How to Design a Kitchen That’s Easy to Clean
Keen to cut down on kitchen cleaning time? Read this expert advice on how to build easy maintenance into your scheme
Professional advice from: Eva Byrne of houseology; Nicolle Whyte, designer at Harvey Jones Kitchens; Louise Delaney, design manager at Cameron Interiors
More in this series: How to Design a Bathroom That’s Easy to Clean
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It’s understandable to be dazzled by the performance or look of a smart new kitchen appliance, but Eva Byrne suggests you also consider potential purchases with a view to keeping them clean.
“Choose a hob that’s fuss free and easy to wipe down without needing any exotic lotions or solutions,” she says. “Have a good look at details, such as the knobs on your oven, to make sure there are no hard-to-get-at nooks – knobs that are too close together mean you can’t get a cloth between them, for example.”
Nicolle Whyte agrees, and suggests choosing a “flush-fitted induction hob, as it’s flat, and easy and safe to clean.”
Louise Delaney also points out that, with an induction hob, “you don’t have to clean the support racks and individual parts found with gas hobs”.
“We recommend choosing appliances with cleaning programmes included,” Louise says. “Let your appliance do the cleaning for you.”
She suggests choosing ovens with pyrolytic cleaning functions [which super-heat the oven to burn off residue], steam ovens with automatic steam clean/drying programmes, and coffee machines with automatic cleaning, including milk rinse.
Tiles are a popular choice for a kitchen splashback, but if you don’t want to spend time scrubbing grout to keep it sparkling clean, there are a couple of options.
If you’re set on tiles, then choosing large-format ones will minimise the amount of grout you have to clean. Alternatively, Nicolle says, “Choose a glass splashback, so you don’t have to deal with grout at all.”
“Selecting smooth furniture fronts prevents cooking residue forming on decorative grooves and ridges,” Louise says. Watch out for cut-out pulls, though, as these can harbour crumbs.
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“Select materials such as Corian, quartz, steel or sintered stone [heat-bonded minerals and stone particles], which are non-porous, prevent stains and are easy to wipe clean,” Louise says.
“Solid surface worktops, such as Corian, are probably the most hygienic,” Nicolle says. “They have a seamless finish and therefore don’t have grooves to trap dirt. This is why you see them used in hospitals and fast food chains.”
See how to choose the perfect kitchen worktop.
Where’s the best place for your rubbish and recycling bins in your kitchen? To ensure cleaning up is as efficient as possible, they should be beneath the sink, Eva says.
The aim, she explains, is to create “minimum distance between sink and bins, which means minimum opportunities for spills and mess”.
If you have painted walls in your kitchen, you’ll need to wipe them down more often than in other rooms. Choosing a hardwearing paint finish will make this job easier.
“Use an oil-based eggshell, as you can easily wipe this clean without damaging the paint,” Nicolle says.
Open shelves might look attractive when beautifully styled, but they can be a high-maintenance cleaning option if you have to move stacks of china, books, mugs and ornaments just to run a duster over the surface.
For a fuss-free kitchen design, Eva recommends avoiding open shelves “that gather dust and grime” and plumping for closed wall cabinets instead. Here, she’s chosen a run of wall cupboards that look sleek and clean, with just one small shelf unit at the end for displaying a couple of easy-to-dust items.
Cupboard drawers can be a bit of a minefield to keep tidy, with crumbs and dust sifting down to settle at the bottom. To keep on top of this, Eva suggests lining all shelves and drawer bases “with wipeable liner material, cut to size, to prolong the life of your units”.
Nicolle agrees, and also suggests choosing “a melamine finish on the inside of cabinets, as it doesn’t absorb spillages like oak or walnut would”.
Which of these ideas would you use in your kitchen? Do you have any other suggestions? Let us know in the Comments.