4 Simple & Safe Ways to Care for Your Kitchen Finishes!


I’ve been going through one heck of a kitchen renovation, and it’s pretty much done (yay!). 

I am so pleased with the results, and it’s been such a joy to set up and cook in a kitchen that feels like ‘me’.  We purchased and installed all new cabinets (glass and melamine foil/IKEA), handles (well, some are still on back order at the time of writing, but some are installed), a double bowl stainless steel sink, quartz counter top and porcelain tiles for a back splash.

So now that I have a brand new kitchen to fulfill my every cooking whim, I had to take the time and figure out exactly how I was supposed to clean and care for each finish.  That way, I’d be able to take care of it the way it deserves to be treated, right from day 1!  After all, it’s an all-white kitchen, it’s going to need a lot of cleaning.

Me being me, I spent time researching and practically interviewing anyone who I made a purchase from on the proper and specific products, tools and techniques required to safely and effectively clean my kitchen surfaces.  You know when I’ve said in the past to speak with the manufacturer for specific cleaning information?  Well, I took my own advice :).

So, according to my research, here’s exactly how to clean and care for IKEA cupboards (but the techniques work for wood and laminated or painted cupboards), quartz countertops, porcelain tiles and glass cupboards (which are quite the challenge in a kitchen!).


Even though it’s listed right on the website, I still asked a store associate exactly how to clean the cupboards I was ordering.  Sometimes they have a few extra tidbits of information which I always like to glean.  I was told the one thing I was kind of expecting,  and absolutely nothing more.  To tackle greasy fingerprints and other food stains, we were told to use nothing more than a little warm, soapy water!  The reason is simple – dish liquid is a safe, ph-neutral cleaner which will tackle all of those greasy stains on your cupboards without damaging the finish on the cupboards.  Also, it’s important to use a soft cloth or sponge only, so that the cupboards don’t scratch.

I keep a bottle of my homemade all-purpose cleaner on hand for quick clean ups (just a drop of Dawn and water), which I use with a microfiber cloth whenever I see a splash or fingerprint.  Otherwise, when a greasy dinner has just been cooked and there’s some splatters that need to be dealt with, or really any time the cabinet fronts need a deep clean,  I just add a squirt of Dawn to a soft sponge or cloth and get it nice and foamy with warm, running water, and then wipe using an ‘S’ pattern.  Clean off the sponge or cloth, wipe the cupboard to remove any soapy residue and then wipe dry with a clean, soft cloth.  No specialty products required!

Glass Cabinets

​I love the glass accents in my kitchen, they’ve added beautiful dimension and have really upped the classiness of the kitchen!  However,  I’m well aware of how challenging cleaning glass in the kitchen is, especially because we have in-cabinet lighting which will only illuminate every single fingerprint.  I’m hoping that Chad and I can control ourselves and use them responsibly (ha), but when we do get fingerprints, I’ve created a no-fail plan of action to tackle the mess.

I find it helpful to dust the cupboards first, that way you don’t ‘clean’ any dust, which leave small annoying flecks which dry onto the glass.  I just use a dry microfiber cloth to do this and just work from top to bottom.   Now, the surface is primed to clean.  I keep a mixture of 1 part white vinegar to 1 part water in a spray bottle and use that as my glass cleaner and have a designated flat-weave microfiber cloth specifically designed for glass cleaning (no streaks!).  To clean the glass, I spray the interior cupboard and wipe using an ‘S’ pattern, flip the cloth over and re-trace my steps with a dry corner of the cloth immediately to remove any streaks.  Then, close the cupboard and repeat on the exterior panel.   This simple technique is all that’s needed to keep glass cabinets looking gorgeous.


If you have a greasy backsplash, it clearly means you are a great cook!  But, it also means you’ve got quite a job ahead of you.  You’ve got to stay on top of this or else you’ll get a sticky yellow build up which can be really quite a job to clean.  As with most things, maintenance is key to keeping it looking beautiful and clean for years to come. Now, I had a temporarily painted backsplash while we awaited our porcelain tiles to arrive.  My technique is to use something gentle but effective, and use it often to prevent build up.  It works wonders!  And even though I always thought this was the right way, Vanessa, the lovely lady who sold me the tiles confirmed my notion!

To remove grease from a porcelain or ceramic tiled backsplash, like the one I’m about to get, you can use a solution of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water.  Spray on, leave for a moment, and wipe off.  Don’t use anything abrasive, so stick to a soft cloth or sponge for this as well.  Now, for stone or painted backsplashes like the one I have here, use a sponge with a drop of Dawn and warm water (be sure to squeeze out those suds so it’s not all drippy!). Rinse well and dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.  Voila!


We spent some time deliberating as to which would be the best countertops to go with.  I felt that I wanted a ‘stone’ finish, but marble and granite were too risky in the sense that they were hard to clean.  Plus, I loved the purist aesthetic to the quartz we went with: just a minimal fleck which provided a nice, gentle glimmer but didn’t overtake the look of the clean, crisp white kitchen I was after.  Anyway, I also knew that quartz was super durable and easier to clean (double win!).

Now, when the counter guy came by to install it, I actually had to sign a piece of paper saying I understood the cleaning procedures for the quartz counter he had just installed.  He reviewed it with me and handed me a maintenance information kit.  I was like dude, I got this!  He told me all I could use was, you guessed it, mild soap (AKA dish soap) and water.  What a relief!

For smoothie globs, grease, tea spills and just about anything else that will grace my countertop, I’m going to squirt a drop of Dawn directly onto my soft kitchen sponge and run it under warm water, being sure to squeeze out any of those extra drips so as not to create a mess.  Then, I’ll  simply scrub (again using a soft sponge or cloth) the area until it’s clean and grease-free, then towel dry! Dawn won’t remove the gorgeous shine, but since it’s engineered to cut grease, it will do just that on the counters making my work easier.  Vinegar will remove the shine actually, and can even stain or mar granite or marble.  pH neutral soap like Dawn doesn’t cause any of that and is safe to use on any countertop surface.

Well it might sound simple, it shouldn’t surprise you that I am yet again, leaning on the cheapest, most convenient and easiest products to use to clean my kitchen.  To learn more about some other great cleaning hacks around the house with Dawn, visit dawn-dish.com/beyondthesink.

I’d love to know, what’s the dirtiest part of your kitchen?  I can’t wait to find out!

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Melissa Maker is the host of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube, editor-at-large of CleanMySpace.com, and founder of Clean My Space (a well-known Toronto-based cleaning service). She's been knee-deep in the cleaning game since 2006. Follow Melissa: @MelissaMaker on Instagram, SnapChat & Twitter!


  1. If you have answered this question already, my apologies. How do you clean stainless steel stoves? I have a gas stove with removable cast iron grates. It gets really dirty during canning season and stains don’t totally come out. I also want to get a stainless steel fridge when my current one finally quits working, so I am assuming I can clean it the same way, right? Thanks!

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