As we walk into the showroom we inadvertently stare glazy-eyed at the most eye-catching thing in there and in that instant be completely taken in by the elegance of – yup, you guessed it – pristine white shelves and kitchen cabinets that are of mythical white horses and polished bone, ivory and of everything clean and sparkly, bright and nice… oh you get the idea.
But before we deck our halls with, uhh… kitchens with cabinets and countertops of white alabaster – it’s best to first sit back and think for a little about what such a decision would entail. So without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritties before asking your local kitchen specialist or interior designer to get one for you, or (perhaps) live to regret it:
White Stains are very visible.
That’s right. White stains easily. Or to be precise: stains on white surfaces stand out like a sore thumb, like a lighthouse on a stormy night… (Although I realize that its incompetence on my part for not finding a better analogy I’d like to blame the English language for the lack of permutations on the matter).
Thus, white kitchens need constant maintenance and lots of elbow grease to maintain that look that had so captivated you at first sight. Nevertheless the inherent ability of white to be appear very visibly dirty when sitting next to most colours is so immutable that it is one has to ponder the level of dedication needed to maintain that white splendour. High tastes come with high responsibility.
White laminates and painted woods turn yellow when exposed to sunlight.
Nightmare material all-around, there’s nothing quite as dastardly dreadful as your white kitchen quietly tuning in to yellow TV over the years.
Let’s identify the culprits:
Number one on our list is sunlight. Yes, the sunlight which makes plants grow and stays the sixth major ice age is also responsible for almost all the ionizing radiation hitting the earth every microsecond.
This causes the plastic/resin material contained in white laminate and painted kitchen cabinets and countertops to turn yellow.
Excessive heat from cooking too can have the same effect. Yellowing is near nigh irreversible and is more prominent when it’s right next to another white kitchen cabinet. Draperies, curtains and window film can stave off the bulk of ionizing sunlight radiation and buy a few years – or you could opt for aluminium kitchen cabinets instead. There are latex paints that supposedly resist yellowing due to ionizing radiation, so be sure to check them out.
Number two includes cooking oil deposits and grime. This isn’t near as problematic as yellowing due to sunlight, and can be cleaned off with a mixture of ¼ cup vinegar and ¼ teaspoon of liquid soap in 454ml of water. After leaving the concoction to sit on the yellowed/stained area for 10 minutes, scrub with a hot sponge and hopefully that yellow blight will disappear altogether!
Yellowing due to bleach and other harsh cleaners.
Someone who had a blue stain on his white laminate vanity piece decided one day that it would be a good idea to try bleach to clean off the offending matter. It worked, and took the blue stain right off. However, it left a larger yellow stain in its place.
Fortunately it is possible to use any cleaning agent containing a reducing agent to try to clean up the stain. If it smells of ammonia or sulfur it should probably work but if you’re feeling sciency you can try making dithionite as described in this video. Disclaimer: Get expert advice before proceeding!
And there we have it. Mind you, no one is trying to dissuade anyone from going with a white kitchen anytime soon but it is good to understand what could go wrong and be able to weight the ups and downs before splurging money; only to live with a bad decision for a long time.