Whether in the kitchen or bath, countertops get constant use, so caring for them properly is the best way to protect your investment and maintain their good looks for as long as possible. Your work surfaces can become damaged if mistreated. General guidelines to follow no matter what type of countertop you have is as follow:
- Always use a chopping board. Cutting directly on any countertop will damage both your knives and the countertop
- Place hot pans or pots on protective mats or trivets. Heat makes material expand rapidly, and then they shrink as it cools. This can cause cracking in even the toughest materials
Natural stone Countertops
Natural stone counters, such as Granite, have been sealed to make it highly stain-resistant. To keep the glossy shine, you need to clean granite counters regularly and carefully.
- Generally, you can clean your granite countertop with a soap and water
- Don’t use vinegar, window-cleaner or bleach on granite. Frequent uses of these acidic substances will dull the granite and weaken the sealant.
- If a spill should occur, clean up before the stain has a chance to penetrate the surface. Granite is somewhat absorbent and can absorb stains if spills are left any length of time
- To remove stains from granite, make a paste of baking soda and water. Gently scrub the spot with the paste and a soft cloth and rinse thoroughly.
- To put a shine back onto your granite put a little cooking oil on a soft cleaning cloth and buff it across the countertop
- Although hot pans and pots and be placed directly onto granite without causing a burn mark, using a trivet is still a good idea since grit trapped between the pan and the countertop can cause scratches and pitting.
Engineered quartz countertops rival the sophistication, design, and timeless appeal of real stone, minus the high maintenance. The advantage of this over natural stones like granite is that it’s stain resistant and doesn’t need to be sealed.
- For every day, routine cleaning, simply wipe surface with a damp cloth and warm soapy water, a mild detergent or a quality spray to maintain its lustre. Although quartz will resist permanent staining when exposed to liquids like wine, tea, vinegar, lemon juice, or fruits and vegetables, it’s important to wipe up spills immediately before they have a chance to dry
- For dried spills or heavy stains, use glass or surface cleaner with a nonabrasive sponge and a little elbow grease
- Never use paint strippers, caustic soda, or products with a Ph of more than 10.
- If bleach or solvent is used, it should be diluted with water and never left in permanent contact with the product.
Solid Wood Countertops
Although, solid wood countertops are beautiful, they require regular care and maintenance.
- For everyday cleaning, wipe using a well wrung out cloth dipped in warm soapy water
- Mop up spills immediately, particularly on joins and around the cooking area and sink
- Don’t leave wet crockery to stand on these counters for any length of it will leave marks
- To remove any stains using a fresh lemon; rub the stained area with the cut side. Salt can be added for extra abrasion. If that still doesn’t work, try adding 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide to a cup of warm water and dab it on the stain
- Oil wood countertops once a month with a high quality mineral oil; follow the grain when applying oil and use a soft dry cloth.
- Most wood countertops are vulnerable to vinegar, which is acidic enough to dissolve the glue holding the pieces of wood together and cause the counter to crack along its glue joints.
Laminated (Formica) Countertops
Part of the beauty of laminate for kitchen countertops or bathroom vanity tops is that it’s easy to clean and maintain.
- In most cases, you only need to use a clean, damp, nonabrasive cotton cloth and a mild liquid detergent
- For more stubborn marks, leave the detergent to soak for a short while before rinsing thoroughly
- Do not flood the laminate, especially near seams, since water can penetrate and cause the substrate to swell
- To prevent damage the surface never use abrasive cleaners, scouring pads or steel wool