Our smooth benchtops take the brunt of our kitchen creativity and experiments. Spills, splatters and smears are easy to wipe down, but some can leave stubborn stains. Worse, dirt build-up leads to bacteria and mould growth. Some cleaners, however, may not work on certain surfaces. These specialised solutions to clean kitchen counters are what we need to keep food prep safe and sanitary.
- Clean. Use a dishcloth or sponge soaked in warm, soapy water or sprayed with wood cleaner for wiping. For stuck-on residue, gently scrape it with a metal spatula or pastry scraper.
- Disinfect. Combine 4 cups of water and a teaspoon of bleach in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on a clean rag, wipe it on your countertop then allow to air dry. Do this process after working with raw meat, fish or poultry.
- Remove stain. Sprinkle some salt directly onto the stained spot. Use half a lemon to scrub the salt against the surface then wipe it with a damp cloth.
- Seal. Every month or quarter, rub your wood benchtop with high-quality mineral oil to prevent drying out and cracking. Make sure to wipe away any excess to avoid attracting dirt or making the surface sticky.
Protect timber kitchen benchtops from irreversible damage by keeping them away from water or moisture. Make sure to wipe spills immediately and do not leave your wet dishcloth on them. If you dry your washed dishes on the counter, have a plastic tray or absorbent mat underneath the rack to catch the drips.
- Clean. Use a dishcloth or sponge soaked in soap and warm water for wiping. Follow the surface grain, avoid abrasive scrubbers and wipe dry immediately to prevent water spots.
- Disinfect. Store-bought disinfectant sprays and wipes work on stainless steel benches. Just wipe it down with a damp cloth after sanitising as some disinfectants can be abrasive.
- Remove rust. Make a cleaning paste using baking soda and dish soap (you can replace dish soap with vinegar or lemon juice). Then use a soft cloth or sponge to rub the paste gently against the surface.
- Polish. Use a paper towel or dishcloth to rub some olive, mineral or lemon oil onto your benchtop for extra shine. For polishing your stainless-steel sinks, check out the cleaning techniques from this article.
Take good care of your stainless-steel benchtop by not using acidic and caustic chemicals like drain cleaners and bleach for cleaning. Use a trivet when placing hot pans on your counter. Also, do not cut food items directly on the bench to avoid surface damage or accidents.
Granite and Marble Countertops
- Clean. Clean kitchen counters with a microfibre cloth soaked in warm, soapy water. Mild dish soap is ideal.
- Disinfect. Look for disinfectant sprays or wipes that work on sealed stone surfaces (or those made for granite or marble).
- Remove stain. Make a cleaning paste using baking soda and water (for oily stain) or hydrogen peroxide (for water stain). Apply the paste to the stained spot, cover it with plastic wrap then leave it overnight or for a few days. Rinse it off afterwards, or repeat the process if stain remains.
- Seal. Marble needs resealing every few months and granite once a year. You can also do the water droplet test. If the drop leaves a mark on the surface after 15 minutes, then use the right sealant for the job.
Avoid bleach, vinegar or lemon juice when cleaning marble benchtops. Also, wipe spills from wine, tomatoes, fruit juice or soda right away. Both granite and marble are porous surfaces that are prone to etching when exposed to acidic products.
- Clean. Use a dishcloth or sponge soaked in warm, soapy water for wiping. You can use a mild bleach solution, too. But make sure to do a stain test first on a concealed spot.
- Disinfect. Combine 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the surface and allow to sit for about 2 minutes before wiping it clean.
- Remove stain. Make a cleaning paste using baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the stained spot (but do not rub). Leave it for a few minutes then wipe it down with a damp cloth. To remove grease, use a ready-made cleaner or vinegar solution, or check this list of homemade degreasers.
- Polish. Apply some laminate polish onto the surface then buff it with a clean, dry cloth.
Laminate benchtops are the most forgiving of all kitchen surfaces. They are compatible with most cleaning sprays and generally easy to clean. They are very sensitive to water, though, so dry them immediately.
Quartz and Stone Countertops
- Clean. Clean kitchen counters with this soap and water solution: combine 1 cup of water and a drop of dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the surface and wipe with a clean, damp cloth.
- Disinfect. Add four tablespoons of isopropyl alcohol to your soap solution. Spray the solution on the surface and let sit for a minute before wiping.
- Remove stain. Quartz and stone benchtops are generally stain-resistant. But if necessary, spray the stained surface with glass cleaner solution then scrub gently with a non-abrasive sponge.
- Polish. Spray vinegar (25%) and water (75%) solution onto the surface to keep it shiny. You can also use commercial quartz polish.
- Clean. Clean kitchen counters with a dishcloth or sponge soaked in warm, soapy water. Any non-abrasive multipurpose cleaner also works.
- Disinfect. Store-bought disinfectant sprays and wipes can quickly sanitise soapstone surfaces, especially after working with raw meat.
- Remove stain. If multipurpose cleaners do not work, remove stubborn stains or scratches with ultra-fine sandpaper (120 grit). After sanding, apply mineral oil on the surface.
- Seal. Treat new soapstone counters with mineral oil once a week for 1 to 2 months to develop water resistance and deep colour. After initial treatment, you can re-oil it every 2 to 3 months, or when water creates dark spots on the surface.
- Clean. Use a tile cleaner or homemade solution made of water, dish soap, baking soda and white vinegar. Clean and wipe grout areas thoroughly as these can trap moisture and allow mildew or mould growth.
- Disinfect. Combine 2 cups water and ¼ cup bleach in a spray bottle. Spray the bleach solution on the tiled surface. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing and wiping.
- Remove stain. Ceramic tiles can resist stains, but grout cannot. So, make sure to liberally spray your bleach solution on the grout areas then use an old toothbrush for scrubbing. Rinse thoroughly and apply some commercial grout sealant.
Pair your clean kitchen counters with proper waste disposal! These smart motion sensor bins can help with your recycling habit, too.