Let's start with the kitchen because, well, why not? There's usually not a lot of things to go-through compared to the other rooms, so I feel like it's a pretty straightforward place to start.
Please do remember to clean from top to bottom. Also, it's usually easiest to circle your way around the kitchen, moving from one completed area to the next. Start just to the right of the stove and move clockwise around the kitchen, saving the stove, sink and floor for last. Doing this helps to avoid spreading around grease and dirt.
Your kitchen should sparkle like new when you are done! source
I will detail a few specific things I think especially need to be focused on, and you can fill in the rest from the list below based on what you think is necessary.
First, make up a few spray bottles filled at least half way each with the following ingredients:
Pure white vinegar (and one for the citrus infused one too)
Half vinegar, half water
A couple tablespoons of liquid castile soap mixed with at least a couple cups water and around 10-20 drops of essential oils. I usually use tea tree, orange and lemon but you can use whatever you like.
Next, make sure you have your other supplies handy:
The first thing to do would be to start with removing the drip pans of the stove and placing them in the side of the sink that you can plug up (and go ahead and put the stopper in) so they can have plenty of time to soak. Next, sprinkle them with some washing soda making sure to concentrate on any areas that have cooked-on drips, and then pour some of your DIY Citrus Infused Vinegar (or regular distilled white vinegar) over the washing soda. This should create a nice little fizz. Let it sit for a few minutes while you are starting on another task, and then add some hot water and let soak until you are done with the kitchen. By the time you are done with the rest of the kitchen, you should be able to lightly scrub the pans and the spots should come right off without any hassle. Rinse off the pans when you are done scrubbing, dry, and replace onto your cleaned stovetop.
A place for everything and everything in it's place. source
When cleaning the hood over your stove, remove any filters, etc and make sure to really scrub anything you can reach with a vinegar infusion and washing soda (or regular vinegar with the washing soda), making sure to rinse well once you are done scrubbing. The manufacturer usually recommends changing the filters once every few months at most, so you can do this if you have the filters on hand, or put it on the to-do-later list. The other removable elements of the hood may need some special soaking much like the drip pans from the stove, or may just need a good scrubbing. Again, the citrus infused vinegar would really come in handy here, along with any other greasy spots around the kitchen (like maybe the top of the refrigerator).
A quick tip: Some things might be easier to clean outside, like refrigerator drawers, garbage cans, and window screens. You can use your castile soap mixture here without fear of killing the grass. Plus, cleaning outside gives you a break and some sunshine after spending so much time in the kitchen.
When it comes time to clean the sink, first clean with the castile soap mixture you made, then spray with your half white vinegar/water mixture, and finally spray with the hydrogen peroxide. (Don't mix the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together - spray one followed by the other.) This process really disinfects your sink, which actually harbors more germs than your toilet seat (eek!).
And lastly, the floor. Before mopping the floor, you'll want to get up all the little bits of food and what not that have fallen throughout the cleaning process. For this, you can either sweep or vacuum. I know a lot of grandmothers would balk at the idea of vacuuming the kitchen, but why not? I do it all the time. For some of the corner or hard-to-get-to spots you may need to get the hose out, but I find this is usually quicker than sweeping. Just make sure your vacuum is sealed and functioning properly, so that it's not blowing dust onto your freshly cleaned surfaces!
To mop the floor, fill a bucket with equal parts white vinegar and hot water and mop away (don't worry about the vinegar smell, it dissipates as it dries). If you wanted to really be sure you're disinfecting the floor, you could instead mop with 1 gallon of hot water mixed with 1/4 Cup of Borax. You don't need to rinse off either of these solutions after you've mopped, and your floor will shine when you are done with both too!
Remember gratitude: I may not have my dream kitchen, but I am very grateful for the small but functional one we have now! source
Remove and clean window coverings and screens.
Wash windows and window sills.
Dust light fixtures.
For each cabinet or drawer: Remove items, wipe out drawer, place items back neatly. Donate unneeded items.
Wash and sanitize cutting boards.
Wash cabinet doors and knobs.
Clean and organize pantry. Check food expiration dates.
This is a good time to take note of what food is going to waste, so you can try to avoid this in the future.
Clean oven and oven hood.
Clean and organize fridge and freezer. Defrost freezer, if necessary. Check food expiration dates.
Clean under fridge and stove.
Clean refrigerator coils.
Fill a microwavable bowl with water and 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes (don't open the door! You want the steam to really sit in there for a while). After 5 minutes, wipe everything down.
Clean crumbs out of toaster.
Clean and descale kettle.
An easy way to do this is to add a couple tablespoons of white vinegar to the kettle, fill at least half way with water and boil the kettle. Then rinse it out and you are done!
Wipe down any other counter appliances.
Wash switch plates.
Wash walls and trim as needed.
Wash room entry and/or pantry doors and door knobs.
Wash garbage cans.
Clean and tidy under sink. Check for any leaks and repair if necessary.
Wash counters and back splash.
Clean stove top.
Wash sink. (See above!)
Pour around 1/2 cup of baking soda in the drain. Pour around 1 cup of vinegar and let it fizz away. After about 5-10 minutes, pour boiling water down the drain and voila!
If you have a garbage disposal, you can run it with some of the citrus peels from the citrus infused vinegar (or any citrus peel), along with some ice cubes and salt. This cleans the blades of the disposal.
Wash heating/AC vent covers.
Clean baseboards with a damp cloth.
Sweep or vacuum and wash floor. (See above!)
Reseal grout lines, if necessary.
Let me know how your kitchen looks when you are done! I'll be back towards the end of the week with the next post: The bathroom & laundry room. And if you've missed the previous posts, you can check out the introduction here and the supply list here. Happy Cleaning!
**Update: you can find the next post in the series here!**