Healthy Kitchen, Healthy Life

These days we’re learning new rules on how many seconds it takes to wash your hands, how close you can stand to another person, how to safely elbow bump instead of hand shake (I’m still not sure how you elbow bump from 6 ft away though). We can’t claim to be experts on all things social distancing, but if there’s one thing we do know it’s Kitchens! Did you know viruses can survive on hard surfaces for several days. Your kitchen has all kind of hard surfaces, so we wanted to explain some of the differences and share some tips for keeping your kitchen healthy.

COUNTERTOPS – The biggest hard surface in most kitchens is your countertop. At Luxe our favorite countertop material is Cambria, and for good reason. In addition to bein

                 Full height Cambria backsplash

g made in America, and having a lifetime warranty, Cambria is the safest countertop option for your home. All Cambria surfaces are non-porous, so bacteria cannot permeate the surface. All it takes is a quick wipe down with soap, warm water and a soft cloth, to rid your countertop of any bacteria that made it’s way onto the surface. To compare that with granite or marble, consider this… per building code, granite and marble are not allowed in commercial kitchens where food it being prepared. This is because granite and marble are porous, leaving the potential for bacteria to permeate the surface and live inside the countertop. If health inspectors won’t allow it in commercial food prep areas, would you really want it in your home? We prefer Cambria instead, which has a NSF-51 rating (which just means it is certified to be safe for feed prep areas).

Did you know Cambria is not just for countertops. We love to use it as backsplash in a kitchen, but it can also be used in showers, flooring, fireplaces and more. You can have healthy and beautiful surfaces throughout your home.

For more info on countertop surfaces and how to keep them clean here is some more info from the leading stone fabricator in chicagoland (www.selectsurfaces.net/home/healthycountertops) or follow #healthycountertops on Facebook or instagram to see tips on keeping a safe & healthy home.

TILE – When it comes to choosing tile, most of our designers will guide you to choose between Ceramic, natural stone, or glass. Ceramic and glass are both non-porous and would have similar traits to Cambria countertops as we described above. If you choose a natural stone, keep in mind that natural stone needs to be sealed. Some stones will need to be re-sealed in order to keep your home healthy.

All tile will also have grout lines. Not all grout is created equal. We use Map Flexcolor CQ grout which is stain resistant, easy to clean, and no sealing ever required. Most household disinfectants will work well on grout, but we recommend asking your tile installer or kitchen designer for their recommendation. Different types of grout can re-act differently, so it’s best to double check.

The most common place where grime and even bacteria can add up, is where the tile meets the countertop. For this area it’s very important to use a siliconized grout that can stand up to repeated cleanings over a long period of time. Traditional non-siliconized grout will often start to deteriorate or flake out after repeated cleanings and can leave gaps or pockets to bacteria or stains to start to grow.

FLOORING – One area that often gets forgotten when you think about bacteria is the flooring. Even if you’re not down on your hands and knees too often, your kids might be, and some viruses can be transferred from one surface to another so he CDC recommends cleaning flooring once per day with a common household disinfectant. If you have hardwood floors, make sure your cleaner does not contain bleach. We always recommend SoClean Wood Floor cleaner. SoClean is specially formatted so it won’t damage the wood surface, but will leave you with a streak free beautiful finish.

CABINETS – Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about cabinets. We saved our favorite part of the kitchen for last. For cabinets we wouldn’t use anything other than SoClean. Don’t use alcohol or bleach as it could damage the finish on your cabinets. If you don’t have SoClean handy (first call us and we’ll send you some) warm water and vinegar works well in a pinch. Mix equal parts water & vinegar. Use a microfiber towel for best results.

Stay safe & Stay healthy!

Stash It All: Know the 3 Zones of Kitchen Storage – Part ONE

1. The Sink Center

The sink center should be between the refrigerator and the range center, or cooking area, for maximum efficiency. Since sinks get the most use and traffic of any spot in the kitchen, centrally located sinks and dishwashers work best.

Plan to have the most uncluttered countertop space in the sink center. The area in and around sinks is used for food-preparation tasks involving cleaning and cutting, as well as washing and cleaning up after meals. Place trash and recycling containers strategically so that tidy disposal happens effortlessly.

Storage at sink centers includes places for everyday flatware, dishes and glassware, as well as activities involving waste management, dishtowel placement and storage, cleaning supplies, polishing and drying.

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Storage at sink centers includes places for everyday flatware, dishes and glassware, as well as activities involving waste management, dishtowel placement and storage, cleaning supplies, polishing and drying.

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Place cutting boards and knives at a midpoint between the sink and refrigerator so you can easily access items from the refrigerator, cut and chop as necessary, and dispose of the remnants to the sink center, which holds the refuse containers.

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When organizing your kitchen, look for ways to store items related to each other, such as mugs near the coffee station, as shown here.

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Sink, dishwasher and cleaning supplies. Minimalists can find sinks as small as 12 inches in width and dishwashers at 18 inches in width. Big families may require two 24-inch-wide dishwashers and a 36-inch sink.

Dishes, glasses and flatware. The smallest kitchen needs at least 18 inches in width of wall and base cabinets, while gourmet cooks and large families should begin with 42 inches in width of upper and lower cabinets.

Cutlery, cutting boards and small appliances. Minimalists begin with 12 inches in width of wall and base cabinets, while big families should begin with 42 inches.

Trash and recycling. Depending on how you recycle, compost and dispose, begin with 12 inches in width of base cabinets and go up to 36 inches in width for a big household.

Picking The Perfect Kitchen Sink & Faucet

Some things are just better together, especially in the kitchen. It could be a case of opposites attracting, like a black and white color palette or creamy and crisp flavors that blend just right. Perhaps it’s a pair of objects that together create a perfect combination of function and beauty. Either way, when the pairing is perfect, you just know it.

The perfect sink-and-faucet pair is the key to an efficient work space, defining the way you prep, cook, and clean up. The right products bring energizing color and engaging style to your kitchen, laundry room, mudroom and bar. Whether sleek and streamlined or steeped in vintage style, there’s a perfect pair for every size and type of kitchen. With so many options, though, how do you choose the right ones? Here are a few things to think about as you start to plan.

Consider Your Needs

Location. Which spaces in your kitchen, bar, or laundry room will need a sink and faucet? Maybe your kitchen could gain efficiency from an extra sink and faucet on the island, or a pot-filler faucet near the cooktop.

Material. Would you like a sink in enameled cast iron, stainless steel, or composite material? Each material has its own benefits and distinctive look.

Style. Consider which sink and faucet style and installation options will best meet your needs. Does your taste run more toward traditional looks, modern styles or somewhere in between? Do you like the look of a farmhouse sink? Do you plan to replace your countertops? If you do, you’ll have more options for your sink type.

Features. Have you considered additional components, like a sink that includes convenient accessories like basin racks, cutting boards, and colanders or a faucet with multiple spray options? There’s a huge range of features available that can help make your kitchen routines much more efficient.

Finish. Think about which faucet finish will best coordinate with the other elements in your kitchen. Do you like the look of stainless steel, a soft brushed nickel, or a rich bronze?

Check out two perfect sink-and-faucet pairings, designed to work together for maximum efficiency and stunning good looks.

 

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The Prolific Sink and Sensate Touchless Faucet

This is truly one hardworking pair. The stainless steel sink has three levels, so you can place the included bamboo cutting board, grated racks, colander, and wash bin exactly where you want to suit the way you work. And the Sensate faucet is Prolific’s perfect partner, speeding you through tasks without spreading messes. Its high-arching spout is not only practical, it adds a sculptural aspect to any style of space. Together, this dynamic sink-and-faucet duo bring an ideal blend of beauty and brains to the kitchen.

The Contemporary Smoky Kitchen

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Earth-friendly materials, spicy hues, and simple lines come together in a savory space designed for shared cooking, where smoky glass and rustic texture takes the edge off urban lines. A touchless faucet adds sculptural presence, keeps messes at a minimum, and speeds you through prep and cleanup.

Tips for a Contemporary Smoky Kitchen

Consider a charcoal-hued sink with a lower divider that offers you plenty of space for large pans and the convenience of two bowls.
Smoky glass cabinet doors add sultry color and show off your beautiful glassware, bowls, and vases.
Choose dark wood cabinetry with a prominent grain to add texture and warmth to a sleek space.

White on White Kitchens

6e52cc2be348df3664f15c9a9cd1356790b909f1The white on white palette is more popular than ever, especially in the kitchen. Pure and clean, white attracts light, creating a canvas where food provides the color. Whether outfitted with vintage touches or streamlined and sleek, white layered on white is a look that works beautifully for both classic and contemporary styles.