Know What Type Of Countertops You Have:
Most countertops can get by with the same basic care, no matter what type they are. But there are some types that need very specific daily care and maintenance. Along the same lines, some countertops have substances that shouldn't be spilled or allowed to sit on them for any extended period of time. Vinegar is great to clean a laminate countertop, but terrible for marble countertops. Knowing what type of counters are in your kitchen, will let you know what you should and shouldn't do to care for them.
Do The Basic Daily Care:
Dust and dirt etch countertop surfaces. Spills that sit for too long on many countertops can become very difficult to remove. For this reason, a daily routine for your countertops becomes very important. A dry wipe down with a soft clean cloth is all that is needed on a day when the counters haven't been used. If more extensive cleaning is needed, water and a soft cloth can do the trick for most routine cleaning. Be sure to check the instructions for your specific countertop type before proceeding to any other steps.
Wipe Up Spills When They Happen:
Spills have the potential to stain and mark nearly every countertop surface. Porous stones that are in need of resealing will soak up spills, and discolor their surface. Laminate countertops can discolor from spills as well. And anything left on the surface of a stainless steel countertop creates the opportunity for damage. When a spill happens, right away is the time to take care of it. Removing spills immediately will protect your countertops in the long run.
Keep Cleaning Simple:
Even big messes can be cleaned thoroughly using very basic methods. To protect your countertops, start with the basic methods of dry dusting and/or cleaning with water. Only move on to special cleaners, or dish soap depending on countertop type, if it is needed. There are specialty cleaners out there that are great for occasional use, but generally, work from the easiest cleaning method, moving to more advanced methods only if the countertop needs extra care and cleaning.
Watch Out For Heat:
Be wary of what extreme changes in temperature can do to your countertops. Many stone countertops on the market are resistant to heat damage, but can still be affected by temperature. Use trivets and potholders to protect your countertops from hot surfaces.
Know Your Maintenance Requirements:
Knowing your responsibilities for maintenance will keep you from having any unpleasant surprises with your countertops. Most stone countertops need to be sealed every six months to a year depending on use and type of stone. Sealing keeps the countertops strong and useable. Find out the requirements for your countertops and keep up with their maintenance schedule.
Call In The Professionals:
One of your best resources for caring for countertops should come when they are installed. The professionals who install your countertops know all the ins and outs of keeping them looking nice. Manufacturer's websites often have answers to common care questions as well.
If damage does happen to your countertops, don't be afraid to call a professional for advice on how to repair the damaged portion.