Your kitchen countertops are like your fingernails - both can tell a lot about you. If they're messy or stained, this could even be an indicator of health issues. But if they're tidy and well-maintained, you'll enjoy their longevity, and they'll look shiny and new for many years. This metaphor may be a little funny, we know, but this is actually a serious matter. For example, trying to clean marble countertops with vinegar can do permanent damage - did you know that? Let's preserve your countertops together with some clever tips on how to clean each type of countertop without breaking the bank.
Monthly treatment using mineral oil or marine oil will do wonders. Any marks, scratches, and even burns can be sanded down, and stains are easily removable with lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide. Oil stains can be absorbed with baking soda.
This material makes an excellent countertop because it is sturdy and resistant to damage. It's also non-porous, so it won't absorb stains. But if a stain does occur, as it is almost inevitable in the kitchen, a homemade paste of hydrogen peroxide and flour applied and left to sit for 24 hours will do the trick.
This beautiful stone has one major disadvantage - it is highly porous and thus gets stained very easily. It is also susceptible to etching and chemical corrosion. Clean oil stains from your delicate marble with ammonia-containing cleaners, hydrogen peroxide, or mineral spirits. Baking soda and dish soap will work for the rest of the stains, but be sure to avoid vinegar.
This material does not even require sealing, as it is naturally nonporous. However, slight discoloration may occur with oil stains. Get rid of them with mineral oil.
Stainless Steel Countertops
We just posted a very informative guide about removing stains from this material: Stain Removal Tricks For Stainless Steel Pans & Appliances.
Sadly, scratches are inevitable, but these can be regularly buffed out with an abrasive cloth. Avoid leaving your cast iron pan on the counter to avoid rust stains. Any rust stains that do occur can be eliminated with a paste of lemon juice and baking soda.
Even a sturdy material like laminate isn't resistant to stains. Lift them with baking soda and water and use bleach for the more persistent stains. Make sure to work quickly with bleach. Use a small amount and rinse it away immediately.
Concrete surfaces are supposed to be sealed by the installer, so they won't absorb any stains. However, a periodical treatment with tung oil can help. It only needs to be done 2 or 3 times a year. For cosmetic appeal, you can add high-shine wax.
Ceramic Tile Countertops
The focus here isn't the tile but the grout in-between. Clean it regularly with a toothbrush and bleach or any other mildew-fighting agent.
When granite is well-sealed, any stain should go away easily. To test the seal, splash some water on the surface. If the water is still beaded up 10 or 15 minutes later, your granite is properly sealed. If not, contact the professionals or your local hardware store - sealing is quick and cheap.