters and wipe dry with a fresh cotton or microfiber cloth.

  • Sweep or dry-mop the floor. Make a pass using an electrostatic mop (like those from Swiffer) or cloth. This will pick up dirt and hair and make wet-mopping more efficient.

  • Clean the refrigerator handle. It takes only seconds to wipe down this bacteria-friendly spot with disinfectant.

If You Have 30 Minutes, Add the Following

  • Wet-mop the floor. A few spritzes of an all-purpose cleaner and a damp microfiber mop will do the trick. "You can finish the kitchen floor in minutes―with no dirty water bucket," says speed-cleaning expert Laura Dellutri.

  • Wipe down appliances. Clean the surfaces of the gadgets.

If You Have an Hour, Add the Following

  • Wash the cabinet fronts. Wipe from top to bottom with a soft sponge and a solution of warm water and dish soap. If the cabinets are wood, use a wood cleanser.

If You Have Half a Day, Add the Following

  • Deep-clean appliances. To freshen the refrigerator's interior, clean it with a solution of three tablespoons baking soda and four cups warm water. No self-cleaning oven? Wipe down the inside with an all-purpose cleanser. Use a plastic scraper (or an old credit card) to get bits of food off the racks and drip pan.

  • Dust and degrime inside and out. Remove crumbs from inside cabinets with a vacuum attachment or a damp cloth.