Tips - How to take care of your kitchen?
Functions and the use of the kitchen
As in the case of many objects for everyday use, the image of a modern kitchen has also changed. Previously, the kitchen usually comprised individual components, such as a cupboard, stove, sink or table. Kitchen work took a considerable part of the day and included cooking, washing and preparing. These activities were performed within independent working areas, and the long distances between such areas also influenced the length of the preparation time. With the introduction of the kitchen for fitting, kitchen work has been revolutionised. Strictly defined functions and corresponding areas caused that cooking nowadays has become a rationalised process. Therefore, a change in requirements has also become necessary.
Apart from its functionality, the perfect image of the kitchen is heavily emphasised. The idea of the kitchen has been changed from a workshop into a room in which people should feel good. Therefore, only such materials are used in the kitchen, which are intended for use in the living room. The quality of these materials has been significantly improved to meet the requirements for use in the kitchen, but they also need special care, and we would like to consider this issue.
A Small Compendium on Materials
Wood, or to be more specific, solid wood is a material with a specific response pattern to air humidity. It is said that wood moves. Securing the wood surface may slow down this process, but it shall not eliminate it completely. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the air humidity in the kitchen ranges between 40 and 70%. Short-term excess within 2-3 days shall not have an adverse effect. Also you, as the kitchen users, will feel best in the aforesaid humidity. Wood is characterised by a disparity and diversity of structure, contrasts of colour, discolourations and knots. These morphological properties of wood, characteristic for any material of natural origin, arising from various environmental conditions in which the tree grew, differentiate wood from synthetically produced materials and, as such, do not constitute a defect of the product.
On the contrary – such properties constitute an indicator of fine quality. The evaluation of the surface quality should be performed from a distance of not less than 1 m, at each time considering individual location of sources of natural and artificial light. The colouring and wood drawings presented on the templates are not repeatable in relation to the front panels of the entire furniture set due to the aforesaid characteristics of wood and the fact that the template constitutes a small part of the furniture surface. Additional ordering of front panels should be avoided after a certain period of use of the kitchen, because the UV radiation affects the change of the colour tone.
Too high humidity
The low humidity
Wood veneer, also called natural veneer, is a type of wood, thinly sliced into slices of a thickness of 0.6 to 2 mm. Gluing veneer onto a wood-based panel gives an appearance similar to that of solid wood, and it also reduces wood imperfections resulting from its sensitivity to air humidity. As in the case of wood, veneer is characterised by a disparity and diversity of structure, contrasts of colour, discolourations and knots. These morphological properties of natural veneer, characteristic for any material of natural origin, arising from various environmental conditions in which the tree grew, differentiate natural veneer from synthetically produced materials and, as such, do not constitute a defect of the product. On the contrary – such properties constitute an indicator of fine quality.
Wood-based panels – chipboard and MDF board
Wood-based panels is an umbrella term for panel materials made of wood chips.
A chipboard is made of veneered wood chips, compressed under high pressure and at a temperature of about 100 degrees Celsius. The board surface is usually covered with natural veneer or plastic.
The MDF board is produced in a similar way as the chipboard. In order to distinguish it from the chipboard, fine chips are used in the production process, and this results in greater weight of the board. Due to the closed-pore surface, the MDF board can be applied as a material for milled (shaped in 3D), film covered or lacquered front panels.
Plastic is used as the surface of front panels, bodies or countertops. A distinction is made between dysplastic and thermoplastic materials. Laminate is a dysplastic material. Laminate can be imprinted with a decor or have a uniform colour. It is particularly friendly for cleaning as it has a smooth, closed surface. Universal laminates, which are especially used for countertops, are produced in the same way as laminate, but they meet specific requirements for countertops. Thermoplastics, such as PCV film, are applied on the front panel surfaces. Their advantage is the ability to shape the surface.
Metals – stainless steel and aluminium
Metals are used in the kitchen either for technical reasons, such as fittings, household appliances or sinks, or to enhance the image of the kitchen. Mainly aluminium and stainless steel is applied.
They are used on the surface of wooden front panels or those made of natural veneer, or combined with stains. Some metal components can be powder coated, i.e. the powder coating is burnt on the lacquered surfaces.
In order to make the kitchen seem more spatial, doors with glasses are often applied.
Stone and panels of mineral plastics
The most commonly used species of stone countertops is granite, which is characterised by high hardness. The surface has natural fugues, so it may absorb liquids. After impregnation with silicone or a similar fluid, the liquid absorption may be reduced but not eliminated completely. Fat, oil and other liquids available in shops should be removed immediately to avoid the formation of permanent stains.
Hot pots should be placed on stands to avoid scratching. As a natural product, each stone is unique, and therefore, individual stones may vary in colour and structure.
Plastic panels consist of mineral particles mixed with a synthetic mass. The stone properties depend on the type of the mass applied.
Tips on use
Kitchen work is associated with high temperatures, steam, humidity. In addition, many food products leave problematic stains. Furniture materials are indeed resistant to most of these factors, but there are limits resulting from the properties of these materials.
In order to enjoy your kitchen for a long time, you should follow a few important tips related to dealing with it.
When cooking, ensure sufficient ventilation to avoid the condensation of steam on pieces of furniture.
Open the dishwasher after about 20 minutes from the end of the program, so that the steam can condense inside the appliance.
Avoid spilling water
Use a moisture absorber.
Individually determine the efficiency of the absorber in accordance with the parameters of the room. The following formula should be applied as a rule:
- Kitchen area x kitchen height x 6 = minimum efficiency of the moisture absorber in m3/h
- Kitchen area x kitchen height x 12 = maximum efficiency of the moisture absorber in m3/h
Kitchen area = 12 m2
Kitchen height = 2.4 m
12 m2 x 2.4 m x 6/h = 173 m3/h (minimum efficiency)
12 m2 x 2.4 m x 12/h = 346 m3/h (maximum efficiency)
Do not place a coffee maker and a kettle under the wall cabinets. Steam and temperature damage your furniture in a longer perspective.
Do not place hot pans directly, without using a stand, on the countertop or any other part of the furniture.
Regularly check the drain of the condensing water in the refrigerator in order to prevent its blockage. Follow the instruction manual of the refrigerator.
Porcelain and stoneware dishes have an uncoated surface at their bottoms. When you move them on the countertop, it may result in slight scratches.
Occasionally check the temperature on the edge of the oven door surface.
Note: If you can touch the door edge with your finger, the temperature stays below 70 degrees Celsius
and the heating is normal. If you cannot – you should ask the service centre to check the tightness of the oven door.
Do not cut directly on the countertop. Use a cutting board.
Tips on maintenance
Regular maintenance of fitted kitchen means keeping its value and greatly extending its life. So keep your kitchen in clean conditions.
- Use only mild and water-soluble cleaning agents, which are specifically designed for use in the kitchen in accordance with their product information.
- Use a soft cloth or sponge. Do not use cloths causing scratches.
- Remove stains as soon as possible. Fresh stains generally can be removed more easily and completely.
- After cleaning, wipe the surface dry.
Never use solvents, cleaning powders or sponges to clean the pots, as they will damage the surface to such an extent that restoring them to their original conditions will be impossible.
Do not apply pressure steam cleaning or cleaning by means of a water hose.
Lacquered wood surfaces should be cleaned with warm water and a mild cleaning agent on a partly wet cloth. Then the surface should be thoroughly wiped dry in the direction of the grain. With particularly persistent stains, the cleaning agent can be undiluted or a window cleaner can be used. For safety, it should be checked whether the window cleaner does not harm the surface on a part out of sight.
Plastic surfaces (front panels, bodies, countertops)
Plastic surfaces should be cleaned with a mild detergent and a soft cloth. Then they should be wiped with clean water and wiped dry. With particularly persistent stains, the cleaning agent can be undiluted or a window cleaner can be used.
Stains that were not scorched, can be removed with a wet cloth without a cleaning agent. Stains from metal pots, scale or water stains can be removed with a stainless steel cleaning agent or a special cleaning agent for ceramic panels. Severely scorched stains should be removed with a razor blade while they are still warm. In the case of scorched sugar or substances containing sugar, the dirt must be removed immediately.
Stainless steel and enamel
A dishwashing detergent is sufficient for regular maintenance. Severe dirt and water stains must be removed with a diluted detergent for cleaning steel. Rust stains are best removed with a 10% citric acid or a special detergent for cleaning stainless steel. Fittings, especially hinges, should be rubbed with petroleum jelly once a year.
Aluminium surfaces should be cleaned with a damp, soft cloth without any other additives. In order to avoid water stains, it is recommended to wipe the surface dry. With persistent stains, a dishwasher cleaner or window cleaner can be used.
In addition to cleaning the casing, the metal filter must be regularly washed in a sink or in a dishwasher. Nonwoven filters must be replaced regularly. If the absorber is not connected with the stack and acts only as an odour absorber, an activated carbon filter has to be replaced every 3-6 months.
Ovens can be cleaned with cleaning agents available at shops, while they are still warm, and the stains are not scorched. For severe dirt, use a specially designed oven cleaner.
For hygienic reasons, the refrigerator should be thoroughly cleaned every 6 months. To do this, unplug the refrigerator, wait until it is defrosted, remove all the shelves and drawers. It is recommended to clean the refrigerator with a mild detergent and a soft cloth.
As you can see, taking care of the kitchen is not a “dirty job”. You do not need an arsenal of chemicals. In most cases, a mild detergent and a soft cloth available at shops are sufficient. The instruction manuals contain further information on particular equipment.
The quick removal of dirt and stains plays a crucial role. This will allow you to enjoy your kitchen for a long time.