The Best Way to Clean Any Kitchen Countertop

updated Sep 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Your kitchen counter is literally the workhorse of the kitchen. Even on the days you don’t do any cooking, you probably use your counter. It’s where you plop down the day’s mail. It’s where you stand while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew. It’s where you unpack groceries. And on the days you cook, well, then it’s getting splattered with ingredients gone astray, covered with crumbs, and more. The point? The counter takes a lot of abuse.

Maybe you sweep up crumbs every night before you go to bed. But what about a deeper clean? Here’s how to care for your kitchen counter — organized by whatever type you may have.

Butcher Block

There’s a long list of pros for butcher block countertops in terms of beauty and function, and one definite con: maintenance. For one, there’s the oiling, which is the best way to restore the surface’s sheen. Then there’s the staining; a drop of red wine can lead you to resort to sanding (and what a project that can be!). Luckily, there are some things you can do — on a daily or as-needed basis — to keep your butcher block cabinets looking like new. Hint: You’ll need some vinegar, plus maybe some salt and lemons.

Take Care of Your Butcher Block Counters

(Image credit: Faith Durand)


Oh, marble. You are so pretty! But you can scratch, etch, and stain so easily. The good news? It’s pretty easy to clean on a daily basis! You really just need a spray bottle, warm water, non-abrasive dish soap, and some towels. Just avoid acidic natural cleaners like vinegar and lemon juice, as those can etch the surface. For deeper stains (red wine!), you’ll need to make a paste out of water and baking soda and let it sit on the area for at least 24 hours.

(Image credit: Cambria Bold)


There’s a lot of different advice about how to clean granite. (Use Windex! No, never use Windex! Use a special granite-only cleaner! No, you don’t need a special granite-only cleaner!)After doing our own research, we think we’ve discovered a consensus among stone experts on how to care for granite. You really don’t need any special cleaners to get those countertops shiny and streak-free. Just get some gentle dish soap, microfiber cloths, and maybe some isopropyl alcohol.


Technology in the world of laminate countertops has come a long way. Some options seriously look like granite or wood these days. Of course, some options — usually found in old rental kitchens — are less sleek. Whichever style you have, it’ll be easy to care for because laminate is super durable. Wipe up spills right away (to avoid stains) and give the counter a daily wipe down with a non-abrasive cleaner. If your laminate is textured, as so many are, try using a scrub brush to get into the nooks and crannies during a deeper cleaner.

Take Care of Your Laminate Counters

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

Stainless steel

Stainless steel counters add an awesome industrial look to any kitchen and are certainly getting more popular in residential kitchens. You already know that stainless steel is quick to show finger prints (your fridge is proof!), but the material is fairly easy to care for on a counter. You don’t need any special cleaners — just a few pantry staples, a couple cleaning cloths, and a soft-bristled scrubbing brush.

(Image credit: Celeste Noche)


The tough thing about tile is actually the grout. While tiles can chip and crack, they’re usually pretty easy to wipe clean (of course, aggressive scrubbing can ruin a high-gloss finish). The grout, on the other hand, can collect food particles and be prone to staining. A scouring powder and bleach is the best way to keep the grout sparkling and white.


This engineered stone is poised to replace granite, and for good reason: Because it’s non-porous, you don’t have to worry about typical countertop woes like etching, stains, cracks, chips, or even mildew and bacteria. To clean, you can simply wash it down with soap and water or a mild detergent. And there’s no need to seal or reseal it throughout its lifetime.


Often used on laboratory bench tops (think back to high school chemistry!), soapstone is impervious to acids like lemon juice and red wine. It’s also heat-resistant: You can place pots directly onto the countertop. You don’t need to seal it and can be cleaned with just soap and water. Note: The biggest downside is that soapstone is soft, which makes it susceptible to scratches and nicks. The best way to deal with those? Buff ’em out with sandpaper.


When done right, concrete never feels too cold or industrial. It does, however, need to be sealed in order to properly fight stains, water and heat damage, and bacterial growth. To clean, use a non-acidic cleaner and skip aggressive scrubbing pads, which can wear away the sealer. Instead, opt for a microfiber cloth.

What kind of countertop do you have? What are your cleaning pet peeves about it?