How to Clean & Maintain Your Countertops

     

    There are lots of different materials when it comes to countertops – marble, granite, soapstone, wood, quartz – each with its own set of maintenance needs. To keep any surface looking like new, you’ll want to avoid scratching it and exposing it to heat. Beyond that, here are some expert tips for maintaining any material.

     

    Wood Countertops

     

    Tools:

    • Warm water
    • Distilled white vinegar
    • Nonabrasive cleaner (optional)
    • Spatual or metal pastry scraper
    • Microfiber Cloths
    • Lemon
    • Salt

     

    Cleaning:

    Clean daily with a nonabrasive cleaner or a homemade mix of warm water and a splash of distilled white vinegar. Gently scrape off any food residue with a spatula. Be sure to wipe counters after cleaning so they are completely dry.

     

    Stain Removal:

    Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle salt directly onto the stain. Use the lemon to rub in the salt. Clean off the salt and lemon juice with water and vinegar.

     

    Sealing:

    Butcher-block and solid-wood countertops should be sealed for protection since they are susceptible to warping and cracking. As scratches and dings occur, sand down the wood and re-apply a food-grade oil or wax.

     

     

    Marble/Granite Countertops

     

    Tools:

    • Water
    • Dish soap
    • Microfiber cloths
    • Baking Soda
    • Hydrogen Peroxide
    • Plastic Wrap
    • Tape

    Cleaning:

    Use a mix of warm water and mild dish soap for everyday cleaning, following up with a microfiber towel to shine the stone. Avoid abrasive or acidic cleaners, which can strip the sealer and etch the stone.

     

    Stain Removal:

    Clean with a paste of baking soda and water (for oil-based stains) or hydrogen peroxide (for water-based stains). Apply the paste to the stain, cover with plastic wrap, and tape down the edges. Let sit overnight or for a few days and then rinse off the paste. Be sure to do a spot check first to make sure this doesn’t effect the color or finish of the stone.

     

    Sealing:

    Marble and granite need to be resealed regularly to protect from stains. Reseal granite once a year and marble every few months.

     

     

    Laminate Countertops

     

    Tools:

    • Mild household cleaner
    • Water
    • Microfiber cloths
    • Baking soda

     

    Cleaning:

    Clean the material with a damp, soft cloth and a mild household cleaner. Stay away from harsh products with acid or alkali as well as steel wool or scouring pads.

     

    Stain Removal:

    Make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste and let sit for 5 minutes, then rinse off with a soft cloth. Baking soda is a mild abrasive, so don’t scrub. Repeat if needed.

     

    Sealing:

    Formica tops don’t need sealing, but you should still use cutting boards and trivets to avoid scratches and burns.

     

     

    Quartz/Engineered Stone Countertops

     

    Tools:

    • Dish soap
    • Water
    • Nonabrasive glass or surface cleaner
    • Microfiber cloths
    • Nonabrasive sponge

     

    Cleaning:

    Like the others, these countertops can be washed with mild soap and water.

     

    Stain removal:

    If you come across a persistent stain that soap and water can’t handle, usa glass cleaner and a nonabrasive sponge.

     

    Sealing:

    These countertops don’t need any sealing to remain in good condition.

     

     

    Stainless Steel Countertops

     

    Tools:

    • Water
    • Dish soap
    • Microfiber cloths
    • Stainless-steel cleaner
    • Baking soda
    • Stainless-steel polish
    • Lemon oil

     

    Cleaning:

    Stainless steel just needs a regular wipe-down with soap and water, however you will still want to avoid scratching the surface and remove smudges and streaks. Use a microfiber towel and cleaner made especially for stainless steel to buff them out. Avoid abrasive scrubbing pads or steel wool as they can scratch the surface.

     

    Stain removal:

    Mix a paste of dish soap and baking soda and use a soft cloth to rub in the direction of the grain.

     

    Sealing:

    There is no need to seal your stainless-steel countertops, but you may want to polish it occasionally with stainless-steel polish or lemon oil and a microfiber cloth. Apply in the direction of the grain and buff it dry with a clean microfiber cloth.

     

     

    Soapstone Countertops

     

    Tools:

    • Multipurpose cleaner
    • Microfiber cloths
    • Mineral oil
    • Fine-grit sandpaper

     

    Cleaning:

    Soapstone is nonporous, making it resistant to stains and scratches. Clean it with any multipurpose cleaner, as long as it’s nonabrasive.

     

    Stain removal:

    Most stains can be removed with a multipurpose cleaner. Scratches and tough stains can be removed with very fine sandpaper (no rougher than 80 grit). Apply mineral oil after sanding.

     

    Sealing:

    The look of the material will change over time. If you use mineral oil, which speeds up the oxidation process, the stone will look darker. Some prefer to use mineral oil to enhance the stone’s movement and color. Others let it naturally patina over time. Mineral oil can also help protect the counters from stains.

     

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