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Monday, July 21, 2014

Scared of a White Kitchen?

 Year after year white is one of the most popular kitchen colors.  Pinterest and Houzz are filled with pictures of beautiful white kitchens.  But if you are like many of us, your first thought is "How pretty" and then "How will I keep my white kitchen white?" or "I love the clean, white look but don't want it to look dirty all the time."  Is it possible to have a clean white kitchen?

The truth is, it IS possible to have your all-white dream kitchen, and you don't have to be a compulsive cleaner to get it.  You just have to be a little diligent is all.  The perfect white kitchen is one that looks like no one ever cooks there. And that is, of course, the very best way to keep that white kitchen sparkling. If, however, you insist on actually using your kitchen, you are likely to encounter yellowing cabinets, accumulations of grease, and stained and marred sinks and countertops. What fun.

Before we can tackle the problem, let's look at why cabinets start to yellow.  The first culprit is exposure to direct sunlight, which tends to jaundice or fade painted wood (and laminated surfaces). You should consider draperies, blinds or window film to shield your cabinets from direct sunlight.  The second culprit is actuallyusing your cooktop. As soon as you start cooking, those mouthwatering aromas rise into the air in the form of microscopic food or grease particles, and since they have to land somewhere, why not on your white cabinets? The result? Cabinets that turn yellow.

To prevent this, you can't let grease accumulate on your cabinets. As soon as you begin boiling, broiling or deep-frying, turn on the exhaust fan or range hood to filter out at least some of those minuscule bits before they reach the surrounding surfaces.  To keep cabinets looking their best and sparkling white, give them a monthly "bath" with a solution of warm water and a grease-busting dish soap.

Then there is the inevitable muck and grime that accumulate from oil and grease splatters, and food and beverage spills.  You should not use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads on painted cabinets, as they can scratch or dull the finish.  A soft 
cotton cloth dampened with warm water is usually sufficient.  The most important thing to remember is  to not let those stains linger.  Prolonged exposure to spills can cause permanent damage and discoloration to your cabinets' finish.
  
White sinks in many homes take approximately five minutes to look yucky. You can brighten them and remove stains with common household bleach. Experts suggest laying paper towels flat across the bottom of the sink and wetting them with bleach. This prevents the bleach from running straight down the drain. Leave the paper towels in place for half an hour to allow the bleach to do its job, then remove them and rinse the sink thoroughly with warm water.  
  
White tiles with white or a light grout can be tricky.  The whiter and cleaner your white tile looks, the dirtier your grout will look.  Keeping the grout clean is an important part of keeping your white kitchen looking its best.  The best option is to have the grout sealed (or to have chosen a stain resistant grout like Fusion), and keep it clean with a cleaner specifically made for tile and grout.  Use a toothbrush or scouring pad to really get the grout clean.  Do not use harsh cleaners such as bleach that will erode your grout over time.


Stains show up easily on white marble or granite counters. Prevention is the best cure, so blot spills immediately, before they penetrate or dry on the surface. If that is not convenient, you can make stains disappear with a solution of hydrogen peroxide with a few scant drops of ammonia added. Natural stone will etch when cleaned with acids or abrasives, but the naturally occurring chemicals in peroxide and ammonia will safely remove even tough stains. Stone sealers should be applied as soon as you notice water no longer stands (beads up) on the surface.  (You can purchase sealer at our showroom.)
   
In the grand scheme of things, just remember:  Any kitchen will be a cleaning nightmare, dark or light.  So prepare to roll up your sleeves and pick the kitchen you've always dreamed of!

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