How to Clean Your Kitchen Before You Move

Cleaning your kitchen for the final time before moving out can be a daunting task. Between the greasy residue above the stove and crumbs in the far corners of your cupboards, a lot accumulates over the period you live in your home. Removing that grime can be one of the biggest chores you have to tackle before turning the lights out one last time.

Whether you’re prepping for a walkthrough at a rental or just want to leave your house in the best possible shape for the buyers, this list will help you deep clean your kitchen over the course of a few weeks and leave it spotless on your last day.

What You’ll Need

Before beginning, gather your cleaning supplies. You can use store-bought products, but many homemade ones are just as effective, if not even more so. Decide which route you want to go, or use a combination of store-bought and homemade cleaners. Here’s what you’ll need to get started.

  • Cleaning gloves
  • Sponge or dish towel
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Paper towels
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Dish soap
  • Oven cleaner
  • Floor cleaner
  • Products for special surfaces (wood, stainless steel, etc.)

For a more natural approach, you’ll want these items.

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Table salt
  • Lemons

Two to Three Weeks Before Moving

Getting a head start on deep cleaning your kitchen will help reduce your stress in the days leading up to your move. Plan to spend some time while cooking on weeknights or an hour on the weekend to kick off the cleaning process.

  1. Decide what items are essential. (Can you get by without making waffles for the next few weeks?) Begin packing those nonessential items.
  2. As you pack nonessentials, consolidate items.
  3. Sweep or vacuum crumbs from each cabinet and drawer as you empty them. Wipe down interior with an all-purpose cleaner or a mixture of one part vinegar and two parts water.
  4. Begin taking stock of your refrigerator’s contents. Although it’s too early for a thorough cleaning, you’ll have less to contend with later if you toss those expired sauces now.

One to Two Weeks Before Moving

As you continue packing the nonessential items in your kitchen, turn your attention to your appliances. You’ll probably have to wipe them down on moving day, but by doing the deep cleaning now, you’ll free yourself up for other tasks on moving day.


  1. Pull the racks out of your oven, and depending on their size, either run them through the dishwasher or soak them in a tub with dishwasher detergent tablets. (Don’t forget to line the tub with towels to prevent damaging it.)
  2. Meanwhile, clean the oven’s interior. If using an aerosol oven cleaner, open windows for ventilation, and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Otherwise, mix a solution of water and dish soap (one cup water to one tablespoon dish soap), and spray the interior. Let stand five minutes. Scrub the grime away, and wipe with damp sponge.
  4. Vacuum or sweep any crumbs from warming drawer. Wipe the oven’s exterior.


  1. Remove the racks and set aside.
  2. Unscrew the filter and rinse it with hot water. Soak it in a solution of hot water and dish soap, using a toothbrush to scrub any remaining gunk away. Repeat with any inner filters.
  3. Next, pop off the arm (or arms). Rinse with hot water, and scrub to remove any debris. Use a toothpick to dislodge any buildup in the arm’s holes.
  4. Spray the interior with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe down.
  5. Replace the racks.
  6. Wipe the exterior with an all-purpose cleaner, followed by a microfiber cloth.

One to Two Days Before Moving

Some cleaning tasks have to be put off until the last few days. However, if you’ve been doing a little at a time over the last few weeks, you should be well on your way to having your kitchen completely clean.


  1. Tackle the refrigerator by removing all items, including those in the freezer. Toss any expired and moldy items you’ve missed.
  2. Slide out removable shelves and drawers. Soak them in hot, soapy water.
  3. Wipe down the interior with an all-purpose cleaner or mixture of one cup water, one cup vinegar and one teaspoon dish soap.
  4. Scrub any crusty food remnants or discolorations with a baking soda and water paste.
  5. Rinse off shelves and drawers. Dry and replace.
  6. Return items to the refrigerator.
  7. Wipe down the exterior. If your refrigerator is stainless steel, mix one part vinegar to two parts water and wipe down with a microfiber cloth.


  1. Fill a bowl with one cup water. Cut a lemon in half, squeeze juice into bowl and add lemon halves. Microwave for a few minutes, then let sit in your microwave for a few minutes.
  2. Remove bowl, and wipe interior. The steam should have loosened all food particles, but if not, scrub with a baking soda paste.
  3. Clean the exterior with an all-purpose cleaner, dish soap and water or a mixture of vinegar and water. Wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.


  1. Empty any remaining cabinets and drawers. Pack the items, vacuum any crumbs and wipe down the interiors.
  2. Unscrew the pulls and knobs. Soak them in hot, soapy water.
  3. Use a toothbrush to clean debris from exterior crevices. Wipe down the exterior with soapy water, rinsing frequently so you aren’t smearing the grime around. Dry with a microfiber cloth.
  4. Rinse pulls and knobs. Dry them and screw them in place.


  1. Pull off the knobs, and soak them in hot, soapy water.
  2. Remove the vent-hood screen, and add it to the soapy water.
  3. If your stove has burners or grates, place them in a mixture off two parts water, one part vinegar and a squirt of dish soap.
  4. Some stove tops, like glass, must be cleaned with special products. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning yours.
  5. Rinse and replace the vent-hood screen, knobs and burners or grates.

Moving Day

It shouldn’t take much to put the finishing touches on your kitchen. Start by wiping down the appliances’ exteriors, stove top and cabinets one last time, if necessary. Then, turn your attention to the remaining tasks.


  1. Fill the sink with a mixture of warm water and a splash of bleach. Let set for five minutes before draining and wiping clean. Use a baking soda paste to remove stains.
  2. Or, use a damp Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to wipe down the sink.
  3. Scrub drain seam with a toothbrush. Move to the faucet, using the toothbrush on its details and seams.
  4. Stuff a vinegar-soaked slice of bread in the garbage disposal. Let set for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, fill a baggie halfway with vinegar. Put over the faucet head, and secure with a rubber band. Let set for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Run the garbage disposal, flushing with water. For a pleasant smell, follow that with a few slices of citrus peel. Run the garbage disposal again, and flush with water.
  7. When the time is up, remove the baggie from the faucet. Scrub the head with a dish brush and rinse with warm water. Wipe entire faucet clean with a damp cloth.
  8. If you’re having trouble with water spots on the faucet, scrub the spots with half a lemon.

Countertops and Floors

  1. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to clean the counter without discoloring or damaging the surface. (Most all-purpose cleaners work well on laminate, quartz and soap stone.)
  2. You’ll also need to be careful of your floors. Begin by vacuuming or sweeping the floor.
  3. Then, continue cleaning. Tile can be mopped with warm water and an all-purpose cleaner. Wood, bamboo and other surfaces usually require specialized products.

The Day After

Moving day can be hectic, and you may not be able to clean everything by the end of the day. If that’s the case, you’ll have to return some time in the next few days to finish, especially if you have a walkthrough scheduled.

However, one of the advantages of hiring a moving company is you don’t have to be as involved with the actual move. Professionals move the boxes and load the furniture, allowing you to focus on other tasks, like cleaning. Movingservicebytwoguys, we offer residential, commercial, and corporate moving solutions. We do the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to. With no-contact services currently available, we’re here to help you move safely and effectively, no matter where or when.