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!