How To Clean and Maintain Kitchen Countertops

The kitchen is the heart of a home, and the countertops are where all the action is: chopping, prepping, plating, snacking, leaning, and even sitting. Here is a break down by material on how to keep those counters clean and happy for years to come.


  • Apply a protective sealer annually, clean gently with warm water, and avoid dusting sprays (like Pledge) and abrasive cleaners.
  • Have a marble sealer professionally applied. If you do it yourself, you'll know it's sealed properly when water beads and forms droplets on the surface.
  • Oil stains can be removed by ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, or mineral spirits. And food stains can be lifted with a water-based paste of baking soda and dish soap.


  • Apply sealants to countertops every two years.
  • Clean with a gentle dish soap, wiping spills immediately, and avoid ammonia, lemon juice, vinegar, other acidic substances, and all abrasive cleaners.
  • Never cut directly on the stone's surface.


  • For most residues, all you need to clean your countertops is warm soapy water, ammonia-based household cleaner, or a dedicated countertop cleaner.
  • Avoid window cleaners, however, as they can leave a waxy build-up that dulls the surface.

Wood/Butcher Block

  • Use lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and/or wood bleach to treat stains and a quick sanding and re-oiling to heal scratches. Vinegar, however, is to be avoided.
  • A monthly dose of mineral oil for butcher block counters, or marine oil for non-butcher block wood counters is recommended.

Stainless Steel

  • Clean with near-boiling water on a soft cloth.
  • When scratches occur—and they will—they can be buffed out with an abrasive pad.


  • They are stain- and scratch-resistant, cleanable with soap and water, and heat-resistant up to 400˚F.


  • Require constant mineral oil treatments.
  • Clean after the mineral oil treatment using any household cleanser. Usually just wiping the soapstone with soap and water works just fine.

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