An open-shelf pantry is not only a great storage solution for a small rental space but also an easy way to protect your pantry against unwanted pests. Open storage makes it easy to spot a spill and keep an eye out for moths or mice. As an extra precaution, keep all food in glass jars or containers a few shelves off the floor.
Refrigerator handles, faucets, light switches, and other often-touched areas are hotbeds for germs—especially if you're living with roommates. Keep disinfecting wipes on hand to quickly clean these spots. Make it a rule that when you get up to make coffee in the morning—or some other activity you do every day—you also wipe down these surfaces.
If you live with roommates—and even if you don't—assign daily, weekly, and monthly rental cleaning tasks. Keep a chore calendar in a common area to help everyone stay on track. To keep things fresh, switch up responsibilities each month.
As tempting as it is, don't let the gap between your stove and the wall turn into a fallen food graveyard. Every few months, pull out the stove and deep-clean the floor and walls around it. Protect the floor from scratches by laying down towels or furniture sliders.
If you've been using the same sponge since move-in day, it's time to toss it. Replace sponges every two weeks, or sanitize daily in the dishwasher or microwave. Hand towels and rags should also be replaced and laundered regularly.
You know that sticky spot behind the toaster that's been there since you moved into your apartment or condo? Get rid of it for good with a homemade citrus scrub. Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 cup salt to form a paste. Apply to rust, stains, and residue, then scrub and rinse off.
If your rental kitchen has a lot of vertical space, invest in a step stool and hand vacuum. Set up the stool once a week to reach any cobwebs or dust in hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. The long attachments on the vacuum will come in handy for reaching low spots, too, like under base cabinets and between appliances.
If you're lucky enough to have one, keep your dishwasher sparkling and running like new. Start by cleaning the exterior doors, then move onto the interior tub and accessories. If you don't have a dishwasher, keep your sink in check by sanitizing it once a day.