We want to assume that your kitchen countertop is made out of “granite,” green marble, soapstone, or a hone-finished stone. If you have polished marble, polished travertine, or a problem-laden stone such as slate, certain sandstone, etc., then there’s not much that can be done to maintain their factory finish, other than…never use your countertop! That said, there’s one thing and one thing only to keep always in mind when maintaining your kitchen countertop:
If a cleaning chemical was not specifically formulated to clean soil off while not interacting with the chemical makeup of the stone, it’s not safe to be used, period.
This firm rule applies to all stone surfaces: floors, walls, etc. included, of course; but, for some mysterious reason, when it comes to countertops, there seems to be a particularly widespread trend by which most stone dealers and fabricators recommend the wrong cleaning solutions to their customers. “Use a glass cleaner,” or “Use water with a little dish soap” are the most popular recommendations.
They are the wrong recommendations. So-called glass cleaners may turn out to be too harsh to both the stone and the sealer (if one needed to be applied to it). At the same time, water and dish soap won’t do a good cleaning job, to begin with, and will leave an unsanitary film that will build up together with the soil the solution was not able to clean completely, and become problematic to remove.
(Try to wash your hands with dish soap and then rinse them under running water; observe how long and how much water it takes to rinse properly. To get the same result – which is the only one acceptable – you’d have to rinse your countertop with a garden hose!)
In conclusion, generic household cleaners off the shelves of the supermarket or hardware stores are out, and specialty cleaners specifically formulated to deal with the delicate chemistry of stone are, very definitely, in order.
Here is our do’s and don’t list when caring for your natural kitchen countertop.
- Regularly clean your kitchen countertop using only products that specifically state on their label that they are safe to be used on natural stone. There are several good-quality brands available in the marketplace, and they usually come in a spray bottle, which means that they are ready-to-use products.
- Use PH Neutral Products: For the purposes of a vanity top or even a kitchen countertop that does not get used intensively, pH-neutral products are just fine, but for kitchen countertops with a lot of cooking activity, alkaline products not higher than 9 in the pH scale are more appropriate.
- Let the chemical do the work! It’ll make your job much easier and more effective!
- Let any spill sit too long on the surface of your countertop; clean spills up (by blotting only) as soon as you can.
- Use chemicals that are not formulated for safely cleaning the specific surface of your countertop
- VERY IMPORTANT WARNING: If there are dried-on food stains or other matter particles that require countertop scrubbing, DON’T use any green or brown scouring pad. The presence of silicon carbide grits in them will scratch even the toughest “granite”! You can safely use those sponges lined with a silvery or golden net, or other plastic scouring pads. Remember, it’s essential to spray the cleaner and let it sit for a while to moisten and soften the soil, before scrubbing.
Our Product Recommendations:
- Countertop Kit One – Natural stone countertop cleaning and maintenance kit that cleans, polishes, and protects your kitchen countertop.
- Countertop Ongoing Care Kit – Natural stone cleaning and care kit designed to keep your natural kitchen countertop surfaces cleaned & polished.
- MB-5 Stone & More – Multi-surface cleaner for Kitchen countertops. Formulated for marble, granite, ceramic & more.