Handy Helpful Kitchen Cleaning Checklist

So you’ve taken the house-cleaning process to heart, and your wife is very happy.  Or at least she *was*.  Now she expects you to do more than just dishes, putting laundry away, stacking paper, and cleaning the toilet.  Where do you start?

Today, we’ll start with dishes, or more accurately: Cleaning the Kitchen, Level 1.  For many women, simply doing the dishes is not enough. There are a bunch of other things in the kitchen that can make a kitchen impossible to work in, or that can turn your kitchen into a science lab rather than a food preparation room.

Don’t be scared.  It will be okay.  I’m here to help.

Kitchen CleaningFirst, lets break down what normally exists in the kitchen.

  • Food that needs to go in the freezer
  • Food that needs to go in the fridge
  • Food that needs to go into a cabinet or pantry
  • Food that stays on the counter (to look pretty)
  • Beverages that go in the fridge
  • Beverages that go in the freezer
  • Beverages that go in the cabinet or pantry
  • Cooking utensils
  • Eating utensils
  • Big Knives
  • Steak Knives
  • Cutting Boards
  • Dishes for eating food
  • Dishes for serving food
  • Dish towels
  • Paper towels
  • Dish Soap
  • Sponges/dishrags
  • Other cleaning chemicals

Cleaning the Kitchen Step 1

Remove non-kitchen items from the kitchen.

Take the list above and bring it to your kitchen.  Is there anything in the kitchen that is NOT on this list?  Grocery bags?  Shoes?  Keys?  The remote? Toothpaste that was bagged with food at the store and wasn’t brought to the bathroom?  That is where you start.

You may want to discuss with your wife beforehand about where you should put the  non-kitchen items while you are cleaning the kitchen.  Is there a designated place to put them until they can be dealt with later?  Should you figure out where they go and put them all away right then and there?  In my case, my husband puts all of the non-kitchen items on the dining room table, then we figure out how to deal with the stuff later.

Cleaning the Kitchen Step 2

Put Food/Beverages away

There were many different types of food and beverages on the list.  I suggest starting with food that goes in the freezer, then the fridge, then the cabinet and/or pantry, then the counter.  Most of the time, this task goes very quickly, but makes a HUGE difference.

Cleaning the Kitchen Step 3

Do the Dishes

Doing the dishes can be broken up into three parts:

1.  Put clean dishes away
  • This allows you to clear the space to put the dishes as you wash the dirty ones.  If you don’t put the clean ones away first, you can run out of room, which will hinder your ability to do everything you need to do.
2.  Make sure you have all of the dishes from around the house
  • There really is nothing worse than feeling like a rockstar because you finished all of the dishes in the kitchen, and then finding an entire sink-full of dishes in the living room.  Save yourself the heartache.  Grab them all before you go.  (or ask your wife to get them for you.  If she sees that you are trying to do ALL the dishes, she may be excited to do it!
3.  Wash dirty dishes (either by hand or in the dishwasher, or both)
  • If you have a dishwasher, rinse the solid crap off of the dishes, then load the dishwasher.
  • Make sure you know which dishes should not go into the dishwasher (like pots and pans or expensive knives)  and wash those by hand.

If you’re so inclined, you can now dry the newly cleaned dishes and put them away… which will save you (or your wife) from having to do Part 1 next time.


Cleaning the Kitchen Step 4

Wipe Down

By now, you’ve removed all of the extraneous crap, put all the food away,and  the dishes are either in the dishwasher or air-drying.  This is the point that many husbands think they are done and exit the kitchen with a victorious swagger, and get disappointed when their wives don’t swoon over their kitchen domination. Don’t fall into this trap.  You’re SO CLOSE!
What your wife sees that you may have missed:

  • a sea of water on the counter by the sink from washing the dishes
  • crumbs near where the cutting board used to be
  • melted butter that has re-solidified on the counter
  • bits of vegetables that leaped off of the cutting board before cooking
  • spices that fled the scene of the plate before the food hit the pan

Don’t be discouraged.  Like I said, you are SO CLOSE.  All you need to do is take a paper towel and kitchen cleaning spray, or a pre-moistened cleaning wipe (not a baby-wipe), and wipe down the countertops.  If you are wiping up any form of crumb, spice, or food, wipe the stuff off of the counter into your hand so that you can dump it in the garbage, or wipe the crumbs off of the counter directly into the garbage can.  DO NOT wipe everything off of the counter  onto the floor, unless you want to sweep and mop the kitchen also.

A good test for whether or not you are done is to take your clean hand and run it across the surface of each counter.  If your hand comes away wet, sticky, gooey, or covered in some form of food, you are not done wiping down the counters.  If your hand comes away slightly damp and nice-smelling, you are solid.

Go swagger victoriously.

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Filed Under: Cleaning 101featuredHow to


About the Author: Abby Dryer's goal in life is to bridge the communication gap between men and women. She finds herself giving lots of marital advice to her guy friends whose wives don’t want to have to explain *everything* to their husbands. “Women are hard to understand. I’m a woman, and *I* don’t even get us sometimes! Goodhusbanding is a great guide to help men understand their women, and hopefully communicate with a little more confidence, because that’s what works… communication!”

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