White kitchens: how hard to keep clean?

cevamalSeptember 24, 2013

We're almost ready to order cabinets but have to make a final decision on cabinet finishes.

We're definitely going with soapstone counters and white appliances. I wish I liked stainless but I really don't.

We're going to have an open floorplan so we're going to redo all of the floors (living room/dining room/kitchen) the same so we can't do tile, it will almost definitely be wood.

I really like the pictures of white kitchens. I like it with the white appliances, it gives us tons of flexibility for the floor, and I like it with the soapstone.

Really my only concern is with keeping it clean. I have 3.5 kids (10/7/1/unborn) so lots of kitchen chaos! How bad is it?

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Not hard, IMHO. I had white for 15+ years through two kids, six cats and a messy husband. For most of those years we had white counters, too. People used to see it and remark, Gosh, how do you keep all that clean? But to my mind, if it wasn't clean, wouldn't you want to know? I think with white, it is much easier to spot clean. To see something before it soaks in, stains, or God forbid, molds. ;-)

We went cream with our recent remake, just to better match the rest of the house. But to my mind, nothing is as classically beautiful, or as decoratively flexible, as a white kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 5:39PM
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Totally agree with MizLizzie.

I have white cabs, white marble counters, and white b-splashes (marble and white ceramic). My previous counters were brown granite, and I always knew there were crumbs and grime that I couldn't see, but was definitely there.

White makes spot cleaning a cinch, and it's absolutely no harder to keep this kitchen clean than the darker ones I've had in the past.

Have fun!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 6:42PM
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We did our white kitchen remodel when our daughters were grown. Thinking back though, I don't remember my daughters rummaging through the drawers and cabinets. Usually they were sitting at the table doing homework or waiting for dinner.
If they helped me cook, I was there supervising, so I controlled the mess.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 7:02PM
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A few thoughts from my experience:

I'm one of 5 kids, and we had a white kitchen growing up. About once a month it was my job to wash the cabinets down with a dishcloth and soapy water. It was kinda fun to climb all around the counters.

I owned a home with a white kitchen when I had 3 kids under 4. The cabs were often messy, but like has been said, it was so easy to see what needed to be cleaned when I had a chance...or could pull a Tom Sawyer on my kids;)

I now have 4.5 kids, and I'm planning a white kitchen in our upcoming build. I am far from a fantastic housekeeper.

Bottom line: go for it!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 7:48PM
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I agree with what everyone else has said so far. We had a white kitchen and just redid ours with another white kitchen. It's so much easier to spot clean because you can see the spills. They don't get hidden and set in.

If you love the look, go for it :)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 9:27PM
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I am on my 3rd white cabinet/white backsplash kitchen and have never had a problem keeping it clean. I see the splash and wipe it up. My cabinets are shaker and every couple of weeks I just take a damp cloth, wrap it up on my finger and do a very,very quick wipe around the bottom shaker rail of the cabinets which takes about 60 seconds. I just walk fast and wipe as I go.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 10:07PM
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I don't think it's a big issue. You want your kitchen to be clean, not to disguise dirt, anyway. A grout color that is very light can be problematic with stains but I wouldn't want one too dark either.

I would be very careful about the type of wood flooring you put in there though. Lots of research needed. I like to wash a kitchen floor and have pet bowls there, so don't find it practical under those circumstances.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 10:15PM
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On white you see everything, and I think that's a good thing. Spill it, see it, wipe it up. Nothing can last long enough to gain much traction. I have a dark gray counter and I wish it were lighter so I could see the mess when it happens, not when it dries.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 10:28PM
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Thank you everyone! I really needed to hear this. I'd been sold, then was talking to my neighbors and got a round of *wince* "that sounds hard to clean!" So I started second guessing.

Last night I was reading replies to this thread on my phone while giving the baby a bath and noticed the kids' bathroom vanity is...white cabinets! And we don't do anything special with it. It always looks fine.

I'm ready to order!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 10:31AM
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I have always had a white kitchen - 4 grown kids later, I am finally getting a reno but maintaining a white kitchen. Love them and they are not hard to keep clean - I just spot clean when I tidy up after dinner.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 11:44AM
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I'm with the 'see everything is a good thing'. Easy to keep up with and quickly. Before it gets dried, gummy, sticky. It is the same hands, splatters, and spills. I do not want a surface that hides all that, ew.
I have rested and leaned on so many dark counters that are filthy with sticky spots. (Probably a quick wipe with a filthy dish rag). I do love soapstone. Just have a good system for cleaning.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 11:57AM
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Love our white kitchen cabinets, especially with having 5 kids. I would much rather see a spill and clean it up sooner than to not notice one on a darker wood. We also have mostly white appliances and I'm very happy with how well the colors matched up. We have stainless steel pulls and a stainless hood and it seems to all tie in quite nicely, at least, imo. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Well, I sure hope you're all right :-) (We've always had countertops with lots of color and motion and since I'm a terrible housekeeper, thought that was a good thing, but this time, we're going with all white counters, and half white cabinets. Looking forward to a clean kitchen! (I'm a terrible housekeeper, meaning I can avoid cleaning what I can't see, if I see it, I will clean it!)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 12:40PM
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I painted my old kitchen cabs white....it wasn't the white that was hard to keep clean, it was the nooks,crannies, and grooves on the cabinet doors/drawer fronts that were hard to clean. When we remodeled I went with slab doors (natural maple)--what a breeze---one quick wipe-down...no nooks and crannies and dragging out the Q tips!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 2:18PM
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I think if you love the looks of something, you don't mind cleaning it as much. (An exception would be a white floor, which is just a royal pain.) If you really want the white cabs, go for it.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 4:29PM
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As a boomer who's had white kitchens for most of my adult life, I don't have much basis for comparison. However, the difference in my attitude about keeping a white kitchen clean has changed dramatically since I got introduced to my new BFF: Her name's Magic Eraser! What an amazing little helper. IMHO, that little sponge has managed to elevate spot cleaning white cabs, moldings, backsplashes, etc. from a boring, functional task to a work of art. Okay. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but now that I've got my ME, I'll never go back! lol

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 5:53PM
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