How to Clean Every Type of Countertop: Marble, Quartz, Butcher Block, and More

Sparkling clean kitchen? Check!

While it's tempting to wipe down your countertops with whatever multipurpose cleaner you've got at home, it could be dulling or damaging them. It turns out that the safest way to clean most countertops is to use supplies you likely already have in your kitchen—and stick to the recommended cleaners for that particular surface. From quartz, to marble, to butcher block and laminate, here's how to care for any countertop surface you come across.

Marble, Quartz, and Granite Countertops

Real and engineered stone are the stars of the countertop world. While they're more expensive to install, they can add value to your home when you go to sell. One of the challenges with marble is that it's a natural stone, so it's very porous and hard to keep pristine. Quartz can also stain if a spill is left sitting too long, plus it's sensitive to heat (so reach for a trivet before setting down that hot pan). Don't use any acidic cleaner (lemon juice/vinegar/bleach) on these surfaces because it can create etching that dulls the surface over time.

How to Clean Quartz, Marble, and Granite Countertops:

Less is more! Put hot water and a squirt of dish soap in a spray bottle, spritz the counter and then wipe it down with a damp microfiber cloth. Dry with another clean microfiber cloth.

To disinfect granite, you can spritz the surface with a 1:1 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water, then wipe with a damp cloth and dry. If your countertops are properly sealed, you may be able to occasionally use a disinfecting wipe (look for one that's bleach-free) without harming the surface. Wipe with a damp cloth and dry afterwards.

Butcher Block Countertops

Less expensive than stone, butcher block has been having a design moment for a while now. It's still susceptible to staining, but it holds up pretty well if it's sealed with a water-based polyurethane. It's definitely not something you want to use as a cutting board or let water sit on indefinitely, but with proper care, it lasts.

How to Clean Butcher Block Countertops:

To clean, use hot water and dish soap and scrub with a dish sponge or a scrub brush with plastic bristles. Wipe it down with another damp cloth and then dry completely. For any stubborn stuck-on messes, make a paste out of baking soda combined with a little hot water. This slightly abrasive paste will help scrub away messes. To help kill some germs, spray with white vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe with a clean damp cloth, and then dry.

Laminate Countertops

A very cost-effective option, thanks to modern technology, laminate countertops can give the look of natural stone without the high price tag. They're also durable, and when cared for properly, can last a long time. For the best results, invest in a high-quality version from a trusted manufacturer, which will still be more affordable than most real stone.

How to Clean Laminate Countertops:

Like other countertops, you can use some hot water and dishwashing liquid and a microfiber cloth to clean the surfaces. Rinse with a damp microfiber cloth and then dry. If you're dealing with a stain, it's smart to reach out to your manufacturer for specific instructions and cleaner suggestions. In general, avoid abrasive scrubbers, like steel wool, and skip the bleach, which may discolor the surface. Keep water away from the seams to avoid warping or swelling of the substrate underneath the laminate.

Concrete Countertops

Durable and long lasting, concrete is tough and is practically impervious to stains if you seal it annually. Plus, it's heat safe—and it's even possible for savvy DIYers to make their own concrete countertops.

How to Clean Concrete Countertops:

For an everyday cleaning, use hot water, dish soap, and a dish sponge to scrub off stuck-on spills or residue. Rinse with hot water and a microfiber cloth and dry. If you want to disinfect a sealed concrete countertop, mix 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol with two cups of water in a spray bottle. Spritz on and let it sit for five minutes, then wipe with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly.

Stainless Steel Countertops

Practical and utilitarian, stainless steel countertops feel like they're straight out of a professional kitchen. No frills, they can handle whatever you throw at them, even dings and divots don't look too glaring or detract from the overall appearance. Not incredibly common in modern home kitchens, they do have vintage charm.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Countertops:

Everyday messes should be easy to clean up with—you guessed it—warm water, some dish soap, and a microfiber cloth. But if you want to get a little tougher, try scrubbing with a plastic bristled brush or other non-abrasive scrubber and some baking soda. Rinse with a damp cloth and then buff dry, moving in the direction of the grain. A major pain point with stainless steel surfaces is how easily they collect fingerprints and smudges. A little bit of olive oil on a paper towel rubbed into the stainless steel will help prevent them!

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