For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted a white kitchen. Yes, even before Joanna Gaines made them popular on Fixer Upper. So when my husband and I had the chance to renovate our 1940s colonial I KNEW I wanted to create a beautiful modern and French farmhouse kitchen. However, when I told people my plans I heard of a lot of “No, you don’t. It’ll be hard to keep clean.” Against their better judgment, I went ahead with my white kitchen renovation and couldn’t be happier. I’m also here to report that it’s very possible to keep a white kitchen clean with just a few tips and tricks.
How I Keep a White Kitchen Clean
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a small portion if you click on a link, but it does not raise the price for you. All proceeds go to my blog and likely, my cat. *
1.) Keep Your Countertops Clear
Okay, this tip has more to do with keeping your kitchen in general clean, but even more so when everything is white.
We tend to keep everything we think we will ever need out on our counters – coffee pots, toasters, tea kettles, paper towels, dish soap, etc. If you want to keep your kitchen looking cleaner it’s better to put everything you can away and out of sight.
“BUT THAT SEEMS LIKE SUCH A PAIN!” you want to yell at me.
It’s really not. It takes a whole two seconds to put the toaster away, two seconds to get it out. But when you go to clean your kitchen it saves SO much time by not having to run away and move everything to wipe them down. Also, crumbs have fewer places to hide behind.
So next time you use an appliance, put it away. you’ll quickly get used to taking out what you need when you do and putting it away again. Plus you might find you don’t use some things as often as you thought you did.
2.) Clean up small messes as they happen
It’s easier to let our countertop collect junk throughout the day. It’s easier to say we’ll clean those crumbs tonight. It’s easier to say we’ll clean our microwave this weekend (or in my case – next month). But in the long run, the dirtier and messier we let our kitchens become, the more time it takes to clean them later.
Don’t believe me? Give it a try. When you clean up messes as you make them it only takes a few seconds and it’s done.
Now, I’m a work-at-home mom so I know how crazy some days get. Many days I don’t have time to finish a meal before it gets cold, let alone clean up a mess. And that’s OK. That’s life. On those days I just do what I can and you should too.
3.) Keep your cleaning supplies SIMPLE
This is one of my biggest secrets. Ready? I only use two cleaners in my white kitchen. My go-to supplies include Magic Erasers and an all-purpose spray cleaner. For mirrors and windows, I use something called a Glean Cloth which my mom introduced me too. There is no product on it – just the cloth. (Thanks, mom!)
So why Magic Erasers?
I love them because they get any hard to get off “thing” from my countertop. Cooked on food, spilled grape juice – it gets it all. I then like to follow up with a disinfecting multi-surface spray to get everything disinfected and sparkling. I make my own DIY All-Purpose Cleaner and use it on the countertops, cupboards, cat dish holders, microwave, oven, fridge, sink, you name it. Just spray and wipe that pretty white kitchen down.
That’s it. My cleaning routine is so easy it’s stupid.
You might want to be careful using a magic eraser depending on what type of countertops you have in your kitchen, though. My countertops are quartz so they stand up to anything. But sometimes, magic erasers are too abrasive for other types of countertops and can actually cause damage.
For more cleaning tips, check out my weekly cleaning routine schedule!
4.) Run your dishwasher at night
This is more of a general cleaning tip than just for white kitchens but as I mentioned before, messes are more obvious in a white kitchen so just keeping it clean is extra important to keep it looking fresh and white.
By collecting your dishes throughout the day you avoid them collecting on the countertop or in the sink. Then when you run it at night it’s helping “clean” our kitchen while we sleep.
When I get up in the morning I empty either while the baby is sleeping, or after I feed her.
And here’s an extra fun fact: I was shocked to learn you can save money by running it at night. Go check out the Tannehill Homestead’s post on 30 ways to save money on your utilities.
BONUS: This does not have to do with keeping your kitchen clean, but it does keep it fresh. Put lemon rinds and cold water down your disposal while you run it to clean out the gunk and keep it smelling fresh. Lovely.
NOW onto the fun part: my Farmhouse Kitchen Renovation Reveal!
Wow, was this a task. When we bought the house I loved everything about it except the kitchen. In fact, I hated it. It was brown and closed in. I didn’t think a renovation would be possible but after we bought it we looked at our budget, as well as resell value and decided it would be in our benefit to update the kitchen.
Here are a couple “BEFORE” photos. They are a little deceiving because they are professional photos so you’re going to have to trust me that it was dark and cramped in there.
We got a contractor in quickly thanks to my coworker who had used him and after getting over the sticker price of how much a renovation costs, I closed my eyes and said, “let’s do it.”
It was not cheap.
It actually ended up costing more because one of the two walls we knocked down contained ALL the electrical, plumbing and ductwork. That was a nice – and expensive – surprise. But I tell you, once the walls came down I was so excited. The kitchen was now open to the dining and living room. For some reason, I was very excited about the fact that I could see the TV from the kitchen.
My husband and I disagreed about whether to put an island in or not, as well as a pantry. He wanted the island and I wanted a peninsula for storage. He won and I am so glad. It just helps with the flow of the kitchen so much better.
He also wanted a pantry, which I did too, but if we put one if we had to move the fridge next to the window, where I thought it looked awkward. I won that one but he’s still not sure it was a good decision. ha-ha
Picking out the Details
I loved picking out the details like my farmhouse sink, white shaker cabinets, and hardwood flooring. It was difficult to find something to match the living and dining room. The shame is underneath the flooring there was hardwood from the 1940’s but it would have been too costly to match it in the kitchen. Maybe the next homeowners will.
We had to put in a beam where the wall used to be (you know, to hold the second floor up – important) while I picked out modern farmhouse lighting and fixtures. Picking out these supporting details can really change the look and feel of any space, especially in a kitchen. Lighting is so important because it also illuminates certain areas of a space and creates a certain mood. I knew I wanted something that could work with both a “modern” and “farmhouse” style. Lastly, I already mentioned this but we picked quartz for the countertops because they are SO easy to keep clean. I highly recommend them.
And a little DIY
Lastly, my husband did an awesome job installing the tile backsplash. We went with a rustic subway tile.
And here are the AFTER photos….
Now that it’s all finished I’ve been having fun finding pretty dishcloths and butter dishes to match. A farmhouse table made from barn wood finishes off the space in the dining room.
If anyone is contemplating a renovation it is stressful but equally as fun. Fortunately, we did not have to live in the house while it was being completed but I can imagine that would add another level of stress. While we were renovating the questions, we were also working on my daughter’s farmhouse nursery.
Have you done a renovation before? Would you like to? What would your dream kitchen look like?
*Most photos were taken by Rebecca Wilcher at Rebecca Wilcher Photography.
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I love your white kitchen! It turned out so well. 🙂
Thank you, kelly!
Your kitchen is beautiful. I love the white. I recently painted my basement countertops white and I think having them bright and white has helped our family from leaving their messes there because they are so much more noticeable! Great tips!
That’s true! Messes are more noticeable! haha
Nicole Kauffman says
YES we moved in a year ago (bought the house last July) and TOTALLY gutted, tore down walls, remodeled the house. It was an outdated and gross mess when we bought it and now, a little over a year later, it’s finally starting to come together and I cannot wait to decorate it! I’ve been LOVING your posts as I’m prepping to get my house organized, designed, decorated and clean! (Renovating sure makes a constant mess). Love this post and definitely checking out some of those products!
Yay! The decorating part after might be even more fun. 🙂
You’re the best. Thanks 🙂
OMG! I love the remodel of your kitchen. It is so refreshing and clean, I just love it. I hope to someday build my own house and have the kitchen of my dreams. It would be white but not sure on the style so seeing your style is wonderful! As for your tips on keeping the kitchen clean…what would you do if you had no dishwasher? Wash as you go along or keep them all to the end of the day?
D, xo || from https://livedreamcreate-d.com
D- I would definitely wash as I go along!
Cayla Embry says
Your kitchen is beautiful! I love how light it is. I would love to have a white, rustic kitchen!
Thank you, Cayla!
Amy @ Orison Orchards says
It’s beautiful! We completed a very similar reno about two years ago, and I still LOVE it! I wouldn’t go back to my oak cabinets for anything. My sink (deep Kohler farmhouse — looks like yours) is my favorite part. Great cleaning tips, too!
Yessss, I love my sink too!
Your kitchen remodel is beautiful! We are thinking about going down that road soon…Our countertops are dark right now and they hide everything! Which is nice in some ways, but not in others. I am always missing crumbs or a small spill! With white I could see it better to clean it, and I think we would keep it neater too.
Stunning! I have kitchen envy! I love having my counters cleaned off so I keep everything away. Even my husbands pocket change on the counter drives me nuts! 😛
Oh my husband leaves stuff out too 😉 haha
Your kitchen is unreal! Wow so beautiful!
Paula @ I'm Busy Being Awesome says
Great cleaning tips and your kitchen is stunning!
Your kitchen is gorgeous. And, you’re right–it looks so much neater with clean countertops!
I have a white kitchen too and I have a hard time keeping my white cabinets clean. Especially the ones near the stove that tend to get greasy. Any tips for this? Thanks!
Yes – my DIY spray I link in the piece! I use it on my white cabinets and leans like a dream.
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul says
Your kitchen is gorgeous! Thanks for these tips!
I couldn’t agree more with all these tips! We always run the dishwasher at night and its amazing waking up to a clean kitchen 🙂
Same and same!
OMG… Your kitchen is night and day! Love the white. This is definitely something I am looking into. I love how clean everything looks. It also opens up the space of the kitchen.
Thank you! It is definitely night and day 🙂
Karen Roldan says
I love your white kitchen! Your previous kitchen is good, but the white one is a lot better! I have white cabinets, but black countertops. I like it, but it’ll be better if it’s white.
Black countertops are very pretty too!
Kelsie Corbett says
This turned out absolutely amazing!! I can’t wait to finish redoing my kitchen!!
Oooh and I’d love to see it!
Erin Haugerud says
Beautiful kitchen!! Love the backsplash!!
Thank you 🙂
Leah Ashley says
Love the new kitchen!!! Looks amazing. I also love the tips, I put all the appliances away except my kitchen aid because it is heavy and since I throw out my back a pain to move around (lol I sound like an old lady) and my coffee pot and that is because I am a little addicted to it all day sort of thing. The only time it is not being used is when I am sleeping and even then it is prepped for the morning. I also love your DIY cleaner!!
Oh my gosh kitchen aids are sooo heavy, I’d totally leave it out too. And thank you – it works well!
The Southern Thing says
Great tips! We have a white kitchen as well and I swear by the less is more approach! The less clutter, the better. I try not to leave anything but our decor on the countertops!
amen to that!
It looks lovely and I am more than a little jealous, but I am also intrigued as to what makes this ‘French’ in your eyes? Maybe it is an American usage of the word that I don’t understand? It looks more Scandi to me. I live in rural France and the traditional style is very brown, heavy and quite ornate, possibly with terracotta tiling (the Paris metro tiles you have are very urban, not rustic) and there would be brass fittings on everything, pretty much the opposite of yours. I much, much, much prefer yours… hope you have many happy moments in it 🙂
Hi Eleanor – I’ve since added more “French” items after this photo was taken but you’re right – it definitely can pass as Scandi, too! I did not know that style in rural France was dark and heavy….I guess we have Americanized the word “French Country.” Are you familar with the term Shabby chic? I guess I was going for Farmhouse meets shabby chic style. Either way I do like it and thank you!
airbnb cleaning sydney says
Nice article, a well-detailed one. Thanks.
Kira Nickell says
Hi there, great post! I was hoping you could help me with something. I was wondering, What’s the best countertop to use when remodeling your kitchen? I’m planning on doing a remodel later this year but I don’t want to spend too much money. Thanks in advance for your answer.
Quartz! Easy to keep clean!
dana kelly says
Can you tell me which Quartz you selected? I love this one and am having a really hard time choosing. Thank you!
Oh, I wish I knew! We went to a showroom and picked it out from a bunch of different kids available. It’s mostly white with just a few lines of gray throughout if that helps.
I just came across your post about keeping your kitchen clean as I wait for our demolished kitchen to be put back together (five weeks in). I have been so excited for my white kitchen but am now getting worried about it being “too white” and keeping it clean. We too have an 1940’s home but instead of farmhouse I am hoping to keep it more traditional. The thought of white and bright appeals to me because we live across the street from a beautiful view of Lake Erie. My questions are now that it has been a couple of years, do you still love it and what would you do different?
Yes! I absolutely still love it and would still recommend it. And being white allows me to see the messes clearer so I take care of them right away. The only thing I’d change would be to put in darker knobs and pulls to break up the white a little. I went with silver.
I am a housewife and the struggle of making our home clean has always been a challenge. Thanks for your post. It’s definitely a must try.