26/10/2021  •  ,

Kitchen Countertop Maintenance: How to Care For Your Countertop

Choosing your kitchen countertop is one of the most important investments you can make for your new home or renovation. With so much daily use from food preparation to coffee spills, it is crucial to choose the right kitchen countertop suitable for your daily needs.


Today, there is a vast array of various kitchen countertop materials available to choose from: such as traditional selections like laminate, granite, and quartz; or even stainless steel and concrete. While each material has their own pros and cons, they may also require unique maintenance and cleaning needs.  


Because of this, it’s important to consider the appropriate cleaning and maintenance of different materials before purchasing a countertop for your dream kitchen 


This article will provide an overview of the right (and wrong) ways to clean and maintain 10 popular kitchen countertop materials!





Granite Countertops  


Although a popular choice for decades, there are still a number of misconceptions when it comes to granite countertop maintenance.


One of the fundamental rules to know about granite countertops is that you should never clean them with Windex. There is also a misapprehension that you should only clean granite with a special granite-specific cleaner – this is also untrue, as you will learn below. 


Along with Windex, it is best to avoid any cleaners that include ammonia or bleach. Also, refrain from using acidic cleaners, such as lemon, lime, or vinegar. If you use these items frequently, they can weaken or dull the seal on granite surfaces.


The harsher cleaner you use, the faster it will break down the sealant.  


The most effective (non-damaging) way to clean your granite counters is to use warm water, a gentle or mild dish soap, and a microfiber cloth. These are the perfect tools for wiping down your surfaces, and daily cleaning should take no more than a few minutes. 


If your granite countertop is properly sealed, it will be virtually impervious to bacteria. Because of this, dish soap and hot water should be ideal for your day-to-day sanitizing needs.  


However, if you want to disinfect the surface, you can use 70% isopropyl alcohol.  


Just spray this onto the surface and let it sit for three to five minutes. After that, rinse the surface with water and dry it using a clean, microfiber cloth.  

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Quartz Countertops  


One of the main characteristics of a quartz countertop is that it is an incredibly low-maintenance surface. The cleaning process is quite similar to that of granite, but there are a few subtle differences to be aware of between the two surfaces. 


Like granite, you can typically just wipe Quartz down using water and mild soap for effective daily cleaning.  


While quartz is mostly stain-resistant, if you notice a mark that you can’t remove using soap and water, you can use a glass cleaner and non-abrasive sponge for the job.  


Even better, you don’t have to worry about sealing or resealing quartz during its lifetime, making maintenance all the more convenient.


It's no wonder than quartz is consistently among the most popular kitchen countertop materials!


Laminate Countertops  


The technology used to create laminate countertops has progressed quite far in recent years.


Today, modern options can mimic the look of wood and granite so well that it is virtually impossible to tell the difference.  


However, some of the older options, which are often seen in rental properties, aren’t quite as sleek.  


Regardless of the style you have, laminate is easy to care for. The main reason for this is because it’s extremely durable.  


If something spills, make sure to wipe it up immediately, which will help prevent staining. Also, make sure to wipe down the surface of the counter daily using a non-abrasive cleaner.  


If you have textured laminate, you can use a scrub brush to help you get into the nooks and crannies in order to give the surface a deeper, more thorough cleaning.  



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Butcher Block Countertops  


Butcher block is a more affordable option than stone, and it has been a popular design for quite some time.  


If you are unfamiliar with the material, learning how to clean butcher block countertops is not as challenging as it may seem. 


One drawback of butcher block is that it can be susceptible to staining; which is why getting the cleaning right is a must. Even though the surface can stain, it will hold up well if it is properly sealed using water-based polyurethane.  


It’s important that you don’t use butcher block counters as a cutting board and that you don’t allow water to sit on the surface indefinitely.  


Cleaning this counter surface requires the use of dish soap and a sponge or scrub brush. Once you have scrubbed the surface, wipe it off using a damp cloth and then dry it well. 


If you have a stuck-on or stubborn mess, create a paste with hot water and baking soda. This abrasive mixture will help you get rid of these types of messes.  


If you need to kill germs, use white vinegar. Spray it on the surface and allow it to sit for a few minutes. After that, wipe it with a damp, clean cloth and then dry the area well.  


Concrete Countertops  


Long-lasting and durable, concrete is an extremely tough material and almost impervious to stains as long as it’s sealed each year.  


It is also heat safe, and if you are an avid DIYer, you may be able to make your own concrete counters.  


Whether you make them yourself or buy from a manufacturer, they still need to be cleaned.  


You can use dish soap, hot water, and a sponge to remove residue or stuck-on spills for daily cleaning. After cleaning, rinse the surface using hot water and dry with a microfiber cloth.  


To disinfect a sealed concrete counter, you can use ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol and two cups of water. Mix this in a spray bottle, spritz it on the surface, and let it sit for about five minutes. After that, wipe it up using a damp cloth and then dry the surface thoroughly.  


Stainless Steel Countertops  


There’s a good reason that most commercial kitchens are filled with stainless steel: It is incredibly low-maintenance and doesn’t require more than a daily wipe down using soap and water to stay clean.  


While this is true, you still want to be careful to avoid scratching the surface while ensuring you remove any streaks or smudges to maintain that flawless appearance.  


To do this, use a microfiber towel and a specialty cleaner that is designed especially for stainless steel. Make sure you never use steel wool or scrubbing pads on stainless steel because these can scratch the surface.  


Even though the name may lead you to think otherwise, stainless steel counters can be stained.  


To remove stains, create a paste using baking soda and dish soap. Once you have made the paste, use a soft cloth, and rub it in the same direction as the grain.  


You don’t have to seal stainless steel surfaces; however, you may want to polish it from time to time using lemon oil or a specialty polish and microfiber cloth.  


This will ensure it maintains that beautiful shine you undoubtedly purchased it for.  


Soapstone Countertops  


Soapstone is a natural, nonporous stone, which means it’s resistant to scratches and stains.  


You can clean it with any multipurpose cleaner; just make sure you don’t use an abrasive one! 


If you notice stains on soapstone counters, you can easily remove them with the same multipurpose cleaner you use for daily cleaning. 


Tough stains and scratches can be removed using fine-grit sandpaper, but don’t use anything rougher than 80 grit. If you do sand the surface, make sure to apply mineral oil when you are done.  


As time passes, the look of soapstone counters will change. This is especially true if you use mineral oil, as it can speed up the oxidation process and cause the stone to appear even darker.  


Some owners of soapstone counters choose to improve the look of the stone with mineral oil, which effectively brings out the colour and movement. However, others leave it as is and allow it to naturally patina as time passes.  


Mineral oil will also help to protect your counters from future stains! 

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Marble Countertops  


Marble is one of the most beautiful materials you can put in your home.  


However, a significant concern for a marble kitchen counter is that it is known to stain, etch, and scratch easily.


While this is true, there is some good news: It’s easy to clean each day! 


Cleaning requires towels, non-abrasive dish soap, warm water, and a spray bottle. Like granite and many of the other surfaces mentioned here, you should avoid using acidic cleaners, such as lemon juice or vinegar. These can cause etching on the surface.  


More intensive treatment is needed if you are dealing with deeper staining, such as red wine.  


To clean these stains, create a paste using baking soda and water and let it sit on the stained area for a minimum of 24 hours 


Tile Countertops  


One of the most difficult parts of cleaning tile countertops is the grout.  


While tiles may crack and chip, they are usually easy to wipe clean.  


However, remember to scrub gently. If you are too aggressive with your scrubbing, it can ruin the high-gloss finish.  


Grout may also collect food particles and is prone to staining. Using a scouring powder with bleach is one of the best ways to help keep the grout sparkling and clean.  


Cleaning Your Countertops 


As you can see from our guide, how you clean your countertops depends on the material you have, or plan on having in your new kitchen. It’s important to make sure you clean using the proper materials and methods to avoid damage and other issues with the surface.  


Be sure you keep these tips in mind, as they will help ensure your countertops continue looking new for as long as possible. Educating yourself on the materials in your home is crucial knowledge that will benefit and protect the investment you have made!


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Wondering how the right kitchen counter will fit into your dream kitchen? Book a free consultation with a Deslaurier expert in our Ottawa showroom! 

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