The holidays are here, which means you’ll want squeaky clean countertops for all those house guests. We caught up with Anna Baker of Stone Source for some easy tips on keeping your countertops looking like new, whether they’re Carrara or Quartz.
1. Know Thy Stone
Before you can clean it, you have to understand it. There are basically two categories in solid surface countertops: (1) marble; (2) everything else.
MARBLE is a carbonate, which means anything acidic like lemons or even tomatoes will eat away a tiny bit of the surface, creating dull spots known as etches.
Other surfaces such as QUARTZ and GRANITE are tough enough to withstand more aggressive cleaners. If you like a streak-free clean, you can even use ammonia-based sprays such as Windex.
While less common, SOAPSTONE and LIMESTONE are natural stone choices that require similar cleaning and maintenance than marble (although they both better resist heat damage).
Related: 4 Tips on Choosing Fixture Finishes
2. Clean Smart
The easiest, safest, and most effective cleaning method for your kitchen counters is warm dish soap + warm water, says Baker. A bit of mild soap in a sink works great for everyday cleaning. If you prefer the spray-on/wipe-off method, mix water and dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray on your counters, wipe with hot, wet dish cloth and dry with a towel. (See recipe here) You can also buy specially formulated sprays for your type of stone, just be sure it’s pH neutral, she warns.
If you have marble, wipe up spills as soon as they occur to minimize etching and avoid citrus scented cleaners because of the acidity. Other surfaces such as granite can handle stronger cleaners, but never use bleach on quartz.
3. Watch overspray
If you have marble or another natural stone, be careful of the overspray from sink bowl or glass cleaners. Spray those cleaners directly on your rag or sponge, away from your countertop.
Related: How to Choose Tile for Your Home
4. Remove etches or scuffs
Many people will tell you etches are a part of life with marble. While everyone differs on their tolerance for countertop imperfections, it’s a myth that your only option is to suck it up and live with it. “A stone professional is your best bet for removing any type of damage, but there are some DIY methods for minor issues like etching or scuff marks,” says Baker. “There are products available called water ring and etch removers that you can use with a white nylon scouring pad to buff out any light etching. It just takes patience and a little elbow grease.”