It's your kitchen's biggest day of the year. Here's how to make sure it's ready for the work.


Hosting Thanksgiving this year? While the task itself might seem daunting, all of your preparation, to-do lists, and Google Docs will be for naught if your kitchen (AKA Home Base) isn't clean. You may be tempted to wake up on Thanksgiving, make a big pot of coffee, and get to work — but not so fast. Take some time over the day or two before Turkey Day to clean your kitchen, even if you are about to get it dirty all over again. Here are a few key tips and tricks for how to clean your kitchen before Thanksgiving. We promise it'll make the turkey taste even better.

woman washing dish in white sink
Credit: Michael H/Getty Images

1. Do a fridge scrub.

First things first, clean out the fridge and freezer. You need to make room for the imminent mountain of groceries and leftovers by emptying any unnecessary items out. This means old takeout containers, freezer-burned meat, almost-empty containers of coffee creamer, and seen-better-days jars of relish. Wipe down all the shelves and drawers while you're at it.

2. Make room for all the dishes.

Now, you know you'll need all the dishwasher and dish rack space you can get. Make sure both are empty — don't forget to clear away breakfast dishes and coffee mugs the morning of, too.

3. Clear the counters.

Even in the largest of kitchens, almost every surface seems to be used for Thanksgiving dinner prep. Take this time to stow away any appliances or decor you won't be using — the more space, the better. Wipe down all surfaces, from counters and tabletops to shelves, stools, and the sink. You don't want to have a turkey in both hands when you remember just how grimy your sink is, and you never know just where that bowl of cranberries might end up in the thick of things.

Keep Reading: Try these deliciously indulgent Fancy Crusted Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes.

4. Ready the pots and pans.

Now, wipe out and wash all of those large roasting pans, serving platters, and pie plates gathering dust in a faraway cabinet. This includes china, larger baking dishes, pie plates, fancy wine glasses, gravy boats, and huge salad bowls. If you can't remember the last time you used it, wash it for good measure.

5. Create a clean slate.

Lastly, if you use your kitchen table and/or counters as makeshift storage space for items that (honestly) shouldn't go there, such as mail and loose change, find these things a new home.

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