Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

kitchen cleaning hacksKeeping your kitchen clean is important for the health and the mind, as it is the heart of your home. However, it can be quite time-consuming to clean your kitchen, so here are some handy hacks to know about:

Soak grates with ammonia

If your oven grates are looking a little greasy and dirty, simply soak them in an ammonia cleaner and you won’t even need to scrub them. Just don’t mix the ammonia with another type of cleaner.

Coat inside your oven with a mixture of water, baking soda and dish soap

Leave the mixture to soak for 15 minutes, and it will make your oven look practically brand new!

Clean up sticky kitchen dust with oil

Simply put a bit of cooking oil on a paper towel and let that pick up the dust, before using dish soap and warm water to clean it off.

Use tongs to clean your blinds

Wrap a pair of tongs in microfibre cloths and use them to clean the dust from in between your blinds.

Clean baking trays and pans with lemon

Burnt your food? Not to worry, just soak the baking trays/pans with hot water, baking soda and lemon.

Clear out your coffee grinder with bread

Yes, really. Pick up those last stubborn grains with a piece of soft white bread, then throw it out.

Steam clean your microwave with vinegar

Heat a bowl of vinegar and water in the microwave for 10 minutes before wiping it down.

Clean your blender in a few seconds

Simply fill the blender halfway with water and some dish soap, and then switch it on, before rinsing it clean.

Use oil and baking soda to clean your cabinets

If your cabinets are looking a bit grimy, use a combination of vegetable oil and baking soda to give them a clean and a nice shine!

Make a natural refrigerator cleanser

Make a spray out of lemon, one part white vinegar and two parts water. Spray inside the fridge with it and wipe it down, and you’ll be left with a clean fridge and no bad smells.

 Create your own reusable cleansing wipes

Disposable wipes are expensive, so make your own using an old t-shirt, vinegar, water and some essential oils to make them smell nice.

Use dryer sheets to clean caked on mess

Leftover lasagne residue? Don’t waste your energy scrubbing it. Just fill the tray with hot water, place a dryer sheet in it and leave it overnight.

Hire a professional

If your kitchen has got to the stage where you need professional help, hire professionals. A cleaning company in Bristol will come out to you, assess your needs and give your kitchen a full clean, leaving it looking better than ever with no effort required from you!

 

Why Taking Time Over a New Kitchen Design is Always Worthwhile

When it comes to Kitchens, everyone knows they are one of the most well-used rooms in the home. They need to be functional for cooking and eating, but they’re also required to fulfil other requirements – depending on each individual family.

In some properties, a larger open plan kitchen serves as the heart of the family home. In others, it’s a food prep, dining and work space, for some it is a well-organised and designed cooking haven and in still others, it is the best place for storage. And, while the kitchen is expected to accommodate one, some or all of the above, most of us want it to look good too!

“A lot is often expected of kitchens and it can be hard to get it right, particularly as your needs may change in the future,” said Marylebone estate agent,Kubie Gold Associates. “The key to getting the design of your kitchen right is to take your time and consider all your options.”

How to Make the Most of Your Kitchen

If you’re planning a kitchen makeover – big or small – then give yourself enough time to speak to professional or two (or three!), have a few visits from different, recommended kitchen designers and chat with friends and family who’ve had their kitchens updated in the last few years. Even if you don’t like what you hear from some people, that’s still helpful as it means you know what you don’t want!

As well as taking advice and looking around at what’s on trend and available, a helpful exercise would be to make a list of what your kitchen will be used for. Some examples include:

  • Regular food prep and cooking.
  • Dining and socialising.
  • A room for the family to spend time together, not watch TV.
  • Working – for the adults and children.
  • Somewhere than can be opened onto the garden in the warmer months.
  • To fulfil a need for additional storage.
  • A bit of a showroom for guests.
  • Pet friendly.    

“Kitchens really can be the most important, most well used room in the home, which is something you might not realise until you write down all the ways in which you already use it, or plan to use it after making some changes,” said Assetgrove. “When you look at it in those terms, a few more weeks’ research to find the perfect design and style will definitely pay dividends.”

The Options for Your Kitchen are Almost Endless!

While style and trends change, there’s always a wide array of kitchen cabinets, colours and finishes available. If you really can’t find what you’re looking for, then there’s always the bespoke option. Of course, it might cost that little bit more to get exactly what you want, but it might not be as expensive as you think. And besides, if you want one room to fulfil numerous roles, surely its worth that little bit more?

Think about it from your perspective – you’d expect to be paid more if your job role expanded beyond the initial title. If you really don’t want to spend more or have a strict budget, most kitchens have so many options that they will fit to any design you choose and provide you with exactly what you need.

“You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the kitchen you want, it might take a bit more planning, but the options from off-the-shelf kitchens are pretty broad,” said Plaza Estates. “Getting the design and fit of your kitchen right is important, so don’t listen to those who say you’re taking too long over it – take all the time you need to create the perfect kitchen for your home.”

How to choose the perfect kitchen for your home and lifestyle

kitchen

For many families, the kitchen is the hub of the home. It’s where the problems and plus points of the day are discussed, plans are made and cupcakes are decorated by tiny hands. Whether you’re part of a large family or there’s just one or two of you, the kitchen is an important place where functionality has to come first, closely followed by design.

A well-fitted kitchen can add around £10,000 to the value of your home so if you’re looking to sell up and move on any time over the next few years it’s always worth considering what you can do with this important room. But where do you begin when it comes to choosing your perfect fitted kitchen? Belgravia estate agent, Best Gapp says it always starts with a clear budget. “Establish your budget early on and don’t move from it, unless money isn’t an issue. Kitchen costs can soon add up, so be clear about how much you want to spend from the outset and keep an eye on all the little extras like mixer taps and waste disposal units.”

Once you have your budget in mind, think about what the kitchen means to you- if you’re a keen cook you’ll almost certainly want lots of preparation space, a good double oven and ample storage for all your cooking and baking ingredients. If your home is busy with pets and children, think about how practical it will be to keep clean- intricately engraved wooden cupboards may look beautiful but they can be notoriously difficult to look after, with bits of food and grease easily getting trapped in crevices. Central London estate agent, LDG says, “If life is hectic and time is short, it always pays to choose surfaces that are easily wiped down in favour of anything too ornate.”

It’s always a good idea to seek a little inspiration and do your homework before committing to a new kitchen- this is a big investment that can’t easily be changed. M&M Property suggests, “Take your time looking at units in store; try out the cupboard doors and see how they feel to you. Layout is also incredibly important- high shelves and cupboards may look nice and provide extra storage space, but they’re pretty pointless (not to mention dangerous) if you can’t reach them easily.”

If you’re looking long term, you can go crazy with colour and modern features for a really unique look. If, on the other hand, your aim is to sell, it’s always safer to go with something neutral and not too out there. Andrew Reeves
says subtlety is important when selling- “The majority of house hunters will be able to imagine themselves using a kitchen painted in neutral colours and fitted with classic Shaker style cupboards, whereas wall to wall orange tiles and futuristic fittings will be more than a little intimidating to most.”

The important thing is to take your time, know your budget and understand what you really want from your kitchen. Once you have those main factors clear, have fun shopping!

Why have LED Lighting in your Kitchen?

LED Lighting is finally gaining popularity, but you might still be a little reserved at the idea, with many nervous to make the switch (pardon the pun) over to the new, revolutionary, lighting style. Despite the hesitation, LED lights have now been crowned as the future of home lighting not only for their environmental benefits but also for the way they look in the home itself. They come in many attractive designs and you can even choose the colour that you prefer, depending on the look you are going for in a particular room. LED provide anything from beautifully bright lights to create the effect of an open, airy space or a yellowy golden bulb with a warm glow to create a cosy environment. LED lights have gained somewhat of a bad name in the past due to the fact that when they first came out many were associated with dimly lit rooms and generally very poor quality of light. This could now, not be further from the truth, and it is time you tried them for yourself…to see what all the fuss is about.

Lighting in the kitchen is a great way of giving it character and you should install LED lighting into your kitchen for a number of reasons. These include;

The Ability to Create the Perfect Ambience

The phrase ‘you will always find me in the kitchen at parties’ springs to mind with this one. The kitchen is the perfect hosting place, whether it be a family dinner, a get-together with friends or a dinner party, there is always something happening in the kitchen and so lighting is important. Choose from a range of LED light fixtures and fittings to create the perfect, inviting environment for your guests. Even the most basic of kitchens can be transformed with great lighting.

You’re Totally Spoilt for Choice

LED lighting isn’t just available as the basics, there are tonnes of fixtures and fittings available for your kitchen in the form of LED lights. Whether you want to light up the back splash LED lighting in kitchenagainst the kitchen wall, have light pouring down from the ceiling, or hang a subtle bulb above the breakfast bar, there is an endless choice of designs for you to get stuck into. A popular choice for the kitchen is the LED upstand lighting that goes across the back of your work tops. You can have no main lights on in the kitchen and use these to still see exactly what you are chopping, stirring and cooking. They also fit subtly into the design of your counters. They look a little like this.

You don’t Need to Worry about Changing them

LED lights are designed with no filament and so they can last a whopping fifty times longer than your average lightbulb, with 50, 000 hours in them. You might want a specific design of light in your kitchen but are put off by the fact that it seems fiddly to change. LED lighting is ideal in these situations because they do not need to be changed very often at all.

You Will be Helping the Environment

Amongst other things, LED lights are an extremely environmentally friendly choice as they use a lot less energy than regular bulbs (which also means they are a cost effective choice). The actual LED bulbs themselves can also be recycled.

Endless Colour Choice

As mentioned before, LED lights are not what they once were and they now come not only in all different shapes and sizes but also different colours. You can pick your colour temperature from the ‘Kelvin Scale’ with North Light (Blue Sky) being the coolest, brightest colour of light, right down to Tungsten and Candlelight, all of which create warmth and more of a glow than a bright light. With a great choice of colours, you can choose lighting that is going to match your decor and create the atmosphere that you desire.

 

Amazon Kabinet And Technology For The Kitchen

shutterstock_312036542Amazon are still working on what they call a high-end computer screen for the kitchen, currently named Amazon Kabinet. The device, as explained by the Wall Street Journal deep into their article about the failure of Amazon’s Fire phone, is a tablet like device that will allow you to connect to the internet and issue voice commands. Made especially for the kitchen, it will hopefully let you to browse recipes, watch how-to videos and purchase items from Amazon all while you are cooking.

The technology seems to build on the success of their Amazon Echo gadget which acts as something of a voice-operated personal assistant. It will update the hands-free, voice-activated technology to give it a screen that will allow you to view apps or web pages. In doing so, Amazon Kabinet could be a big deal for people looking to design a great post-modern kitchen, and those of us who are always looking for exciting new ways to make cooking simpler. Don’t know the perfect amount of water to add to your meal? You can just ask and see the answer pop up before you. Want to access a recipe? You can browse it while you cook without having to stop what you’re doing.

Amazon Kabinet, or whatever it is eventually named when it is released, isn’t just exciting as a stand-alone piece of technology – although t is certain that a shiny screen gadget similar to Amazon Kabinet will become an important part of every future kitchen’s design. It is exciting because of how it can be integrated with any of the other innovations Amazon have invested in. Services like Amazon Fresh, which allow customers to have food quickly delivered to their home with just one click, will probably work with the Kabinet to give customers a full, 21st century, hi-tech kitchen. It will also allow Amazon to have a monopoly over one of the biggest aspects of how we live – the preparation and consumption of food – as well as the entire way we interact with the kitchen.

Alternative Ways To Organise Kitchen Utensils

UtensilsLayoutKitchen utensils can slowly begin to take over your cooking space if they are not organised properly. You might have a handful or an armful or maybe you need specialist tools for baking or cooking specific items, but either way, they are most efficient when organised correctly.

There are many ways you can store your kitchen utensils, from displaying them proudly to keeping them out of sight in a drawer. There is no “best way” to keep them, it all depends on your kitchen space, personal preference and how you can work most efficiently.

It is also key to note that what you think will be the best method could turn out to be the worst idea when it comes to preparing your next meal. Don’t feel like you need to change your habit or refit your entire kitchen; just adapt your storage method. It isn’t set in stone that you must use a particular type of organisation technique and some people find that they prefer a combination of ideas for utensils they use regularly and those they might only use once or twice a month.

Drawers

If you have got the available drawer space, this can be great for keeping your utensils hidden if you don’t like to clutter up your sides. Make sure you can get easy access to the drawer when it comes to cook, possibly in a drawer close to the oven or your food preparation area.

You can also divide your drawers us with boxes or inserts that help keep your drawer space tidy too.

Over The Door

An over the door storage solution is best for clearly things away quickly and you are free to decorate it with labels, ribbons and other embellishments.

Stylish Display

These are best when hand made to accommodate the amount of utensils you need it to hold and can be created with your kitchens colour scheme in mind.

Baskets & Containers

Baskets  can be attached to walls and doors and containers offer a storage solution that can be simply placed on your counter top. A good tip for these is to have separate spaces for different items, such as wooden spoons and metal utensils.UtensilsSide

Under-Cabinet Lighting: What Kind Of Lights Should You Use?

undercabinetlightchoiceUnder-cabinet lights are some of the most popular options for kitchen lighting. They are both a stylish option and a functional one too; lighting up your work spaces and giving your room a chic aesthetic. There are many different types of under-cabinet lighting available for customers to purchase, each with their own unique pros and cons. So what kind of lighting should you be investing in for your kitchen?

Fluorescent Strips

Fluorescent strip lights are extremely colourful, making them the perfect choice for people who want to have a fashionable kitchen. However, if you are concerned about the practicalities when buying and installing under-cabinet lighting, fluorescent lights tend to give off a lot of glare on the counter which can be distracted for those regularly using the work space.

The strips themselves can be bulky, but most suppliers will provide slim ones that are, of course, lighter and smaller. Slim fluorescent lights also tend to be easy to adjust in order to direct the glare elsewhere. This means you can have both the trendy fluorescent aesthetics and the practical lighting required for your counters.

Round Lights

Round lights, circular ones that are often known as hockey puck lights in the United States, are a very popular option for lighting the underside of your cabinets. Generally, they come in either halogen or xenon bulbs. The former lasts a long time but is slightly more expensive as a result. The latter is much brighter but is prone to getting quite hot and can produce glare. Round lights are attractive and very easy to set up.

LED lights

However, the best option for under-cabinet lighting is LED lights. LEDs have a very long lifespan of several years and provide an exceptional quality of light. Customers will generally have the option of choosing between strips and packs or ropes and tapes. Both have their pros and cons, but ropes and tapes are considerably more practical for under-cabinet illumination as they are barely visible when installed. The only problem is cost; a separate power source is required which can be expensive.

How Much Energy Does Your Kitchen Really Use?

Research has recently shown that around one in five appliances don’t live up to their energy-saving claims, with the same portion of manufacturers giving misleading information regarding an appliance’s energy-efficiency.

Whilst there are many energy-saving appliances on today’s market, its important to do your research before buying to ensure they live up to their claim. Look for appliances marked A+ and above, and check consumer watchdog information for news and reviews of the best-performing models.energy-use-kitchen

Above all though, it might be useful to work out just how much energy your kitchen is currently using, so you can be sure to only replace the appliances that use the most energy.

What appliances do you have?

We use so many kitchen appliances daily – it can be hard to notice how much energy we consume. Most kitchens will include large appliances such as:

  • cookers and stoves
  • ovens
  • microwaves
  • fridges/freezers
  • Dishwashers
  • Washing machines
  • Tumble dryers
  • Hot faucet taps etc.

small-appliance-energy-useBut there’s also all the smaller appliances that we probably don’t think about, such as:

  • Hand blenders
  • Juicers
  • Toasters
  • Kettles
  • Coffee makers
  • Ice makers

We also mustn’t forget things we take for granted, such as kitchen lighting and ventilation fans.

How to calculate your kitchen’s energy consumption

To calculate the yearly energy consumption for any one appliance, first find out its wattage (or if its a gas oven or stove, find out its cubic feet/metre usage). You can normally find the wattage or CCF on the bottom or back of any appliance, or within its user manual.kitchen-energy-use

The formula for testing an appliance’s energy consumption throughout the year is as follows:

(Wattage x hours used per day) / 1000 = daily kilowatt hour (kWh).

Note that a kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts.

Also, you’ll want to divide the number of hours that a refrigerator works at its maximum wattage by 3. Fridge/freezers switch themselves on and off in cycles, so aren’t continuously running at their maximum the whole year through.

Once you total up the number of kWhs for all of the appliances in your kitchen, you’ll know how much energy your kitchen is using on a yearly basis.

Bear in mind however that the wattage listed on an appliance is the appliance’s maximum. If you regularly switch settings during different usage periods, its good to go from this. If you only ever operate the appliance on a lower setting however, you may need to do a further calculation (or just check online).

Some appliances, particularly electrical ones, will still use up energy even when they are on stand by or turned ‘off’. You can avoid this by unplugging the appliance when not in use or at night.

Calculating the cost of energy consumed

To calculate the yearly cost of an appliance’s energy consumption, you’ll need to find out the rate per kWh from your electricity provider and the rate per cubic feet/metre from your gas provider (the latter will depend on what kind of gas appliance-standbymeter you have – imperial or metric).

The formula for calculating the yearly cost is as follows:

kWh for appliance x utility provider’s rate per kWh

(or for gas appliances: kWh for appliances x utility provider’s rate per cubic foot/cubic metre)

You can also use an online calculator tool like this one from UK Power, to calculate how much your yearly energy bill is likely to cost.

How to check your energy efficiency

According to consumer watchdog Which?, a low-user will use 2000 kWh of electricity for the whole household, along with 9000 kWh of gas.

A high-user, meanwhile, will use around 49,000 kWh of electricity for the whole household and 19,000 kWh of gas. But this is a guide only and it is much better to work out your actual annual usage to figure out whether you are a low or high energy user.

The online efficiency tool on the Which? website can help you by offering a dedicated calculator for each household appliance. It also enables you to search for a specific brand or model.

Becoming more efficient

You can save energy in your kitchen by…

  • Switching to LED lights or low-watt energy-saving bulbs (just contact a dedicated light supplier for advice)
  • Only buying appliances that are graded A+ standard or above (having checked a few different reviews and responsible consumer guides to make sure)
  • Unplugging all appliances at night and/or when not in use.

 

How The Right Lighting Can Improve Your Kitchen

One of the most overlooked things when people choose to refurbish their kitchen is the lighting. Lighting is arguably one of the most important aspects of a room; it sets the entire mood and atmosphere upon entry. Glass chandeliers are an immediate sign that a room is grand and decorative, for example, while a bedroom lava lamp announces that it is a chic and quirky environment. In short: the right lighting can make an enormous improvement to your kitchen. Here are some of the ways you might think about using light:

The colour sets the tone immediately

orangekitchen

One of the subtlest, subliminal ways that light can affect a room is the colour it emits. Before choosing a new lighting structure for your kitchen, you should not only be thinking about how it complements the current scheme, but how a new colour might set the tone. If your kitchen is a place where people often congregate for family meals, you might wish to use a homely orange or yellow tint. Similarly, a hint of blue or turquoise can help it look cleaner and crisper aesthetically. Most modern LED strips can be purchased in different colours.

Light is about function as much as atmosphere

undercabinetlighting

However, as much as it is important to create the right mood in your kitchen, you should not overlook the fact that the room is meant to function as a practical space. It must be a place where you can efficiently prepare, cook and eat your meals. Therefore, make sure that you balance out the atmospheric lighting with ones that provide a functional purpose; providing an adequate level of light to areas that you will be regularly using. Under cabinet lighting from a vendor like lightsupplier.co.uk, for instance, can help to illuminate your sideboards and clearly see what you are cooking.

Think about where you are using the lights

lightingroom

Lighting serves a number of purposes in interior decorating. Not only does it perform the basic function of illuminating a room; it can also help to change the way we perceive it. Light can help to make certain areas look bigger, for instance, or draw your eyes to certain zones. For this reason, it is important to not simply consider the kind of lighting that you use, but where the you use it. Harsh overhead lights, for example, have a tendency to pool all the light across one space while smaller, duller lamps that are distributed around the kitchen can spread it out and make the room appear larger.