June 14, 2024

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9 kitchen maintenance tips – Which? News

6 min read

The kitchen is often the busiest room in the house, so it can be hard to keep it in tip-top condition.   

These easy kitchen maintenance jobs should stop dirt and grime building up, and help keep wear and tear to a minimum (hopefully preventing the need for expensive repairs further down the line). 

Check out our guide to the best and worst kitchen brands to discover those with the most durable ranges, the best customer service and more.

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1. Clean your kitchen sink and taps regularly

We generally use our sinks and taps every day, so they can quickly start to look old and grimy – especially if you live in an area with hard water. Prevent limescale build up by wiping away excess water after use. 

If you want to get rid of existing limescale, apply a citric-based agent such as lemon or vinegar onto a soft cotton cloth, and wipe your sink and taps with it. Leave it to work for at least 10 minutes (try an old toothbrush to remove any stubborn limescale), then wash it off.

Dirt and bacteria can build up really easily here, too, so it’s a good idea to disinfect this area regularly.

For tough grease and grime, check out our guide to the best kitchen cleaning sprays

2. Unclog kitchen pipes and drains

Is your kitchen sink draining very slowly? Is there a bad smell coming from the plughole? Don’t ignore these telltale signs of a blocked drain. 

It’s wise to keep a plunger at home in case your sink gets blocked (you can find these at most hardware stores). 

However, as always, prevention is better than cure. Food residue (including coffee grounds) should always go in your compost heap, food waste or rubbish bin. You could also get a drain protector to catch any bits that get away from you. 

Avoid pouring cooking oil into your sink. Not only can it congeal and cause a blockage, it could contribute to a fatberg, or find its way into waterways and cause harm to animals. It’s best to let any oils and fats cool and solidify after cooking, then throw them into the bin.

Thames Water says that even gravy should be soaked up with kitchen roll then put in the bin.

We’ve found the best kitchen drain unblockers for those times when a plunger alone won’t cut it

3. Use silicone gap covers

If you have small gaps between your worktops and stove or refrigerator, you’ll know how easily dirt and grime can build up in this area. 

Not only does this look unsightly, it can create a breeding ground for bacteria. 

Silicone gap covers are small strips that fit over this space, covering the gap. Just trim them down to the correct size, and hey presto – no more trying to move large appliances to scrub grime from the gaps!

4. Clean the grouting on your kitchen tiles

Grubby grouting can make your kitchen look old and tired.

Before you start cleaning, consider the type of tile you have. Natural stone tiles are porous and require a gentler approach as they can easily stain, so avoid abrasive or acidic cleaners, including vinegar. 

Vinegar is fine on ceramic tiles though, so try a mixture of vinegar and warm water to tackle grubby grout. Get a gentle cleaning brush (or an old, soft toothbrush) and give it a good scrub. 

For tougher stains, you can use a combination of baking soda and vinegar, or grout cleaner. 

5. Clean kitchen appliances regularly

Kitchen appliances can get dirty, greasy or clogged with limescale, so it’s a good idea to give them a regular clean. 

Cleaning the oven

Start by switching your oven off at the mains and laying out newspaper on the floor to catch any debris

  • To clean inside the oven, use a dry brush to get rid of caked-on food and then apply your oven cleaner according to the instructions 
  • You can clean oven racks using rack soaking kits 
  • Be careful when cleaning a glass oven door. Use warm soapy water and a sponge or microfibre cloth to avoid causing any damage. 
  • Read our oven cleaning guide for more detailed instructions

Cleaning the microwave

To easily remove splatters of dried-on food, follow these steps:  

  • Place a bowl of water, mixed with a couple of spoonfuls of white vinegar, or some lemon juice plus a slice of lemon, into the microwave
  • Heat on high power for a few minutes, then leave for a few minutes to cool
  • Remove the bowl and wipe the top, walls and base with a damp sponge
  • Remove the plate and clean it separately by hand or in the dishwasher

Cleaning the toaster

Empty your toaster’s crumb tray regularly, as a build up of crumbs could pose a fire hazard.

Wipe down the outside with a microfibre cloth to remove fingerprints.

Smelly fridge? Read how to deep-clean your fridge

6. Try oven and grill liners

If your oven is getting really dirty, or you just want to clean it less regularly, consider using an oven liner. 

These mats are typically made from food-safe silicone. You place them in the bottom of your oven to catch any spills and prevent food from getting baked on. Some are even dishwasher safe. 

Just make sure that you get the right one for your oven: you will need to buy a heavy-duty liner if you have a fan oven, and you should check the temperature they can withstand if you are regularly cooking at a high heat. 

You might not be able to place your liner at the base of your oven if the heating element is in the bottom.  

Grill liners work in the same way. Place them at the bottom of your grill pan to catch any spills, then wash and reuse. 

7. Keep condensation at bay

Cooking naturally generates a lot of moisture, which can turn into water on your walls (condensation). 

This cause mould to form, which is a hassle to remove and can harm your health, particularly if you have respiratory problems. 

Keep condensation at bay with ventilation – either open a window when cooking or use the extractor fan in your cooker hood. This will also improve your indoor air quality

You should also move the kettle out from under your kitchen cupboards. If you don’t, steam from the boiling water could cause mould to form here.

Read more on how to stop condensation

Man wiping down an extractor fan

8. Organise your kitchen 

You don’t need to spend lots of money on storage solutions, but organising your cupboards really will make your life much easier, so channel your inner Marie Kondo. 

It will save you time and stress as you won’t have to rummage through overflowing or poorly arranged cupboards looking for things.

Plus, a well organised fridge, pantry or larder can help prevent food waste, as you’ll have a clearer idea of what you already have and what needs using up. 

Check out our kitchen design ideas for effective storage solutions

9. Fix leaking taps

A dripping tap is not only annoying, it wastes a surprising amount of water, which is bad for the environment and your water bill. 

So even if it’s just a few drops, getting your dripping tap fixed should be a priority.

If your leak or water issue requires professional attention, call a Which? Trusted Trader to find someone reliable near you.

Be inspired to make home improvements. Sign up for our Home newsletter – it’s free monthly 


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