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Cleaning shiny kitchens can be hard work

Cleaning shiny kitchens can be hard work

What should I use to clean it?  It’s a question I get asked all the time, so don’t feel like a twit if you’re really not sure.  You’ve probably just spent all your savings on beautiful new joinery and you don’t want to ruin it.  You’ll want to maintain the “it looks like new” effect for as long as possible, for years even.  

Unfortunately this shiny new toy doesn’t take long before it’s covered in dirty, greasy marks. Yuk.  Perhaps you’re thinking “why does it get dirty so quickly?  Am I the only one this happens to?”  You might even clean it your usual way and it just smears where you’ve wiped it, getting you nowhere.  Maybe there’s a dull haze over the entire thing and you can’t work out how to make it shine like new again.  If that’s even possible anyway.

There are so many cleaning products on the market, it’s hard to know which one to use.  You know, some cleaning aids can actually do some damage to the surface.  Also they can be pretty expensive and not really that efficient anyway.  

Here are two valuable solutions for you:


Solution number 1: 


It’s simple.  If you’re not a “cleaner”, don’t get shiny surfaces.  If this disappoints you, then limit the shiny areas to the places that aren’t used as regularly or aren’t brightly lit.

What with the current trend and popularity of having high gloss finishes in our homes, some people don’t consider the possible maintenance issues.  They think, well, if there’s so many people choosing to having it, there mustn't be any problem.  For some, it’s not until it’s been installed and life happens, there’s this “oh no!” moment.  Especially if the colour is very dark, without any pattern to hide anything.  Think about a black car vs a white car.  Which one needs more trips to the car wash?

When there are smears, streaks, or even scratches on surfaces, it really comes down to what is most noticeable.  Not necessarily if it’s actually there or not.  My rule of thumb is, the shinier something is, the more marks you are likely to see.  Also, the marks are highlighted even more if a window throws light onto the surface.

Also, think about the areas where most grease accumulates.  It comes from people’s fingerprints and from cooking splatter.  Predominantly around your cooktop, the cupboards below it and above.  It’s really important to get a good rangehood.  Preferably one with a good motor that extracts fumes out of the room.  Then, importantly, you’ve gotta remember to turn it on! 

If you want to minimise smears and streaks, plan your glossy surfaces for areas away from the cooking zone and for places less used.  Maybe save the sparkling pizzazz for feature areas only.  Think overhead cupboards or living room facing cabinets.

Solution number 2: 


I'm not going to endorse some fabulous new, ground breaking cleaning product.  Sorry to disappoint.  Besides, I've got some better advice...

I always say to clients, clean your shiny surfaces the same way you clean your mirrors. Except I don't mean use the newspaper method because a soft, lint free cloth would work better.

I use a microfibre cloth.  You know the coloured ones you buy in a big bag from Cheap as Chips.  And I use diluted vinegar.  What do I mean by this?  Well my mother in law gave me this tip a long time ago, and I’ll never forget it.  Let me break it down for you:


  1. get an old spray bottle (recycled);
  2. fill it with about two fingers high, white vinegar;  
  3. fill the rest up with water;  
  4. give it a good shake;
  5. It's ready to spray on all your 'shiny' surfaces.  How cheap and easy is that!


If you don't mind the smell, it can be used on everything that needs a quick polish.  Such as the shower screen, tap ware, kitchen benchtop, glass cooktop, glass splashback, stainless steel sink, spot cleaning the floor... the list goes on.

It’s not meant for extra dirty areas.  You will need a stronger, more dedicated cleaner for that.  However, most cleaners will leave some residue afterwards.  That’s the dull haze you might notice all over it.  Some people start to think there’s a manufacturers warranty claim needed here, because there's something wrong with it.  But you can usually follow my method to get rid of the residue and polish it up nicely.

I've been asked if it’s too acidic to use on some surfaces.  Hey, I'm not sure.  So far I haven't damaged anything and I've been using it regularly in my new home for about 5 years.  Some people use mentholated spirits instead, that's probably OK too.  Always check the manufacturer’s care and maintenance guide, just in case.  Also, be very careful when using anything abrasive, like cream cleaners or scouring pads.

If you’re wondering about what the cabinet and benchtop manufacturers recommendations are, this is what the experts from Laminex say about their products. (click here)

How do you normally clean your shiny surfaces?  Do you regret choosing it and should have gone for something easier to maintain? Or is it worth the hassle to have something so bright and beautiful?

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