No matter what kind of countertops you have, they will eventually need to be cleaned. while having an abundance of choices for our countertops allows us to personalize and beautify our homes, there are many ways to damage those surfaces with improper care and cleaning.
Not sure what kind of countertop you have? Or maybe you just want some general rules to use when cleaning all countertops. Most countertops will do well with just a damp microfiber cleaning cloth. The more serious your cleaning regime, the more you need to know about what type of countertops you have. Many countertops need to be protected from dulling their finish with abrasives. Really with all countertops, a little bit of cleaning right away goes a long way.
I have to admit that slate is maybe my favorite type of countertop based on its beauty. I love the rich dark colors. But slate countertops are not the easiest to care for. They can be brittle, prone to cracking. Slate countertops are also prone to staining from oil. They can also be damaged by abrasive cleaners or products. Your best bet will be regular dusting, and using a PH neutral stone cleaner. While you have to be carefully with slate countertops, it is possible to keep them clean and beautiful.
Laminate countertops are inexpensive and very prevalent, especially in older homes that haven't had much renovation. That being said, laminate countertops can be very beautiful and functional in a home. Laminate countertops stand up to a ton of spills and potential damage. They can be damaged, however, usually from water. Laminate countertops have seams where the pieces are put together. Excessive water can swell and buckle the countertops. Make sure that you don't use excessive amounts of water. A little goes a long way. It's a good idea to go ahead and dry the countertops after they are cleaned to prevent water from getting into the seams. For stains, a backing soda paste may need to be used to draw up the stain.
Granite countertop have been very poular in new construction and remodeling. Granite countertops are a selling point in homes and will continue to be. Granite is a stone, so tough and abrasive cleaners should be avoided to prevent etching and scratching. Granite can be susceptible to stains, especially oily stains. A baking soda paste or poultice may need to be used to draw the stain back up out of the stone. Granite responds well to mild cleaners like water and dish soap. Microfiber cloths will work well at removing dirt without scratching the surface.
Stainless steel countertops may make you think of industrial or restaraunt kitchens, but they are also popular in homes. Stainless steel countertops are the tops when it comes to sanitary working conditions. They are also modern and beautiful, making them a great choice for a kitchen. Stainless steel can be dented. Scratching is also very common, although over time scratches seem to blend in to the countertops. Stainless steel shows smudges and fingerprints very easily. Water left on the surface to dry will often temporarily spot the stainless steel. Proper cleaning will prevent stains from every being a problem since acids and oils don't bother stainless steel. Dish soap works well on stainless steel, as do mild abrasive cleaners. It's a good idea to dry stainless steel countertops to prevent water spots. There are also a number of stainless steel cleaner products on the market.