I knew I loved my house when I first walked through the kitchen. White cabinets, counters, and walls make the space feel big and bright — but, like white clothes or white furniture, they also require quite a bit of maintenance. For one thing, white has a way of putting dirt and dust on display. Once you resolve to clean your white surfaces, it can be tough to know where to start. What are the best tools, products, and techniques for keeping all-white kitchens as bright as they started?
To find out, our friends at Apartment Therapy surveyed several professional cleaners. Here’s what they had to say about how to keep an all-white kitchen as clean as possible — and what to avoid.
1. Always run the exhaust fan when you cook.
When it comes to maintaining an all-white kitchen, prevention is one of the best approaches — it’s a lot easier to keep things looking clean if you don’t make big messes in the first place. Obviously, it’s not possible to stop cooking altogether, but you can do your part to stave off greasy buildup on your backsplash and surrounding areas. One way to do that? Kevin Geick, manager at the deep cleaning company Bio Recovery, suggests religiously turning on your exhaust fan every time you cook. As a bonus, the fan will absorb cooking smells!
2. Put your Magic Erasers to work.
While your deep cleaning and disinfecting may stay the same with an all-white kitchen, you’ll have to do more everyday maintenance. Another tip Geick often shares with all-white kitchen owners: Keep a few Mr. Clean Magic Erasers on hand for removing dirt, scuffs, and other marks from your walls, counters, and cabinets. “They are easy to use and are capable of cleaning many surfaces,” he says. “Just be sure to use them gently, as scrubbing hard with them can damage certain surfaces.”
3. Clean after every meal you prepare.
Experts at the U.K.-based cleaning company Top Cleaners say if you want to keep your white kitchen clean, then it’s important to clean it each time you prepare a meal (especially if you’re cooking with stain-prone ingredients like oil, tomatoes, and animal fat). Why? Small food droplets can land on your cupboards and countertops and permanently stain the white surface, and if the stains set, there’s not much a pro cleaner can do to help.
4. Avoid harsh cleaning tools.
Another simple-but-smart tip from Top Cleaners: When you’re scrubbing down a white kitchen, skip the hard-bristle brushes. White tends to emphasize scratches, so it’s best to stick with a gentler, soft-bristled brush or a microfiber cloth when you’re working away stains.
5. Use vinegar to remove stains.
White vinegar diluted with lukewarm water, say the pros at Top Cleaners, is a great way to remove pesky stains from white surfaces (and remember, you want to do this soon after the splatter or spill occurs). Vinegar is also amazing at cutting through grease, so try putting some in a spray bottle with equal parts water and using it to clean up your splattered backsplash or cabinets. One warning: If you have marble counters, never use vinegar on them — instead, opt for a specialized cleaning product meant for natural stone.
6. Stick to clear cleaning products.
While Top Cleaners’ experts say soap and dishwashing liquid can be a good choice for cleaning a white kitchen, maybe skip the blue Dawn soap — instead, it’s best to use only white or clear solvents. Depending on the surface, some colored products can cause visible staining.
7. Clean your grout on the regular.
If you’ve got a white backsplash with white grout, it’s important to keep those lines clean. Alex Varela, general manager of Dallas Maids, suggests combining baking soda, vinegar, and warm water to form a paste, then applying it to the grout and using a toothbrush to scrub. Afterward, make sure to rinse with plenty of water. Your grout should be good as new!
8. Clean under appliances regularly, too.Johnny Pallares, owner of De La Rosa House Cleaning in Phoenix, always makes sure to clean beneath clients’ small appliances when he’s working on all-white kitchens. The reason? “Food crumbs and grime can build up underneath microwaves and toasters, and they look much worse if they build up in a white kitchen,” he says.