One of the first things people or prospective buyers notice when they step into a house is the countertops. They take up a considerable part of the kitchen and are in constant use. Countertops come in a variety of materials, each with its own particular care instructions. You can keep your kitchen counters looking their best by ensuring your cleaning regime is tailored to the material of your countertops. Here are some guidelines for cleaning various types of countertops:

Granite

Kitchen countertops made of granite usually have a polished finish that makes them beautiful but also delicate. Although granite is tough, you should never cut directly on its surface. Be careful not to drag pots and pans across the surface, as it can scratch the polished finish. You should clean spills up immediately to avoid stains because granite is a porous stone that easily absorbs liquids. Certain food products in particular – acids like citrus juice, vinegar, soft drinks – can leave etches in granite. Use gentle dishwashing detergent to dampen a cloth to clean the counter instead of harsh or abrasive cleaners. Apply a sealer to your polished finish granite countertops yearly. Also, routinely polish the surface using a granite sealant.

Marble

Like granite, this material is porous so take care to clean stains promptly. If the spill contains sugar, you might need to wash the spill with mild dishwashing detergent. Never use a rough scouring pad on marble. Instead of buying a specially made marble cleaning solution, you can mix your own by adding three tablespoons of baking soda to one quart of lukewarm water. Wipe the counter with the solution using a microfibre cloth. Use water to rinse the solution off and dry the area with a clean towel after allowing it to dry for at least two hours.

Wood

A wood countertop, such as a butcher’s block, is vulnerable to burns from hot pans and dishes. Always use a hot plate or trivet to protect this type of counter. Do not risk piercing or gouging the wood with a knife by cutting directly on the countertop – instead, use a cutting board. Wood also stains easily, so wipe any spills immediately. Be especially mindful of using vinegar, which is acidic enough to decay the glue that holds the counter together. You can make your wooden countertop even more resistant to stains by giving it a monthly oil massage. Warm food-grade mineral oil and rub it into the wood using a clean cloth. Allow the oil to soak for half an hour before wiping up excess oil.

Laminate

These countertops are economical compared to natural materials, and caring for them is relatively easy. Even though laminate is considerably resistant to gouges and cuts, you should always use a chopping block when cutting food, just as you would with a natural stone or wood countertop. Use a potholder or trivet under hot pans as exposure to high temperatures could cause the laminate to separate or melt. You can clean the laminate easily with water and soap. When the extensive cleaning is needed, use general-purpose cleaners.