You’ve invested a lot in your kitchen. Here’s how to keep it beautiful and squeaky-clean.

Your newly remodeled kitchen is beautiful. Congratulations! But what’s the best way to keep this busy activity center — the heart of your home — pristine, organized, and hygienic?

Before we discuss specific kitchen cleaning do’s and don’ts, let’s introduce two general rules of kitchen cleaning that will make your cleaning tasks go more smoothly:

  1. Clean as you go. “Clean as you go” is a highly recommended way of working that’s taught in many cooking schools. Its purpose is to make working in the kitchen easier, more hygienic, and more fun. Incorporate light cleaning and de-cluttering into your pre-cooking routine. Tidy up after each step of the meal preparation process has concluded. By making cleaning, organizing, and de-cluttering an integral part of your meal preparation routine, you’ll be able to better enjoy your meals without dreading a massive cleanup to come.
  2. Clean from top to bottom. Gravity is a force to be respected in the kitchen, so when it’s time to deep clean your kitchen, remember that it’s best to clean “from top to bottom.” Clean upper surfaces first (don’t forget the top of the fridge), then move down to the countertops and cooktop surfaces, and finally to the floor. This way, you’ll never have to clean any surface more than once.

Now let’s move on to how to clean the important components of your kitchen, including cabinets, countertops, cooktops, tile surfaces, and flooring:

Your cabinets represent a large chunk of your investment in your kitchen, so it’s important to keep them spotless and pristine. A soft cloth dampened with water is usually all that’s needed to keep their outer faces looking great. If you need more cleaning power, a mild dishwashing liquid mixed with warm water is usually sufficient. After you’ve applied the liquid with the soft cloth, use another cloth to immediately dry the cabinet surfaces. Avoid using store bought cleaning products that might damage your cabinets. If any spills or serious spattering affect your cabinets, clean them immediately. Prolonged exposure to spills can cause permanent discoloration or damage your cabinet’s finish.

Kitchen countertops see a lot of use, but like cabinets, they won’t benefit from being cleaned with harsh cleaning products. Windex Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner is an excellent choice for cleaning countertops made of sealed granite, sealed marble top, Formica, and Corian; it’s also appropriate to use on stainless steel and ceramic surfaces. (Important: never use regular Windex glass cleaner for countertops: this product contains ammonia, which can damage them). You can also simply clean your countertops with a soft, clean cloth saturated with a mix of warm water and liquid dishwashing soap.

Smooth cooktops
The flat surfaces provided by smooth cooktops are easier to clean than conventional burner-equipped ranges, but you’ll need to be careful choosing the right cleaning product to avoid damaging their ceramic surfaces.  Cerama Bryte Cooktop Cleaner is an excellent product that’s recommended by many major appliance makers, including Admiral, Amana, Electrolux, GE, Hotpoint, Jenn-Air, Maytag, Tappan, Viking, and Whirlpool, for use on their cooktops. This product is hard to locate in stores, but can be ordered from major online retailers, including and Walmart.

Ceramic and porcelain tile
There are many general purpose cleaners that will effectively clean ceramic and porcelain tile surfaces, but be careful about how you apply them. Never use ready-made mops: the cleaning fluids they use may leave a film that will hold dirt. Avoid bleach products because, over time, they can take the pigment out of the grout placed between individual tiles. Avoid any acidic cleaner; Scrubbing Bubbles or Kaboom are generally good choices for tile surfaces.

Hardwood flooring
Wood floors don’t enjoy being cleaned with harsh, abrasive cleansers, or those containing ammonia or bleach. NDA Kitchens’ refinisher recommends a solution of warm water and a few capfuls of vinegar on a well wrung out mop. If you experience a liquid spill on your hardwood floor, clean it up quickly to avoid the prospect of staining. As you clean, work with the wood grain – never against it.