How Often Should You Be Cleaning Your Pantry?

Everyone likes to keep their kitchen clean, and most people devote one day a week to scrubbing down appliances, cleaning counters, and polishing handles and other accessories. But do you give your pantry the same care and attention? Ideally, you should be cleaning your pantry about once every three months. While it doesn't get the kind of wear and tear that a kitchen island or stove top does, it still gets its fair share of spills and crumbs.

Whether you have a walk-in pantry or a tall cabinet earmarked for your dry goods, each pantry needs a thorough scrub down once a season. While you might think everything is relatively contained on its shelves — after all, the pasta is kept in its plastic packaging, and the condiments are safely stowed inside glass bottles — accidents still happen. Dust accumulates in corners, grime collects on the shelves, and things begin to spill. Whether the bottle of honey began leaking or some cereal crumbs got crushed underneath their box, things aren't as pristine in there as you might think.

How to properly clean out your pantry

Treat cleaning out your pantry like you would a spring cleaning task. You will want to do more than quickly wipe it down. Instead, remove everything from the closet or cupboard to give yourself full access to the empty shelves. If you have a large pantry, feel free to remove things shelf by shelf so as not to clutter your kitchen with misplaced items. Once the pantry is clear, vacuum each shelf, paying special attention to corners. Once all the dust and crumbs have been removed, take a microfiber cloth saturated with all-purpose spray or soap and water and wipe down each ledge. If you use sorting bins, do the same thing to each box and container.

Next up are the pantry ingredients themselves. First, ensure all of the items are still usable. Toss anything that is past its expiration date. Then give each item a quick wipe down with a damp cloth, ensuring it's dust-free. This is also a great time to remove any bottle drips or sticky fingerprints. If you do this quarterly, you'll have a pristine pantry that will need little upkeep.