How to design an easy-to-clean kitchen

PHOTO: Dots ‘n’ Tots Interior Design

If there’s one thing every home cook dreads, it’s cleaning up the kitchen after cooking.

Cooking can be messy, dirty affair, leaving your space with piles of dirty dishes, food spills and grease.

To keep your sanity in check and to avoid dousing your passion for cooking, you will want to design an easy-to-clean kitchen that will help to minimise clean-up time. Here are some tips. 

Go with an induction hob

PHOTO: Adroit Interior Design

While you can do much more with gas hobs in terms of cooking, induction hobs are the go-to for easy cleaning.

Their flat, glass surfaces, lack of crevices and absence of burner rings mean you can wipe them down at one go after cooking.

Get a hardy, non-porous countertop

PHOTO: ExQsite Interior Design

Countertops are the workhorses in our kitchen so you will want to make sure you choose a material that can take all kinds of hits and spills.

Our recommendation? Quartz.

This material is non-porous, resistant to stains and not prone to scratches or chipping, making it really easy to clean.

Semi-gloss, smooth laminates for the win

PHOTO: I-Chapter

Overly glossy laminates show up fingerprints easily so aren’t the best choice for your cabinets. Matte laminates can conceal fingerprints, but they aren’t the easiest to clean since they tend to “absorb” stains.

Go with semi-gloss cabinets that are easy to wipe down, without showing up a lot of stains.

Also, steer clear from excessively textured laminates with plenty of crevices that can hide dust and grease over time.

Opt for flat-front cabinets rather than shaker style

PHOTO: Cozyspace

Shaker style cabinets may be popular, but they tend to have recessed edges that make it difficult to clean.

For an easy-to-clean kitchen, stick with flat-fronted ones that can be just as beautiful.

Avoid fancy hardware

PHOTO: Ban Yew Interior Design

Handle-less cabinets may look contemporary, but they tend to show up fingerprints since you will be in direct contact with the cabinet surface.

Knobs and handles will help to reduce those greasy prints, but you will want to avoid overly ornamented ones that have too many nooks and crannies.

Those can trap all sorts of dirt and are more tedious to clean.

Skip the open shelves

PHOTO: DistinctIdentity

Instagram-worthy kitchens may come with open shelves, but if you want a fuss-free kitchen, skip the open shelves. 

Open shelves (and anything on them) accumulate dust and grease faster than you can say Marie Kondo.

Have the top cabinets placed all the way to the ceiling

PHOTO: The Interior Lab

Make sure you are building your upper cabinets all the way up, avoiding any gaps between the top of your cabinets and the ceiling.

Sure, it may be more difficult to reach out for things, but at least you won’t have a layer of grime over your top cabinets to clean.

Opt for self-cleaning ovens

PHOTO: Fuse Concept

Best invention for bakers: self-cleaning ovens. Called pyrolytic ovens, they aren’t the cheapest option for built-in ovens, but they do help to eliminate the need for scrubbing down the insides of your oven.

How do they work? Essentially, these ovens come with a feature that lets you run the oven at a very, very high temperature, incinerating any leftover food spills or grease during cooking.

These food bits turn into ash, which you can then easily wipe them away with a cloth after the cleaning cycle is finished.

Get a strong enough hood that’s easy to clean

PHOTO: Monocot

Cooking hoods are helpful for sucking up grease and smells during cooking, but to ensure that it’s effective, you will want to get one that has a strong enough extraction rate.

To calculate the extraction rate you need, use this simple formula: kitchen height (m) x kitchen length (m) x kitchen width (m) x 10 = Extraction Rate (m3/hr)

Besides being powerful enough, make sure your kitchen hood can also be easily cleaned.

Check to see if the filters can be removed easily so you can give them a good rinse under warm water and a degreasing solution.

Sink choice: integrated or under-mount

PHOTO: Sync Interior

When it comes to choosing a sink, we definitely recommend an integrated sink. Together with the countertop, integrated sinks are made of the same one material.

This eliminates gaps between the sink and the counter, which can trap dirt and grime.

Integrated sinks are expensive though, so the next best alternative would be an under-mount sink. Mounted underneath the counter, an under-mount sink allows you to wipe down leftover food particles into the sink easily with no obstruction.

This is unlike with top-mount sinks, which has a slight raised lip surrounding the sink and resting on the countertop.

Avoid a tiled backsplash

PHOTO:  Design 4 Space

Don’t want to be scrubbing down grout? Avoid using tiles for the backsplash.

Because of their porosity, grout can absorb stains easily. Go with materials like tempered glass or stainless steel for an easy-to-clean backsplash.

If you insist on using tiles, make sure you get large-format, big slab ones that reduce the grout lines you need to clean.

A faucet with a brushed finish is your best bet

PHOTO: Icon Interior Design

When choosing a kitchen faucet, get one with a brushed finish rather than one with a polished finish so you don’t have to be wiping it down every time you use it.

A polished one shows up water stains and fingerprints really easily.

Invest in a dishwasher

PHOTO: Dots ‘n’ Tots Interior Design

Get a dishwasher if dirty dishes are the bane of your existence. You get to throw all of them in the dishwasher after meals, freeing you with extra time to clean the rest of the kitchen.

Plus, having a dishwasher helps to save on countertop and sink space during food prep since you can just transfer all your dirty utensils and prep bowls into the dishwasher as you prep and cook.

Hide your switches and power points

PHOTO: ARK-hitecture

Switches and power points are not only unsightly, they can also make it difficult to clean down your kitchen walls and backsplash.

Conceal them within and underneath your cabinets for easy cleaning.

This article was first published in Renonation.