How to Properly Clean Your Kitchen Countertops

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There are a variety of kitchen countertop options to choose from, each with their own set of pros and cons. Cleaning can definitely be a benefit or downfall to the type of kitchen countertop you have and some people might not even know the proper way to clean their counters to maximize its lifespan. Knowing exactly how to maintain your kitchen counter will ensure that it remains pristine for as long as possible, maintains its color and doesn’t damage easily. Here are a few tips on how to properly take care of your kitchen countertop based on the type of material it is.

Granite

Granite is a popular countertop material as it is beautiful and durable, but the downfall is that it requires more maintenance than other countertop choices. Granite is extremely porous and can easily absorb stains so it’ll need to be sealed when you first install it and resealed every year to maintain it’s look and color. To clean your granite countertop, simply wipe it down with warm, soapy water and a microfiber cloth. Protect the sealant by avoiding highly acidic cleaners such as anything with a vinegar-base. You can also find special cleaning kits that contain a specific solution for your granite counters at select hardware stores or from the company who installed it for you.

Laminate

People love laminate (also known as Formica) countertops because they’re very cost effective and easy to maintain and clean. There are also plenty of colors and designs to choose from, with the possibility of creating a granite or quartz-looking countertop without the price tag that comes along with the real deal. It doesn’t require sealing or special treatments through the years and cleaning simply involves wiping down the mess with a soft sponge or cloth and warm, soapy water. Avoid steel wool, scouring pads and abrasive cleaners that are acidic or include ammonia or bleach. Make sure to wipe down spills immediately to avoid stains from setting, which can happen quickly if you leave stains to dry up. Laminate is also susceptible to burns and scratches so make sure to protect the countertop with hot pads or trivets before placing down hot pots and pans. If you really want to protect your laminate countertops, regularly apply appliance or light furniture wax to help the surface resist stains and scratching.

Wood

Wood countertops offer that rustic look, making it popular in country cottages and rustic homes.  The downfall to wood is that it’s susceptible to damage such as cracking and warping if exposed to a lot of water, but if you stain and seal it properly to make it waterproof and stain-resistant, it is considered more durable than laminate countertops. For simple messes, immediately wipe down the surface with warm water and a cloth before the stain sets. If the surface does stain, make a solution from ¼ cup bleach with 1 quart warm water and apply to the wood. Rinse it down and immediately dry. Once a month, you can also rub mineral oil to the wood to protect it. If your wooden countertop develops an odor, just wipe down the surface with a slice of lemon and wipe it down with cloth.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is popular in commercial kitchens found in restaurants and cafeterias because of it’s modern, sleek look but also because it’s easy and quick to clean. Although it’s a durable choice for a countertop, it is prone to scratches and that is not an easy thing to hide. When you clean your countertop, make sure to use microfiber cloths and soft sponges instead of abrasive sponges like steel wool or scouring pads that will scratch the surface. Also, don’t leave wet materials or chemicals on the countertop as it can discolor the steel and damage the surface. Always make sure to wipe down spills to avoid water spots and you can use baking soda as a regular cleaner. If you see mineral deposits that are hard to clean, apply a small amount of vinegar and immediately rinse with water and wipe dry.

Quartz

Quartz is made from natural stone, making it one of the toughest, nearly indestructible materials out there. This is definitely one of the many quartz countertops, but although it’s resistant to stains, heat and scratches, you should still take precaution when placing hot pots on top of it or when you spill something. For spills, be sure to wipe it down with mild household cleaners and a soft cloth. Don’t use abrasive sponges or pads and avoid harsh cleaners. If you encounter a stubborn stain, soak the area with cleaner for a few minutes to loosen up the debris and then apply a little pressure as you wipe it down with a cloth. Clean ups are simple

Ceramic Tile

The great thing about ceramic tiles is that they are durable and can take heat so you can easily place hot pots and pans atop them without hot pads or trivets. Unfortunately, the grout between them is porous and prone to cracks and staining. To keep that area clean, use a toothbrush to clean the grout. For stains and mildew, dip the toothbrush in bleach or purchase a cleaner that is specific to tile and grout and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.