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Cleaning the Kitchen

Publication Number: IS1979
View as PDF: IS1979.pdf

Clean & Healthy Housing

Avoid pests, falls, and other hazards by keeping your kitchen floors, countertops, cabinets, drawers, and vent hood clean, dry, and safe.

Kitchen drawing

You are not the only one looking for food in your kitchen. Roaches, rodents, ants, and other pests look there, too. Keep pests out of your home by NOT providing the three things they need to live: food, water, and a place to hide.

Sink and Countertops
Leaving dirty dishes or water in the sink invites pests!

Scrape dishes and throw scraps into the garbage can so they won’t get in the dishwater or clog the sink drain.

Wash and air dry dishes right after each meal.

Wipe up crumbs and spills on countertops.

Wipe and dry the sink and counters.

Use a cutting board or plate to protect countertops. Never cut directly on the counter or paper!

Keep all food in tightly covered containers.

Wiping up a spill

Cover and refrigerate leftover food immediately.

Do not set hot pans on bare counters. Use a hot plate or towel to protect the surface.

Vent Hood and Appliances
Run the stove hood vent while cooking and 30 minutes after to remove moisture that can cause mold.

Clean the vent hood and stove often to avoid grease fires.

Clean under and around toasters, appliances, and counters each time you use them.

Boil water in your microwave before cleaning it to make wiping out splatters easier.

Throwing away trash

Keep your garbage container tightly covered.

Empty the trash daily.

Get rid of clutter and places bugs can hide, including grocery bags and boxes.

Cabinets and Drawers
Keep the cabinet under the sink dry. Repair leaks.

Empty your cabinets and drawers occasionally, looking for crumbs, moisture, or signs of pests.

Do not use adhesive contact paper to line shelves or drawers. Pests like to eat the adhesive and hide in the paper, too.

Watch for bugs when unpacking groceries and putting them away.

Store dry foods in glass jars or plastic containers that pests cannot get into easily.

Keep cleaning supplies out of the reach of children.

Read labels and use products according to the directions.

Use baits or gel products (not sprays or foggers) to get rid of roaches or ants. Give baits time to work. They will help kill the nest of bugs you cannot see, not just the few you can see. If you use spray and baits, then the baits will not work! Be patient.

Seal cracks around walls or cabinets where roaches can get in.


Keep floors dry to prevent falls.

Wipe up spills immediately.

Mop or wash your floors at least weekly to prevent buildup of dirt or grease.

Keep floors clear and free of clutter.


Keel, Martha. Household Cleaning series. University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service.

Harrison, Mary. Keeping It Clean series. Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.

Bowen, Cathy. Keeping Homes Safe and Families Healthy series. College of Agricultural Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, adapted from materials originally prepared by The Ohio State University.

Bode, Marilyn. Basic Home Maintenance series. Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service.

National Center for Healthy Housing. Essentials of Healthy Homes. Healthy Homes Training Center.

Healthy Homes Partnership. Help Yourself to a Healthy Home.

Information Sheet 1979 (POD-04-17)

Distributed by David Buys, PhD, MSPH, Extension State Health Specialist, Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion. Written by Dr. Bobbie
, retired Extension Professor, Human Sciences.

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