For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted a white kitchen. Yes, even before Joanna Gaines made them popular on Fixer Upper. So when my husband and I had the chance to renovate our 1940s colonial I KNEW I wanted to create a beautiful modern and French farmhouse kitchen. However, when I told people my plans I heard of a lot of “No, you don’t. It’ll be hard to keep clean.” Against their better judgment, I went ahead with my white kitchen renovation and couldn’t be happier. I’m also here to report that it’s very possible to keep a white kitchen clean with just a few tips and tricks.
How I Keep a White Kitchen Clean
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a small portion if you click on a link, but it does not raise the price for you. All proceeds go to my blog and likely, my cat. *
1.) Keep Your Countertops Clear
Okay, this tip has more to do with keeping your kitchen in general clean, but even more so when everything is white.
We tend to keep everything we think we will ever need out on our counters – coffee pots, toasters, tea kettles, paper towels, dish soap, etc. If you want to keep your kitchen looking cleaner it’s better to put everything you can away and out of sight.
“BUT THAT SEEMS LIKE SUCH A PAIN!” you want to yell at me.
It’s really not. It takes a whole two seconds to put the toaster away, two seconds to get it out. But when you go to clean your kitchen it saves SO much time by not having to run away and move everything to wipe them down. Also, crumbs have fewer places to hide behind.
So next time you use an appliance, put it away. you’ll quickly get used to taking out what you need when you do and putting it away again. Plus you might find you don’t use some things as often as you thought you did.
2.) Clean up small messes as they happen
It’s easier to let our countertop collect junk throughout the day. It’s easier to say we’ll clean those crumbs tonight. It’s easier to say we’ll clean our microwave this weekend (or in my case – next month). But in the long run, the dirtier and messier we let our kitchens become, the more time it takes to clean them later.
Don’t believe me? Give it a try. When you clean up messes as you make them it only takes a few seconds and it’s done.
Now, I’m a work-at-home mom so I know how crazy some days get. Many days I don’t have time to finish a meal before it gets cold, let alone clean up a mess. And that’s OK. That’s life. On those days I just do what I can and you should too.
3.) Keep your cleaning supplies SIMPLE
This is one of my biggest secrets. Ready? I only use two cleaners in my white kitchen. My go-to supplies include Magic Erasers and an all-purpose spray cleaner. For mirrors and windows, I use something called a Glean Cloth which my mom introduced me too. There is no product on it – just the cloth. (Thanks, mom!)
So why Magic Erasers?
I love them because they get any hard to get off “thing” from my countertop. Cooked on food, spilled grape juice – it gets it all. I then like to follow up with a disinfecting multi-surface spray to get everything disinfected and sparkling. I make my own DIY All-Purpose Cleaner and use it on the countertops, cupboards, cat dish holders, microwave, oven, fridge, sink, you name it. Just spray and wipe that pretty white kitchen down.
That’s it. My cleaning routine is so easy it’s stupid.
You might want to be careful using a magic eraser depending on what type of countertops you have in your kitchen, though. My countertops are quartz so they stand up to anything. But sometimes, magic erasers are too abrasive for other types of countertops and can actually cause damage.
4.) Run your dishwasher at night
This is more of a general cleaning tip than just for white kitchens but as I mentioned before, messes are more obvious in a white kitchen so just keeping it clean is extra important to keep it looking fresh and white.
By collecting your dishes throughout the day you avoid them collecting on the countertop or in the sink. Then when you run it at night it’s helping “clean” our kitchen while we sleep.
When I get up in the morning I empty either while the baby is sleeping, or after I feed her.
And here’s an extra fun fact: I was shocked to learn you can save money by running it at night. Go check out the Tannehill Homestead’s post on 30 ways to save money on your utilities.
BONUS: This does not have to do with keeping your kitchen clean, but it does keep it fresh. Put lemon rinds and cold water down your disposal while you run it to clean out the gunk and keep it smelling fresh. Lovely.
NOW onto the fun part: my Farmhouse Kitchen Renovation Reveal!
Wow, was this a task. When we bought the house I loved everything about it except the kitchen. In fact, I hated it. It was brown and closed in. I didn’t think a renovation would be possible but after we bought it we looked at our budget, as well as resell value and decided it would be in our benefit to update the kitchen.
Here are a couple “BEFORE” photos. They are a little deceiving because they are professional photos so you’re going to have to trust me that it was dark and cramped in there.
We got a contractor in quickly thanks to my coworker who had used him and after getting over the sticker price of how much a renovation costs, I closed my eyes and said, “let’s do it.”
It was not cheap.
It actually ended up costing more because one of the two walls we knocked down contained ALL the electrical, plumbing and ductwork. That was a nice – and expensive – surprise. But I tell you, once the walls came down I was so excited. The kitchen was now open to the dining and living room. For some reason, I was very excited about the fact that I could see the TV from the kitchen.
My husband and I disagreed about whether to put an island in or not, as well as a pantry. He wanted the island and I wanted a peninsula for storage. He won and I am so glad. It just helps with the flow of the kitchen so much better.
He also wanted a pantry, which I did too, but if we put one if we had to move the fridge next to the window, where I thought it looked awkward. I won that one but he’s still not sure it was a good decision. ha-ha
Picking out the Details
I loved picking out the details like my farmhouse sink, white shaker cabinets, and hardwood flooring. It was difficult to find something to match the living and dining room. The shame is underneath the flooring there was hardwood from the 1940’s but it would have been too costly to match it in the kitchen. Maybe the next homeowners will.
We had to put in a beam where the wall used to be (you know, to hold the second floor up – important) while I picked out modern farmhouse lighting and fixtures. Picking out these supporting details can really change the look and feel of any space, especially in a kitchen. Lighting is so important because it also illuminates certain areas of a space and creates a certain mood. I knew I wanted something that could work with both a “modern” and “farmhouse” style. Lastly, I already mentioned this but we picked quartz for the countertops because they are SO easy to keep clean. I highly recommend them.
And a little DIY
Lastly, my husband did an awesome job installing the tile backsplash. We went with a rustic subway tile.
And here are the AFTER photos….
Now that it’s all finished I’ve been having fun finding pretty dishcloths and butter dishes to match. A farmhouse table made from barn wood finishes off the space in the dining room.
If anyone is contemplating a renovation it is stressful but equally as fun. Fortunately, we did not have to live in the house while it was being completed but I can imagine that would add another level of stress.
Have you done a renovation before? Would you like to? What would your dream kitchen look like?
*Most photos taken by Rebecca Wilcher at Rebecca Wilcher Photography.