Professional cleaners explain how to clean kitchen drawers in 5 simple steps

Take your kitchen drawers from cluttered and dirty to spotless and clean in no time at all

A dark green kitchen with large pendant lights and a kitchen island
(Image credit: Future / Brent Darby Photography Ltd)

Kitchen drawers are magnets for mess and grime. Whether it's spilled spices, breadcrumbs, or just the usual kitchen clutter, these hardworking spaces can collect a surprising amount of debris. 

Thankfully, with the right approach, cleaning kitchen drawers can be simple and straightforward. Make this task a regular part of cleaning your kitchen, and you'll no doubt find that your space feels fresher and you can find everything you need more easily. 

Keep reading to find out what five simple steps professional cleaners recommend. 

How to clean kitchen drawers

'When it comes to cleaning kitchen drawers, you'll need to use a bit of elbow grease,' says Delah Gomasi, professional cleaner and Founder of MaidForYou. 'Left over food stains, cleaning chemical stains, and other dirt and grime are more prevalent in kitchen drawers than elsewhere in the home.'

1. Remove everything

minimalist style kitchen rustic feel

(Image credit: Roundhouse)

'Kitchen drawers get messy sometimes, so I ask my clients to clean out their kitchen drawers every six months,' says professional organizer and Owner of DNQ Solutions Diane Quintana. 'The process is similar to organizing kitchen drawers. Start one drawer at a time, taking everything out and evaluating whether the items in the drawer are things you use.'

After you have removed everything and set it aside, you will be able to see how much cleaning is required. 

2. Vacuum and dust the drawers

Before you bring the soap and water out, it's important to remove loose debris and crumbs from your drawers. 

Attach the crevice tool to your vacuum cleaner (read our guide to vacuum cleaner attachments if you don't know which one that is) and gently vacuum the drawers. Pay careful attention to the edges and corners where debris can accumulate and try to be thorough but not overzealous, as you don't want to scratch any surfaces.

After vacuuming, some finer dust may remain. Use a soft brush or a microfibre cloth to gently wipe this away. At this stage, Delah Gomsai recommends using a magic eraser (which you can purchase from Walmart) to remove any hardened stains or scuff marks in the drawers.

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The Brigii cordless handheld vacuum was rated highly by the Homes & Gardens team. The compact design makes it ideal for vacuuming tight spaces like kitchen drawers. 

3. Wash the drawers

'To wash the drawers, fill a small bucket with warm, soapy water and a little Dawn dish soap,' instructs Delah Gomsai. 'You can also add a small touch of bleach to help reduce kitchen odors.' 

'You'll want to use a sponge rather than a microfibre cloth for this task. After you have wiped the drawers thoroughly, you'll want to rinse your sponge and repeat until your sponge runs clear. Once that's done, rinse the drawers with water and wipe with a microfibre cloth until dry.'

4. Let them dry fully

It's important that you allow your kitchen drawers to dry completely before lining and restocking them. Moisture trapped inside drawers can encourage mold growth and cause your drawers and kitchen cupboards to smell musty. 

5. Line and organize them

Green kitchen drawers storing crockery

(Image credit: Future Plc and Colin Poole)

Before you restock your drawers with food or utensils, you may want to take some time to organize deep drawers with dividers or the best kitchen organizers. Ask yourself: Is anything broken? Are there duplicates or triplicates that you don't need? Only put back things that you will use again and items that belong in that drawer. 

'To prevent your drawers from becoming grimy over time, I highly recommend adding non-adhesive rubber liners to your kitchen drawers too,' says Delah Gomsai. 'If there's space, you may also want to add an open box of baking soda to remove any lingering odors.'

Once you've cleaned your dirty kitchen drawers, consider wiping down and cleaning your kitchen cabinets to remove grease and grime from their surfaces. 

Gabriella Dyson
Head of Solved

Gabriella is Head of Solved at Homes & Gardens. She is a DIY enthusiast and a lover of all things interior design, often found antiquing or browsing the aisles of her local hardware store. 

She has a particular passion for historic buildings and is in the process of renovating a Victorian coachhouse in the British countryside. 

For much of the past decade, Gabriella has worked as a freelance writer, crafting copy for national publications and renowned homeware brands. Most recently, she worked on Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine, focusing on case studies for the magazine and website, as well as writing features about issues surrounding historic and listed building projects.