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Updated: 9 May 2022

Nine maintenance tips to keep your kitchen looking good

These regular checks and quick fixes will save you money and hassle in the long-run.  
Bright and clean white kitchen

These small kitchen maintenance jobs only take a few minutes, but can do a lot to keep your home looking great and prevent it from losing value. 

Getting into these nine regular habits will help you dodge bigger, more expensive repairs later down the line. 

Living in a space that's neat, clean and well-looked after will also be good for your state of mind, preventing you becoming overwhelmed.

Prolonging the life of your existing kitchen, and delaying buying new cabinets, appliances, worktops and other kitchen components, will also be better for the environment. 

While this isn't an exhaustive list – you could spend all your free time on DIY if you wanted to – it's a good starting point. 

If your kitchen is looking truly shabby, or you've moved into a new property with questionable décor, an overhaul may be unavoidable. Discover the best and worst kitchen brands as rated by more than 3,800 kitchen owners.

1. Clean your kitchen sink and taps regularly

These get used every day, so can quickly start to look old and grimy. Keep them looking nice and shiny by drying them down often, rather than leaving water sitting on them, so that limescale doesn't build up. 

If limescale has already taken hold, 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 ten minutes (you can also use an old toothbrush to help remove any stubborn limescale) and then wash it off. Finish by drying it with a clean, soft cloth.

Of course, you'll also need to disinfect your sink frequently if you don't want food poisoning. Some people (hopefully not you) think that, because water and washing up liquid run through a kitchen sink each day, it effectively self-cleans. 

Don't leave dirty dishes sitting in the sink for days. Bacteria will fester, and you'll need to spend more time scrubbing your sink and plates down. 

2. Wipe down worktops, cabinets and benches

Like sinks and taps, kitchen worktops get used daily, so you should wipe them down on a daily basis too. Move kettles, toasters and any other appliances that live on your kitchen benches out of the way at least weekly, in case there are crumbs hiding behind them.  

Clean up any spills as soon as they happen. The longer a substance clings to your cabinets, the harder it will be to remove. 

It's also a good idea to clean the outside panels of your kitchen cabinets as often as you have time for, especially if you have pets or children that might have touched them with sticky hands. 

A mixture of water and washing up liquid usually works well for this, but try an inconspicuous area first if using a chemical product. 

Kitchen ideas: find out more about how to keep costs in check when zhuzhing up an old kitchen, including painting your kitchen cabinets and choosing the best kitchen lighting. 

3. Unclog kitchen pipes and drains

Is your kitchen sink draining very slowly? Is the water in your sink coming back up? If there a bad smell in your kitchen? Don't ignore these tell-tale signs of a blocked drain. 

It's wise to keep a plunger at home in case your sink gets blocked (pick one up for under a fiver next time you're at a hardware store). We've also rounded up the most effective kitchen drain unblockers to help you out. 

Prevention is always better than cure, though. Don't be tempted to wash food chunklets or coffee grounds down the drain: scrape them off into your food waste, compost or bin before washing up and get a drain protector to catch any residue. 

And don't pour cooking oil down the sink. Not only can it congeal in your drains and cause a blockage, it could contribute to a fatberg forming, or it could find its way into waterways and be harmful to animals. 

Hot water and soap can't dissolve oils and fats – and the soap might actually make the oil harden, stick to other items lurking in your pipes and exacerbate the problem.

Instead, you should let it cool and solidify, then throw it in the bin, unless your local recycling centre takes cooking oil. 

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

4. Clean the grouting on your kitchen tiles

Grouting can be a trap for dirt and grease. Dirty and discoloured grouting will make your kitchen look old and grubby, but a bit of cleaning can really transform your kitchen's look. 

Take into account the type of tile you have. Natural stone tiles, for example, are porous and require a gentler approach as they can easily stain. Use less abrasive cloths or brushes for these.  

For a light approach, use vinegar and warm water. Get a brush (a soft old toothbrush may do too) and give it a good scrub. 

For tougher stains you can use a combination of baking soda and vinegar.

5. Use your kitchen cooker hood

A functioning cooker hood is key for maintaining a clean kitchen.

Extracting hoods, which send air outside, are a better choice than recirculating models. The best will work quickly and quietly to eliminate moisture and odours (more on kitchen moisture later), while stopping grease from forming on your kitchen surfaces. 

Our guide on how to clean cooker hoods gives step-by-step instructions. Or, if you need a new one, our cooker hood reviews can point you towards the best. 

Man wiping down an extractor fan

6. Fix any leaks and dripping taps

A dripping tap is extremely annoying – and it can waste huge quantities of water, which is bad for the environment and can add to your water bill if you're on a meter. 

So, even if we're just talking about 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 make sure you get someone reliable. 

Find out more about how to save water at home.

7. Clean kitchen appliances regularly

Kitchen appliances that we use often can quickly get dirty, greasy or clogged with limescale. 

Cleaning an oven

  • Start by using a glass scraper followed by a soft sponge. Scourers can cause tiny scratches in the glass that weaken it
  • If the glass is removable, do this very carefully, as a knock could put a hairline fracture in it, which may lead to shattering in the future
  • To clean the metal shelves, remove and soak in warm, soapy water
  • Check out our guide to how to clean your oven for more detail.

Cleaning a microwave

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

  • Put 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, the leave for a few minutes to cool
  • Remove the bowl and wipe over the top, bottom and walls with a damp sponge
  • Remove the plate and clean it separately by hand, or in the dishwasher.

Cleaning a toaster

  • You should empty out your toaster's crumb tray often, as a collection of crumbs could pose a fire hazard
  • Wipe down the outside with an e-cloth to remove fingerprints. 

If you need to deep clean your fridge, check out our video on how to clean a smelly fridge.

8. Avoid condensation and mould in your kitchen

Condensation is caused by moist warm air condensing on cool walls, particularly in rooms like kitchens and bathrooms where your activities will naturally generate a lot of moisture. Condensation can lead to mould, which can be a hassle to remove and harm your health, particularly if you have respiratory problems or a weakened immune system. 

Keep your kitchen well-ventilated by opening windows and, as we said before, looking after your cooker hood. This will also improve your indoor air quality

Move your kettle out from underneath your kitchen cupboard before boiling it. Otherwise the steam could lead to your kitchen cabinets going mouldy, warping or rotting. Check the underneath of your kitchen cabinets if you've been boiling your kettle underneath them up till this point. 

Find out more about getting rid of condensation at home.

9. Keep your kitchen tidy

You don't need to spend lots of money on storage solutions (although shopping for cute storage containers is definitely the fun part of tidying up). But organising your cupboards really will make your life much easier – and it will make Marie Kondo proud of you. 

It will save you time on cooking – making the prospect of cooking more appealing. 

And it will prevent food waste and save you money, as you'll have a clearer idea of what you already have versus what you need to replenish. 

For more tips on how to maximise space in a tiny kitchen, check out our guide to small kitchen ideas. And, if you're wondering how to save money on a refurb, have you considered buying a second-hand kitchen