Susan Serra, CKD, CAPS, is a certified kitchen designer and founder of Susan Serra Associates, Inc., a kitchen design remodeling firm, founder of Scandinavian Made and the author of the popular blog, The Kitchen Designer. Susan’s design work has been published nationally many times and her insight on kitchen design has appeared in The New York Times, Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart Radio, Oprah.com, HGTV and many more publications. Follow Susan on Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.
At first thought, it seems a no brainer, what’s to know – just clean the countertops, right? Not so fast! Clean countertops are a critical component to health and well being in the kitchen, the room we and/or our family occupy every single day, often, multiple times a day.
Our kitchen countertops see all sorts of yucky, yes yucky, types of contamination and foreign matter which just shouldn’t be hanging out there. Following are some tips, some of them design tips which will help you maintain a clean and healthy kitchen.
SCAN YOUR COUNTERTOPS
Take a good look at what you have stored on your countertops. More than likely, many types of items, some kitchen related, some not, find their way on to the countertop. What happens to many of us is that our kitchen prep space becomes smaller and smaller and sometimes the prep “territory” overlaps with items that are stored on countertop real estate.
See what items are really necessary to keep on the countertop. What items are you using frequently and what do you not use so often but may have used around the last holiday or gathering and never put it away? You know who you are! Remove those items that you do not use on a frequent basis. Go ahead, you can do it! You will gain more prep space as a result! Your kitchen will actually look more spacious.
CLEAN YOUR COUNTERTOPS
After you have scanned and removed unused items from your countertops, give them a good cleaning. Never clean around any items, all items should be removed. After the countertops are cleaned, clean the backsplash as well.
There are many thoughts on which type of cleaning products to use on countertops, and much also depends on the type of countertop that you have. Consult the countertop fabricator or manufacturer of the material to get the best advice. I always like to finish with a water rinse on a clean rag, followed by a dry towel to fully remove the cleaning products I have used, bringing the countertop back to its natural state, chemical free.
CLEAN YOUR STUFF
After the countertops are cleaned and before you return the items on to the countertop, clean those items – the coffee maker, toaster, crockery that holds utensils, mixer, and anything else. Dust, food particulate and other foreign items need to be removed. Clean the bottoms of the items as well, then return them to the countertop and rearrange them to maximize prep space.
Cleaning your countertops should be a scheduled event. Put it on your calendar as a recurring event once every two weeks to a month to do a super thorough cleaning. How often you want to schedule it will depend upon how sensitive you are to the thought of any foreign substances on your countertop items.
In the meantime, between cleanings, use aids such as cutting boards that span across the sink to keep food particles close to the sink for easy disposal or if on the countertop, use cutting boards with grooves around them to hold in food particles and juices to contain them from getting on the countertop and interacting with your toaster, coffee maker, etc.
Clean as well as you can after every use of the kitchen and your kitchen will look better and will be a healthy and happy kitchen.