Hello! My name is Alex, I work for a cleaning company in Dallas and I’m so happy to collaborate with Mess Maid Right NW a professional cleaning service in Portland, Oregon on this article. We wanted to share some tips for cleaning and organizing your pantry until it looks squeaky clean and gorgeous!

Nothing looks better than a clean, organized kitchen. One of the most popular Instagram trends right now is spotless, stunning pantries. They can certainly feel intimidating and overwhelming, especially if you compare your own kitchen which might have a smaller pantry or even no pantry at all. 

Well, the good news is that you can apply these tips to your pantry or even your kitchen cabinets! We understand that time and energy are limited for everyone, and unless you hire a professional cleaning service, there’s not a lot of free time available. You don’t need to own a huge farmhouse in Dallas, either. Even the smallest homes and apartments deserve a pretty kitchen, and it’s always about quality more than quantity. 

In this article, we will give you some ideas so you can give your kitchen a new, fresh vibe without needing money or cleaning expertise. Let’s find out how!

Let’s find out how to clean and organize a pantry. Source: Heather Mckean / Unsplash

Start With Decluttering

If you want a fast, simple makeover, the first action you should take is decluttering your pantry ingredients and other items. There are many ways you can declutter a home, and your pantry is a hard challenge because we have many food ingredients, and no one wants to get rid of food.  

If you have old herbs and spices that you don’t use that often and that you think might work well together, create your own herbs mix! As long as you use them fast, there’s little chance of them going bad. 

After you’ve chosen your remaining herbs, spices, and other ingredients, take them all out of your pantry/cabinets/shelves. It’s time to do some cleaning!

Professional Cleaning Service in Portland, Oregon Mess Maid Right NW organizes shelves with soda bottles.

Start by decluttering all your items and containers. Source: Erik Mclean / Unsplash

Clean Your Pantry: Wire Shelving

Now that you have all your items on display and your pantry is empty, you can grab your supplies and start cleaning! Depending on the type of material, you might use different products. Most pantries are made out of wire shelving, or wood shelving. 

If you have wire shelves, they might look sticky and greasy. This is because the plastic coating absorbs cooking oils from your kitchen. To fix this, you can use hot soapy water. The combination of heat and the degreasing properties of laundry detergent will remove grease for you. 

Wire shelves are a bit hard to clean because of every little nook and cranny. Besides soapy water, you will need a large brush, a rag, and an old toothbrush. Use your large brush and/or a microfiber cloth for cleaning the top, and the toothbrush for the sides. If the wires are especially sticky, try using concentrated liquid detergent. Apply on the surface and let it sit for 15 minutes before removing. 

Clean Your Pantry: Wooden Shelving

If you have wooden shelves, you can stick to using warm water and a microfiber cloth, followed by a clean, dry cloth. Depending on the city you live in, wood might feel cranky or without proper moisture. This happens because wood is an organic material that requires certain temperature and humidity levels. If you live in Dallas, there’s a high chance you have high changes in humidity on the same day. 

If this happens, you should use a wood cleanser or moisturizer. By moisturizing wood, you keep it healthy and free of bacteria and mold. You can purchase a manufactured product or create your own wood moisturizer if you’re into DIY cleaning products! 

You can use ¼ cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of white vinegar, and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Citrus oils such as lemon and orange are great for wood because they prevent it from drying out, besides adding a fresh, citrusy fragrance.

Professional Cleaning Service in Portland Mess Maid Right NW cleans shelves in Pantry.

Moisturize your wooden shelves occasionally. Source: Jenn Buxton / Unsplash

Don’t Forget About Your Walls!

If you have a walk-in pantry, you probably have solid walls behind your shelves. They need some cleaning too! Depending on the type of paint, you will have to decide on a cleaning product and technique. 

If your walls were painted with flat or eggshell paint, you might use a vacuum cleaner and a clean, microfiber cloth to remove any remaining dust or lint. 

Now, if your walls are satin or gloss, it’s perfectly fine to use soapy water, or even add a few tablespoons of vinegar to ½ gallon of water. You might want to double everything up for larger pantries. 

Consistency Is Key for Organizing Your Pantry

Do you know what all those stunning kitchens have in common?  They use a consistent pattern for their containers. Now, this doesn’t mean you should go out and buy 50 containers that look the same! 

You can recycle items like mason jars of jelly, mayo, and ketchup, although this will take some time. Even Deli food plastic containers are great for this! If you are a take-out food lover, save as many as you can, and in a few months, you might be able to collect 6 to 10 containers. That’s more than enough to create a pattern!

Once you have as many containers as possible, it’s time to clean and sanitize them properly.  Depending on the food that it contained, you might want to try using hot, soapy water (which works great for removing grease and oil), or you can use a 1:1 white vinegar and water mix (for cleaning and removing bacteria). 

Both glass and plastic containers are functional. Glass looks more premium, but it is also heavier, and it will break if you let it fall. Plastic is more resistant, but it might end up looking cheap. Keep this in mind when deciding which containers you will choose. 

For removing old tags, you can use hot soapy water, or a steamer if you have one (even better). Scrub using a hard-bristled cleaning brush or a wire sponge. 

If you don’t have old containers to recycle and you want to buy new ones, you have many options. You can get half-gallon mason jars for around $7 each, or 1-gallon jars for $10 each. You can choose rectangular plastic food containers with different sizes and air-tight seals for less than $30 a pack. Or you can stick with deli food containers that are less than $0.50 apiece!

Professional Cleaning Service in Portland, Oregon Mess Maid Right NW  cleans and organizes shelve with glass jars.

Mason Jars are gorgeous and affordable. Source: Steven Ungermann / Unsplash

Add Personality with Pantry Labels! 

By now, you might have a few empty transparent containers. It’s time to add some personality! You can get yourself some pantry labels from Amazon or Walmart. 

There are extremely affordable (+100 pieces for around $10) and will increase consistency even more (since they all have the same color and writing style), while also adding a bit of charm and personality. 

You can find many types of labels so make sure you choose the one that matches your kitchen’s style. Maybe you want a simple, elegant tag, or a bold tag in a handwritten style. The choice is yours! 

If you have a printer at home, you can print pantry labels too! Just try to make tags that fit inside a piece of scotch tape so they’re protected against water and regular wear and tear.

Professional Cleaning Service in Portland, Oregon Mess Maid Right NW organizes shelves with candy in them.

You can make your own pantry labels. Source: Peter Burdon / Unsplash

Bring Some Color and Contrast

Now you have all your herbs, spices, and other ingredients in beautiful containers. But what about your pantry walls or your shelves? Maybe they are a bit worn out or they look dull and not interesting, even after you clean your pantry. Those pantries from social media are not afraid to show bold choices in color and texture!

For starters, you can paint your pantry shelves! You should use at least a semi-gloss paint, which makes it easy to scrub and clean. The same goes for your walls. 

If you have enough space, feel free to bring fun and gorgeous baskets! You have endless options: acrylic, wire baskets, wicker, plastic, and wood, just to name a few. 

Again, make sure you combine color and texture. For example, let’s say you used a dark blue color for your walls. In this case, you might want to use acrylic baskets which will bring as much light as possible to balance out the dark tones of your pantry. 

On the other hand, if you have a lighter, neutral color such as white or beige, you should bring some character with antique wooden crates or wicker baskets.

Don’t Overcrowd Your Pantry

With so many options, from containers to baskets and colors and textures, it can be easy to start buying too many items and end up with a crowded pantry. In this case, it’s best to try first with similar-sized items, such as shoe boxes or canned foods. 

For containers, always leave at least one inch of space between items to let them breathe. Stunning pantries look that way because they know when to stop, and each component is balanced out. Nothing feels out of place or overwhelming. 

Professional Cleaning Service in Portland, Oregon Mess Maid Right NW looks over an unorganized shelf full of dry goods.

Keep consistency to avoid overcrowding your pantry. Source: Alexander Van Steenberge / Unsplash


There you have it! A p If you want to clean your pantry, you have a challenging task ahead. But with a bit of time and energy, you can leave it squeaky clean and, if you want to, you can go the extra mile and give it a complete makeover.

Remember to clean your pantry regularly to ensure everything looks nice and tidy. You should declutter and re-organize occasionally as well.

A pantry is an important place, yet it is just a small part of your kitchen. It’s not easy to declutter a room and deal with the rest of your home at the same time. Remember you can always look for help from a professional cleaning service in Portland to get some rest and let professionals take care of your home.