Clean & Maintain Your Cabinets & Countertops
To keep your wood cabinets looking fresh, clean them regularly and gently as follows:
Dust them regularly with a dry cloth or dry duster. Accumulated dust dulls the surface and attracts oily fingerprints and grease.
Periodically, wipe your wood cabinets with a slightly damp, soft cloth. Use plain water. However, test this first in an inconspicuous area of the wood to be sure it’s safe for your finish.
If the cabinets are especially filmy or have stubborn food spots, you can use a mild detergent in warm water to clean them. But be sure to wring out the cloth first so that it’s just damp. Never use an abrasive cleaning pad.
Wipe the cabinets in the direction of the wood grain. Immediately wipe the cabinets with a dry, soft cloth after cleansing to eliminate all moisture. Water can damage the finish if left to air dry.
If you wish, you can purchase wood cleaners from leading brands such as MinWax®, available at paint and hardware stores and home improvement retailers.
Laminate countertops can be easily cleaned with a damp, non-abrasive cloth and mild detergent or cleaner. Avoid moisture accumulation in the seams. You can also purchase laminate cleaning and polishing products at hardware and home stores.
For granite and other countertop materials, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
To reduce the buildup of grease on a day-to-day basis, use your kitchen fan while cooking. The fan helps remove grease and dust that can cling to and damage cabinets.
The sun can fade and damage the finish of wood cabinets. Protect the finish by using blinds or curtains on windows to eliminate direct exposure.
Photo and Excerpt from StyleAtHome.com. Photography courtesy of Home Depot.
Kitchen Trends in 2014
Built-in Cabinetry that looks like Furniture
According to Houzz.com, “Far from the unfitted kitchens we’ve seen in the past, the new trend in kitchen design for 2014 is built-in accent cabinets that act as framework for the rest of the cabinetry. We often design these cabinets tall and narrow to sit right on the counters, flanking the stove or on either ends of the run of cabinetry. They’re usually quite contrasting in both colour and style, introducing more detail than the simple door profiles throughout.”
Build a More Social Kitchen
K+BB® (kbbonline.com) reported on a recent Consumer Reports survey in June 2014 that asked more than 1,000 Americans what activities they do in the kitchen at least once in a typical week. The answers showed that people are using their kitchens for far more than just meal preparation.
Nearly half of the respondents said they regularly entertain in the kitchen; 58 percent work on computers there; and 61 percent use the space to do homework or paperwork.
Consumer Reports compiled the following kitchen remodeling guide that features essential steps when creating a more social kitchen to meet the needs of homeowners today.
One: Open up the space—with care. Be judicious when eliminating barriers. Using half-walls or arched openings can create a sense of openness while maintaining traffic flow. Color can be a great connector between the kitchen and the larger living/dining room area.
Two: Bring back the eat-in kitchen. Built-in banquettes are making a comeback. Casual dining is integral to the social kitchen and it’s good for a home’s resale value. It’s also a place to do the bills or help with homework, and its base can provide additional storage.
Three: Add an island. This central counter will give people a place to sit and converse while the cook prepares the meal. Just don’t let it clog traffic—there should be 42 to 48 inches of clearance on all sides.
Four: Build in charging stations. For many people, the kitchen is where their electronic devices live. Charging stations can be tucked into a cabinet or drawer.