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Popular in Home Improvement

Tricks to the Cleanest Countertops Ever

Different types of countertops require different methods of care. Read on for the right way to clean the countertops in your kitchen or bath, plus pick up some easy cleaning tricks to make the job even easier.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Cleaning Countertops: Faster, Smarter, and Better

      Follow these tricks for efficiently cleaning countertops in a jiffy. Then go to the next slides to see how to clean and care for specific types of countertop materials.

    • Granite Countertops

      How to Clean: Wipe the surface with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. A mild bleach solution may be used. Don't use abrasive cleanser or scrub pads because they may scratch the surface.

      How to Remove Stains: Make a paste of baking soda and water or talc mixed with a diluted solution of ammonia, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide. Gently scrub the spot with the paste and a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly. Several applications may be necessary to lift the stain.

      How to Seal: Seal with an appropriate sealer formulated for stone to help prevent stains and make it easier to keep clean.

    • Laminate Countertops

      How to Clean: Use warm, soapy water, a mild bleach solution, or a nonabrasive kitchen cleaner to clean laminate countertops. Don't use abrasive cleaning pads. Use a soft toothbrush along seams or along metal edging. Take care when using bleach solutions: They may alter the countertop color or cause other surface damage. Test first in an inconspicuous spot.

      How to Remove Stains: For greasy buildup, use a kitchen cleaner or a mixture of white vinegar and water. If the surface feels tacky, rub with a paste of baking soda and water, then rinse.

      How to Seal: No sealing is necessary.

    • Stone Countertops: Limestone, Slate, And Soapstone

      How to Clean: Use warm, soapy water, a mild bleach solution, or a nonabrasive kitchen cleaner to clean laminate countertops. Don't use abrasive cleaning pads. Use a soft toothbrush along seams or along metal edging. Take care when using bleach solutions: They may alter the countertopcolor or cause other surface damage. Test first in an inconspicuous spot.

      How to Remove Stains: For greasy buildup, use a kitchen cleaner or a mixture of white vinegar and water. If the surface feels tacky, rub with a paste of baking soda and water, then rinse.

      How to Seal: No sealing is necessary.

    • Butcher-Block Countertops

      How to Clean: Use warm, soapy water, a mild bleach solution, or a nonabrasive kitchen cleaner to clean laminate countertops. Don't use abrasive cleaning pads. Use a soft toothbrush along seams or along metal edging. Take care when using bleach solutions: They may alter the countertop color or cause other surface damage. Test first in an inconspicuous spot.

      How to Remove Stains: For greasy buildup, use a kitchen cleaner or a mixture of white vinegar and water. If the surface feels tacky, rub with a paste of baking soda and water, then rinse.

      How to Seal: No sealing is necessary.

    • Ceramic-Tile Countertops

      How to Clean: Unless tiles are rinsed thoroughly, soap may leave a film on the surface. Adding white vinegar to the water may alleviate this problem. Do not use abrasive cleaners or pads.

      How to Remove Stains: Although tile doesn't stain easily, grout does. It's also the area most likely to harbor bacteria. Scrub the grout with a mild bleach solution and a toothbrush. Then seal it with a commercial grout sealer.

      How to Seal: Glazed ceramic tile does not need to be sealed. Grout, on the other hand, should be sealed with a grout sealant to help it become stain-resistant. Unglazed tile countertops should be sealed with a penetrating sealer for protection and stain resistance.

    • Concrete Countertops

      How to Clean: Wipe the surface with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. A mild bleach solution may be used. Don't use abrasive cleanser or scrub pads because they may scratch the surface.

      How to Remove Stains: Make a paste of baking soda and water or talc mixed with a diluted solution of ammonia, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide. Gently scrub the spot with the paste and a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly. Several applications may be necessary to lift the stain.

      How to Seal: Seal with an appropriate sealer formulated for concrete to help prevent stains and make it easier to keep clean.

    • Cultured-Marble Countertops

      How to Clean: Wipe the surface with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. A mild bleach solution may be used. Don't use abrasive cleanser or scrub pads because they may scratch the surface.

      How to Remove Stains: Make a paste of baking soda and water or talc mixed with a diluted solution of ammonia, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide. Gently scrub the spot with the paste and a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly. Several applications may be necessary to lift the stain.

      How to Seal: Seal with an appropriate sealer formulated for concrete to help prevent stains and make it easier to keep clean.

    • Cultured-Stone Countertops

      How to Clean: Wipe the surface with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. A mild bleach solution may be used. Don't use abrasive cleanser or scrub pads because they may scratch the surface.

      How to Remove Stains: Make a paste of baking soda and water or talc mixed with a diluted solution of ammonia, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide. Gently scrub the spot with the paste and a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly. Several applications may be necessary to lift the stain.

      How to Seal: Seal with an appropriate sealer formulated for concrete to help prevent stains and make it easier to keep clean.

    • 10 of 15

      Glass Countertops

      How to Clean: Clean your glass countertops with any commercial soap or cleansers that you would ordinarily keep in your home for cleaning hard surfaces: such as glass cleaner or multi-purpose cleaner. Use a soft cloth or sponge to avoid scratching the surface. Avoid using abrasive cleaners and scratchy cleaning tools.

      How to Remove Stains: Glass countertops are stain resistant.

      How to Seal: No sealing is necessary.

    • 11 of 15

      Marble Countertops

      How to Clean: Clean your marble countertops regularly with a damp soft cloth (microfiber works well) to avoid streaks. Wipe dry with a clean cloth. Never let it air dry because marble is prone to water spots. For deeper cleaning, use a ph - neutral dishwashing liquid mixed with warm water. Rinse thoroughly to get rid of any residue and wipe completely dry.

      How to Remove Stains: Acidic liquids can permanently etch your marble, so blot wine, orange juice, tomatoes, and soft drinks immediately. Deep-seated stains may require calling in a professional. Consult the Marble Institute of America for stain removal recommendations.

      How to Seal: Use a product formulated especially for marble's porous surface.

    • 12 of 15

      Solid-Surfacing Countertops

      How to Clean: Clean solid-surfacing countertops with water, soapy water, or cleaners developed specifically for solid-surfacing. Wipe the surface dry after cleaning, rather than letting it air dry, to prevent a film from building up. You can occasionally disinfect the counter by using diluted bleach (50-50 solution of bleach and water). Rinse thoroughly, then wipe dry.

      How to Remove Stains: Solid-surfacing countertops are stain-resistant. Wipe away virtually all stains with soap and water. For scorch marks, scratches, or persistent stains, consult with your countertop fabricator about renewing the surface.

      How to Seal: Solid-surfacing does not need to be sealed.

    • 13 of 15

      Stainless-Steel Countertops

      How to Clean: Wipe down your stainless-steel countertop with a microfiber cloth for dry cleaning. For wet cleaning, use a soft cloth dipped into a solution of warm water and mild dishwashing liquid. Rinse the surface with clean water and dry with a clean, soft towel. Look for commercial stainless-steel cleaners to remove fingerprints and smudges.

      How to Remove Stains: Stainless-steel countertops are stain-resistant.

      How to Seal: Stainless steel does not need to be sealed.

    • 14 of 15

      Wood Countertops

      How to Clean: Wash your wood countertop with a mixture of mild dishwashing soap and water. Rinse thoroughly. Dry with a soft clean cloth.

      How to Remove Stains: Blot up as much of the stain as you can to prevent it from sinking into the pores of the wood. If you're dealing with a light stain, try sprinkling on salt. Then scrub with the cut side of half a lemon. Stain still showing? Let it sit overnight before rinsing with water and drying with a clean cloth. For a darker stain, try dabbing with a cotton swab dipped in a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution to lighten it. If the stain seems permanent, you can always sand and refinish a wood countertop.

      How to Seal: Oiling wood countertops keeps the wood from drying out, helps seal the surface, and adds sheen. Wipe the wood with a light coat of mineral oil, letting the oil soak into the surface. Sop up oil that does not soak in. Do not use excess oil because the surface may become tacky and attract dirt. Don't use linseed or vegetable oil for this purpose because they can become rancid.

    • 15 of 15
      Next Slideshow 13 Tips to Help You Speed-Clean Your Home

      13 Tips to Help You Speed-Clean Your Home

      It's simple: The faster you clean, the sooner you're done. The following tips are guaranteed to satisfy your need for cleaning speed.
      Begin Slideshow »

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