From Spotlight: Choose Your Own Spring Cleaning Plan!

4 Spring Cleaning Must-Dos for Home Chefs

When’s the last time you washed the knobs on your stove?

A gas stovetop with food crumbs, green teapot
Image: Jamie Bonilla

Tasty magic happens in your kitchen. And sometimes, a little of that magic is left behind. Only it's not so tasty. More like stinky. And sticky. Yuck.

Even if you're not into the spring ritual of deep cleaning your entire house, tackling some tough spots in your kitchen can make it feel like you did.

Especially if that's where you spend most of your fun time. Here are four things all home chefs should focus on for a cleaner, more organized kitchen:

#1 Cleaning the Cracks and Crevices of Appliances

Even with regular wipe-downs, your appliances can get a little funky in the nooks and crannies. We're talking about the grills, knobs, and exhaust filter on the range; the door crevices and rubber linings on the dishwasher and fridge; and the individual parts of small appliances.

Range grills and filters can usually go in the dishwasher. But if not — or if the crud is really bad — some elbow grease with a cleaning brush, baking soda, and soap do the trick. For a really grimy range hood filter, try boiling in water with 1/2 cup baking soda.

Appliance knobs do well with a good soapy soak, then scrubbing with a brush and baking soda.

Cleaning the on your fridge and dishwasher with simple soap and water will help them last longer and keep seals tight.

#2 Organizing by Zones

Reorganize your kitchen to create zones for all your kitchen tasks, recommends Alyssa Trosclair, a professional organizer with Emend.

Think about everything you do in your kitchen from food prep to washing pots to brewing coffee.

Then unload, wipe down, and reload your cabinets, placing items that are used for a similar purpose together (French press and coffee mugs; knives and cutting boards, etc.) in the area where they will be needed.

Related: 10 Photos of Hyper-Organized Kitchens

#3 Eliminating Outdated Staples

Clear out flour, oils, vinegars, and sauces that are past their expiration date — they lose their optimal flavor and can go rancid.

Also toss dried spices that have been open longer than a year (hello there, turmeric from your first apartment). Fresh spices will bring a bigger bang to your recipes, and getting rid of ones you never use will clear out storage space.

To avoid waste in the future, buy small amounts where bulk spices are sold.

#4 Washing Grocery Totes

Speaking of rancid, when was the last time you cleaned your reusable grocery bags? Studies have found bacteria easily transports from bag-to-food-to-refrigerator, increasing the chances of food poisoning and cross-contamination.

Throw them in the washer or wash by hand with hot soapy water.

Related: The Stinkiest Spots in Your Kitchen (and How to De-Stink Them)

Author photo of Amy Howell Hirt
Amy Howell Hirt

Amy Howell Hirt has written about home design for 13 years. Her work has been published by outlets including "The Home Depot," "USA Today," and Yahoo! Homes. She previously served as home and garden writer and columnist for "The Cincinnati Enquirer."