How clean is your kitchen?
By Gary Baker
“Most people think of the toilet as the most contaminated part of the house, but in fact the kitchen sink typically contains 100,000 times more germs than a bathroom or lavatory.” (source: NHS)
No collections here please…
The worktop is an obvious area where hygiene needs to be paramount. The worktop material you specify will determine how well it deals with dirt. When using many types of material you will need to have a visible joint wherever the worktop is larger than a single piece of the material. With stone and quartz products some form of silicone joint is required and there is always the possibility that dirt and bacteria will collect in these joints.
By using a solid surface such as Corian® you can ensure that there will be functionally seamless flows all around the worktops, including on the island. A lack of silicone joints means one less area for germs to collect.
Problems with plant-ons
It is quite common to have some form of upstand on a kitchen worktop. Customers are used to how this looks and generally it keeps the walls clean. But there can be an issue with upstands with the majority of standard worktop materials. In most cases you will have no choice but to have a “plant-on” upstand, needing a silicone joint to attach the plant-on to the surface.
Around the sink area, where water tends to collect, over time mould may appear, blackening the silicone. In addition, a tight right angle will have been created, making it difficult to clean in this space effectively.
One solution is to use a solid surface material such as Corian® to create a curved or “coved” upstand. The Corian® upstand flows seamlessly from the worktop and the curve enables easy cleaning, better hygiene and avoids the issue of silicone blackening around the sink. Using solid surface materials also allows the sink to be seamlessly integrated into the worktop, eliminating the joints and seams where bacteria lurk.
The choice of worktop material can also affect kitchen cleanliness. The current trend for rougher, concrete-like finishes is a recipe for hygiene disaster as dirt can collect in the roughened surface of the worktop.
The majority of natural worktop surfaces are porous. This means that there are minute holes and small spaces in the material that can hold a gas or liquid or allow it to pass through. Where this is the case then germs and bacteria, if not cleaned off immediately, can endure in the surface. An advantage of many man-made worktop materials is that they are non-porous. As well as meaning that the material will not stain, they offer easy to clean, hygienic solutions for the kitchen as any dirt, germs and bacteria will be on the surface of the material, not festering inside.
As a kitchen design professional, you can make a big difference in managing dirt and germs by designing out places where bacteria collect and choosing the right materials to help you do that, while delivering the aesthetic effects that customers want.