How to Clean Your Kitchen Counters


After you’ve spent the time and money remodeling or upgrading your home, it’s important to keep each room in top condition. Taking care of your home by cleaning it properly and periodically is the easiest way to keep your home looking great. Cleaning your kitchen counters is a simple step in this process, and it’s important to know how to clean each type of surface.

For granite countertops, the first step is to seal them upon installation. This will help to prevent deep stains over time and ultimately making cleaning easier. For daily cleaning, you can use warm water and your choice of mop or cloth. For tough stains, find a household cleaner that is made for stone- make sure to carefully read the label. Don’t ever apply bleach or other acidic cleaners, as they will damage the surface. If you can, avoid soap since it can etch the stone. When placing dishes and other utensils on the countertops, use placemats and trivets to prevent scratches and rings.

For marble countertops, you will need a little bit of patience. Because marble is soft and delicate, it scratches and stains easier than other materials. Because of its porous surface, anything acidic will stain easily. Make sure to clean up spills and stains as soon as they happen to prevent them from setting. Use hot water and a sponge or soft cloth for simple cleaning. Always dry the countertops yourself instead of letting them air dry. Because marble is delicate, stay away from any cleaner that is abrasive or includes vinegar. Marble is easily damaged by heat, so don’t set any hot dishes or pans on the counter.

For ceramic countertops, there are a few steps. First, clean up any dry debris with a vacuum or by sweeping. Then you can clean your surface with warm water and a gentle cloth. Any gentle, neutral-PH cleaning solution will work as well. Like most materials, avoid bleach and acidic cleaners which will damage the material. If your ceramic countertops have tiles, make sure to scrub the grout and remove mildew that can collect in the grooves. There are a variety of grout cleaners on the market (including spray and foam options), so it’s easy to find one that will work for you.

For wood countertops, the cleaning process is a bit different. To prevent the wood from drying out or warping, only use food-grade mineral oil (avoid olive and vegetable oil). Periodically applying mineral oil will keep the wood looking moist and in top shape. Clean up any spills as soon as they happen so they will not stain. Wooden countertops absorb odors easily, so rub the surface with a slice of lemon to get rid of the smells.

For soapstone countertops, you have a few more options in terms of cleaning. Since it is usually dark and non-porous, stains don’t show up as well. To keep it clean, wipe soapstone with a cloth or sponge and some dishwashing liquid and warm water. A fine sandpaper (used carefully) can remove any scratches. Avoid abrasive cleansers and steel wool.

For stainless steel countertops, you’ll need to dedicate some time to their cleaning. Steel is very sensitive to harsh chemicals and wet materials. Keep your counter dry at all times to avoid discoloration. Clean the surface with warm water and a small amount of baking soda. Avoid rough cloths and sponges, since they can scratch easily.

If you are ever in doubt, call your countertop manufacturer and ask for specific cleaning and care instructions. As a general rule, always use gentle cleaning supplies and wipe all surfaces dry to prevent mildew and germ build-up.