help me take the best care of my new kitchen
August 7, 2012 7:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm re-doing my kitchen, and it's almost done. Help me take care of it, to keep it looking awesome for a very long time.

It's a small condo kitchen, but I'd like to take care of it for as long as I live here, and perhaps renting it out in the future. I have: light-ish granite counters, stainless appliances (range, microwave, 18" dishwasher). The fridge is "fake stainless" because that's all I could get in the size/space I need. Espresso maple cabinets, and porcelain tile floors.

Please recommend some great cleaning products, or general suggestions for taking care of new kitchen cabinets, counters, etc.
posted by raztaj to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
All wood surfaces: Johnson Paste Wax. This stuff is made from the earwax of fairies or something, I dunno - it's magical. Requires some elbow grease, but leaves a wonderful, long-lasting luster.

Stainless and faux stainless: Windex. Cheap, easy, plentiful, will not leave a nasty film like most other non-Windex cleaning products.
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:19 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Barkeeper's Friend is your friend for everything but wood (and probably not for the granite, but I don't know for sure). Available at my large chain grocery store, but hidden away on a bottom shelf. I've also bought it at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:28 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

.If you wax the cabinets, they'll be easier to wipe clean. Recommend.
.granite - Here's what This Old House says.
.Stainless, glass, other hard, non-porous surfaces - store-brand "blue juice" or Windex.
.I clean my stove top with a dish-soapy sponge, leaving a wet sponge on top of baked on gunk, like tomato sauce, until it softens. The plastic, non-scratching stuff works fine on the stovetop.
.Sink. Comet, Ajax, whatever is scrubby with bleach.
.Inside of microwave - wipe it down with the dish-soapy sponge, rinse sponge, then nuke wet sponge for 2 minutes. Sponge will be hot, but close to sterile, any gunk in micro will be easy to wipe up.
posted by theora55 at 7:50 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wiping your cabinets down once a week with warm soapy water will prevent the otherwise inevitable build-up of grease. Also, using orange oil polish on (freshly cleaned) cabinets will protect them and make them easier to clean.
posted by idest at 7:55 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Dry the sink area after every use. I know. It sounds annoying. But the only way to prevent that slimy sludge from growing behind the faucets is to not feed it. Drying has the benefit of getting any stray food particles up as well.

And it looks great. Also, lots of the insect life that ends up in homes is looking for a reliable source of water! If you don't provide that, your home is less tempting.

A few nights a week, before the quick bedtime sweep/mop routine mentioned above, also use a damp rag to wipe down the door knobs, stove front, etc. Include the part of the pantry door that you actually touch when you close it. Because I'll bet you ten dollars the knob is very low, and you're grabbing the door to swing it shut. Wipe that down often and you'll never have to scrub it vigorously.

Get a little shelf for your sponge so that it can air out. I use one from Ikea's Blanken line. This thing is a rectangle and screws onto the wall, but appears to be discontinued. You want as much air exposure to the sponge surfaces as possible, because the bacteria thrive in moisture. Squeezing the sponge completely out after every use will help.

Weevil check. Any dry goods that come into your house, use a thick sharpie marker to write the date of entry on the box. A year after that date, pitch them. Check the dates every month or two, and open each box, looking for signs of life. I take this one step farther and keep each box in it's own off brand ziploc baggie (once I've opened the box) to prevent anything from migrating from new boxes into opened boxes. bear in mind, I come from a family with a motto of "It's just protein, dear!" and this comes directly from a childhood of being expected to eat weevil infested foods. I've grown up to be prevention minded.

Counter/shelf protection. Put the oils and honeys and other potentially drippy bottles on a lazy Susan. It's easier to pull that down and clean it (some versions, anyway) than to scrub the interior of the cabinet. I find that wiping a smear off the counter first requires smearing the whole thing into a bigger mess for a moment. Drives me crazy, but I can't spring for a lazy Susan, so I just wipe the bottles and counters down frequently so nothing gets a chance to get super gross.

Last. Wash the windows in your new kitchen once a month or at least once a quarter. The "extra" light will be awesome. While you're washing windows, open the cabinets and air them all out, even if you don't take anything from them. Air and light are your best friends for keeping areas fresh.
posted by bilabial at 8:29 AM on August 7, 2012

Something I wish I'd done: Put some kind of heavy duty protection down in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. All the stuff that you keep under there--cleaning supplies, trash, recycling--is stuff that involves accidentally dripping water, food, etc. on the cabinet floor and pretty soon the finish is messed up.

If you can find someplace to hang your kitchen towels other than the oven door, you'll save yourself a lot of aggravation over cleaning water spots off the stainless. Because every time you wash your hands and go to dry them, you'll flick little water droplets on it.
posted by HotToddy at 8:52 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Protection for the cabinet under the sink - cheap vinyl peel-and-stick floor tiles. You don't have to stick them on if you don't want to. And you can replace them one tile at a time if they get too badly stained or scratched or otherwise messed up.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:42 AM on August 7, 2012

heavy duty protection down in the cabinet under the kitchen sink

Not knowing where else to put it, I stuck a big plastic washbasin (like for doing dishes) under the sink and stored all the cleaning supplies in it. When the disposer went kablooey, it conveniently dripped mostly into the washbasin. Serendipity.

Thirding protection for under the sink!
posted by ambrosia at 11:42 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I do have the washbasin for cleaning supplies but I still should have had something on the floor of the cabinet. Most of the damage seems to be from bits of food that missed the trash can. I like the idea of floor tiles. Old-fashioned linoleum ones could look pretty nice, too.
posted by HotToddy at 12:07 PM on August 7, 2012

Make sure you have a decently sized range hood over your stove top that exhausts outside. You will want all that grease from your cooking to exhaust outside, and not back inside on to your cabinets.
posted by nikkorizz at 6:22 PM on August 7, 2012

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