With spring having sprung (and the words of Marie Kondo echoing in my head all these years later), I’ve been doing my best to kick-start spring cleaning before summer arrives. But one thing I’ve learned after all these years, is it’s so easy to miss certain tasks that aren’t necessarily hard, but don’t jump right out as I wipe down the counters for the 20th time this week.
So no matter how you like to approach your spring cleaning—in one big, don’t-bother-me-this-weekend blowout, or little by little, day by day, here are 7 easy tasks that you won’t want to forget on your kitchen spring cleaning checklist.
This post has been revised for 2023 with input from Christina.
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1. Hunt for the hidden mess
Some recent oven repairs reminded me how important it is to get behind and under and inside our kitchen appliances, drawers, and cupboards, at least once a year. Pull appliances away from the wall or use a flat dust mop head to get under the stove, behind the refrigerator, or on top of your cabinets. And don’t forget to give shelves a quick wipe to remove dust or grime that tends to collect in kitchens. (If you’ve ever had to deal with ants, you’ll know why this “hidden” cleanup is worth the effort.)
While you’re at it, take a look into those drawers (you know the ones) and ask yourself: Do I still need these plastic baby bowls now that the kids have gone to college? How many shot glasses are too many? And why am I keeping all these twisty ties and battered koozies in the junk drawer? It’s surprisingly satisfying to clear this stuff out, and you really won’t miss that old koozie.
2. Disinfect your cutting boards
While you should be replacing any cutting boards that are waaaaay past their prime with something like these gorgeous (though splurgy!) walnut cutting boards from Williams-Sonoma or these inexpensive color-coded cutting board mats, you can insure the ones you keep are as clean as possible by trying one of Jane’s methods for getting cutting boards properly sanitized.
3. Go through your reusable water bottles
I know I can get pretty lazy about washing out my water bottle, especially since it’s basically attached to my person all day and then sitting on my nightstand while I sleep. But these 3 techniques for disinfecting reusable water bottles, using something like this Klean Kanteen brush set, are so simple and quick, I have no excuse to put off this task anymore. Don’t forget the nozzles which get pretty nasty too! And, this is a great time to also whittle down your collection to get rid of bottles that are way past their prime.
4. Buy new kitchen sponges
Super, super easy: Replace your kitchen sponges—Liz has been swearing by the sponges from Skura Style (above), which repel bacteria growth and fade in design when it’s time to replace them—because, as you’ll learn in this article, attempting to wash your sponges clean of bacteria is right up there with curing the common cold or inventing a perpetual motion machine.
(Psst: You can even get Skura Style sponges via subscription so you never have to remember to buy new sponges again!)
5. Wash and/or replace any filters
Has your refrigerator been begging you to change the water filter for months? When is the last time you washed your greasy range hood filter? Have you dared to see what is in your dishwasher filter? These are all such easy things to change or clean, but I tend to stall. No more stalling.
While you’re at it: Give the garbage disposal a quick clean out too—sooooo easy!
6. Clean your knife block — or just get rid of it
Our long-term editor Kate became disillusioned with her knife block, thanks to an article about all the icky bacteria that apparently grows in those deep, dark slots. Yuck. So she’s suggested 3 different, non-gross ways to store your knives that keeps them both accessible and clean. I’m calling Kate an influencer now since she influenced me to get rid of our knife block and to replace it with one of these double-sided magnetic holders.
If you’re really attached to your block, though, I recommend disinfecting it around once a month. Kitchen spring cleaning is a good time to start.
7. Konmari your fridge (but on your own schedule)
Oh, my favorite chore! (Sarcasm.) I am always glad when I’ve finished Konmaring my fridge, but I don’t necessarily agree that it needs to be done all in one marathon session. If you’re short on time, pick a section—like your condiment shelves or the vegetable drawer—and spread out cleaning the entire fridge over the course of a week or so.
No, my refrigerator and pantry will never look like those aspirational TikTok videos with their multiple ice cube designs and clear glass containers, but just knowing that I’ve tossed that crusty mustard with 1/16th of a teaspoon left at the bottom makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.