Countertops are a focal point in any bathroom. They account for much of the surface area in the space and attract the eye with their color, motion, patterns, and sheen.
Countertops also are one of the more substantial investments you’ll make in the remodeling process, so it’s essential to know how to properly clean and maintain the materials you choose, so they remain sparkling and beautiful for many years to come.
It’s a common misconception that granite countertops need to be regularly sealed and that this is something homeowners should anticipate dealing with throughout the future. While granite does need to be adequately sealed, it should be something that’s only ever done once when it’s first installed.
To clean granite countertops, use warm, soapy water. Stay away from common commercial spray cleaners because ingredients like ammonia, vinegar, and lemon are all acidic and could eat away at the surface of your granite.
If you feel like your counter needs a deeper clean, you can make a homemade mixture of 50% water and 50% rubbing alcohol to clean your granite countertops. There also are commercially available stone cleaners that do not contain any of the harsh ingredients.
Also, think about what kind of rag you are using to wipe down the surface of your granite countertops. You don’t want to use anything abrasive. Choose a soft washcloth or microfiber cleaning cloth. To keep from getting streaks, make sure you dry and buff after wiping down your countertops.
Unlike granite, quartz is manufactured with a mix of ground quartz stone and resins and polymers and thus is non-porous. Not only that, quartz countertops are stain and odor resistant.
To clean quartz countertops, soapy water, and a soft cloth is still your best bet. Why? Because harsh abrasive cleansers or scouring pads will dull the surface of your countertops.
If you need a stronger cleanser because something like wine or fruit juice spills on your countertop, use a glass or non-abrasive surface cleaner along with a soft cloth or sponge.
Cultured marble also is a manufactured material made with a mix of marble dust and resins.
To clean cultured marble countertops, you can use a mild all-purpose cleaner that doesn’t contain any abrasives. Abrasive cleaners and scouring pads can scratch the surface of your cultured marble, and glossy and matte finishes will show every little scratch.
For hard-to-combat soap scum or hard water stains, the best cleanser is a DIY solution – a 50/50 mixture of distilled white vinegar and water. Choose a soft washcloth, soft sponge, or microfiber cleaning cloth for all your cleaning needs.
Laminate countertops have come a long way over the years, and today are made in such a way that they mimic the look of high-end granite and quartz with a substantially lower price tag.
Dishwashing liquid, warm water, and a microfiber cloth is the preferred way to clean laminate countertops as well. Again, abrasive cleaners and scouring pads or steel wool are a no-no. Laminate countertops have a plastic coating on them, and harsh abrasive cleaners will damage and scratch this. They also will dull a shiny surface.
Baking soda is a great option for tackling tough stains on a laminate countertop, or a mild household cleaner, as well as a soft, shirt-bristled brush to help loosen dirt or stains.
It’s important to read all manufacturer’s instructions regarding the cleaning and maintenance of your new countertops, no matter what material you choose, to ensure you do not put anything on your countertops that would cause you to void the warranty.