How To Clean Countertops (Marble, Quartz, Butcher Block, Laminate)

You deserve a fresh canvas for meal prepping, plating and phone finding.

Countertops are where the magic happens. It’s literally where you do everything, from setting down the groceries when you return from the store to preparing and serving meals. Your countertops play host to some of your favorite things, like the coffee maker, that cup of pens and the pile of mail you’ve been meaning to sort through for weeks. Your countertops are likely adorned with blossoming plants or kitschy knick knacks. They’re one of the first places you check for your phone when it’s not in your pocket.

It’s so crucial to remember to sanitize and disinfect your countertops regularly. They see a lot of action. Translation: They can be home to lots of germs and bacteria.

Countertops come in many, many materials and — much like floors — each type of countertop comes with unique cleaning instructions. Yes, there are the “how to clean” tips — but more importantly, the “how not to clean” (aka the “how to not ruin”) advice. We don’t want you to strip your countertop’s finish or conjure up a hazmat zone in your kitchen.

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First thing’s first when cleaning all countertops, give them an initial wipe down with a clean damp rag or paper towel to remove any crumbs, dust and/or sticky bits. Tackle stuck-on food or grime with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which is safe on most countertop materials.

Then read on for our tips for cleaning specific countertop materials, from marble and granite to wood and laminate.

How to clean + disinfect stone countertops

Ah, stone countertops. If you’re fortunate enough to boast these dreamy, idyllic counters, you’d best treat them with respect. Marble is porous, and therefore challenging to keep clean. Quartz stains easily and is ultra-sensitive to heat (don’t you dare put that hot pan down on it!). While these countertops are certainly the most attractive, they’re also the most temperamental.

  • To clean stone countertops, spray them with a solution of hot water mixed with a few drops of gentle but effective dish soap like Dawn Ultra Dish Soap. Wipe clean using a damp microfiber rag. Dry off with another clean microfiber rag.
  • Whatever you do, do not use acidic cleaner on your stone countertops. No lemon juice, no bleach, no vinegar. Acidic cleaner can dull your stone counters over time.
  • To disinfect your stone countertops, spray them with a 1:1 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water. Wipe clean using a damp microfiber rag. Dry off with another clean microfiber rag.
  • If your countertops are sealed properly (and only if!), you could disinfect them with a bleach-free disinfecting wipe from time to time without doing any damage.

How to clean marble countertops

Marble is mostly made up of calcium carbonate, which is ultra-sensitive to acids. We know, you’re thinking, “Why would I spill acid on my countertops?” But acid could be anything from a squeeze of citrus juice, condensation from your happy hour paloma glass or a drop of vinegar from your salad dressing. Any of these materials are abrasive enough to corrode your marble countertop. Acids create dull spots in marble known as etches. While some people don’t mind etches, the same way you’d consider broken in leather or denim to have more charm or character, others choose to grind down marble’s top layer and re-polish the surface to get rid of etches when they occur.

So when you’re cleaning marble, remember to avoid anything acidic like a DIY vinegar solution. The rest is easy:

  • To clean marble countertops, spray them with a solution of hot water mixed with a few drops of dish soap. Wipe clean using a damp microfiber rag. Dry off with another clean microfiber rag.
  • To disinfect your marble countertops, spray them with a 1:1 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water. Wipe clean using a damp microfiber rag. Dry off with another clean microfiber rag.

How to clean quartz countertops

Quartz is quite low maintenance, but there are lots of variables lurking in your cabinet that could potentially harm your pretty countertops. For example, highly alkaline or acidic cleaning products are a hard no for quartz. And don’t even think about removing your nail polish around your quartz countertops. And definitely use a cutting board and trivets on quartz, because it’s sensitive to high temperatures and scrapes.

  • To clean quartz countertops, spray them with a solution of hot water mixed with a few drops of a gentle dish soap. Wipe clean using a damp microfiber rag. Dry off with another clean microfiber rag.
  • Using degreaser on quartz is great for, well, removing grease. Just be sure the store-bought product doesn’t contain bleach and is quartz-safe. Wipe degreaser off with a clean damp rag afterwards.
  • Ready-made glass cleaner works great for deep cleaning quartz. Wipe off with a clean, damp rag afterwards.
  • To disinfect your quartz countertops and to spot treat stains, spray them with a 1:1 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water. Wipe clean using a damp microfiber rag. Dry off with another clean microfiber rag.

How to clean granite countertops

Granite sounds like it should be super tough, but it’s actually pretty fragile. Avoid using acid, bleach, steel wool or scrubby brushes on your granite countertops. When properly sealed, granite countertops can withstand high temperatures and basic wear and tear, but it is also porous and can absorb liquids, causing stains. But granite is simple to clean and spot treat, so as long as you reseal it annually, your granite counters should live a long, happy life.

  • To clean granite countertops, spray them with a solution of hot water mixed with a few drops of gentle dish soap, like Dawn. Wipe clean using a damp microfiber rag. Dry off with another clean microfiber rag.
  • To spot treat stains on your granite countertops, use a DIY baking soda paste. Apply paste to stain and cover the area with cling film, taping down the edges. Leave the solution on overnight then rinse and wipe off with a clean rag.
  • For water stains, mix the baking soda + a small amount of hydrogen peroxide
  • For oil-based stains, mix the baking soda + water
  • To disinfect your granite countertops, spray them with a 1:1 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water. Wipe clean using a damp microfiber rag. Dry off with another clean microfiber rag.

How to clean concrete countertops

While concrete definitely gives off the most punk rock counter vibes, you still need to treat it with care. Despite its hardened core and rough around the edges appeal, concrete counters are also sort of emo (just like your IRL punk rocker friends). Avoid abrasive cleaners or brushes, and stick to good old soap and water for best results.

  • To clean concrete countertops, spray them with a solution of hot water mixed with a few drops of gentle dish soap, like Dawn. Wipe clean using a damp microfiber rag. Dry off with another clean microfiber rag.
  • To disinfect your concrete countertops, spray them with a 1:1 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water. Wipe clean using a damp microfiber rag. Dry off with another clean microfiber rag.

How to clean + disinfect butcher block countertops

What’s cooler than a built-in butcher block countertop? They’re simultaneously rustic, trendy and timeless. From country cabins to chic urban apartments, butcher block aesthetic gives your kitchen a righteous zero-shucks-given attitude. Pairs wells with decorative (or functional) meat cleaver displayed nearby.

  • To clean your butcher block countertops, spray them with a solution of hot water mixed with a few drops of dish soap. Scrub clean using a dish sponge or plastic bristled scrub brush. Wipe down the solution with a damp cloth and then wipe dry with a dry cloth.
  • For sticky or persistent stains on your butcher block countertops (dangit, red wine!), mix together a paste made of baking soda and hot water. This DIY cleaning paste is gentle enough for wood but abrasive enough for stains and should dissolve most messes.
  • To disinfect butcher block countertops, spray them with white vinegar and allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping off with a clean damp cloth.
  • To freshen up the scent of your butcher block countertop, pour some salt onto it and rub half a lemon (fruit face down) into the countertop as if you’re exfoliating it. This ought to get rid of any lingering odors from dicing aromatics.
  • Once a month, use a soft cloth to buff a thin layer of food grade mineral oil into your butcher block countertop. Let it soak into the board overnight before using. (Note: Avoid using olive or avocado oil for this task.) Oiling your butcher block countertop can help to prevent dryness, cracking or warping.

How To clean + disinfect laminate countertop

Laminate countertops are everywhere, whether you like them or not. If your home was built between the 1940s and the 1970s, we’d confidently bet you’ve got laminate counters someplace in your house. They’re inexpensive and can mimic the appearance of pricier stone counters. Plus they’re easy to care for and, when done properly, are often long lasting.

  • To clean your laminate countertops, spray them with a solution of hot water mixed with a few drops of dish soap like Dawn. Wipe clean using a damp microfiber rag. Dry off with another clean microfiber rag.
  • Avoid using abrasive scrubbers on your laminate countertops, such as steel wool.
  • To disinfect laminate countertops, spray them with isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Wipe clean with a dry rag. Bleach can discolor your laminate surfaces, so stick to less corrosive cleaning products to disinfect.
  • Don’t use excessive water around the laminate’s seams so your counters don’t warp or swell over time.

How To clean + disinfect stainless steel countertops

Oh, so you’re a pro? You’ve got restaurant quality, stainless steel countertops in your kitchen. Color us impressed. These no frills, utilitarian countertops are both tough as nails and easy to clean.

  • To clean stainless steel countertops, spray them with a solution of hot water mixed with a few drops of dish soap like Dawn. Wipe clean using a damp microfiber rag. Dry off with another clean microfiber rag.
  • To dissolve stains, try a mixture of baking soda and warm water. Rinse with a damp cloth then buff dry (hint: stick to the direction of the grain for less smeary, distracting results). Stainless steel can handle plastic bristle brushes, if you need to apply a little elbow grease to your countertop gunk.
  • Try not to lose your mind over fingerprints, since stainless steel collects them easily. You can polish away fingerprints using a tiny bit of olive oil on some paper towel.

It’s a total no brainer that the space where you:

  • Throw down your purse, keys and water bottle (Which travel everywhere with you, collecting all of those outside germs.)
  • Place packages that were just delivered (More outside germs!)
  • Constantly drip and spill things (ie: Coffee, juice, smoothie splatters, melty ice cream, etc.)
  • Collect all those damn crumbs (Afterall, your toaster lives on the counter too!)
  • Prepare all of your meals, from snacks to dinner and everything in between

… ought to be a clean, decluttered and sanitized blank slate for all of your future meal prepping, plating and garnishing. Cleaning your kitchen countertops should be something you’re routinely doing between uses. And if you’re cleaning your countertops properly, they should live a long and happy life.

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