Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Maintenance Tips for 5 Popular Kitchen Countertop Materials

by Melissa Bullard
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Wiping your countertops is such a daily, routine task that most people don't think about it too much. However, countertop maintenance can be an essential part of making your countertops look their best and last their longest, and it's something that homeowners should consider when remodeling or buying a home. If you're home-shopping or remodeling, take these countertop maintenance tips into consideration when choosing what type of kitchen countertop you want for the long haul.

Maintenance for 5 Popular Countertop Materials

  1. Natural Stone: If you have a natural stone countertop like granite, slate, or soapstone, know that cleaning often with warm water and liquid detergent and sealing are essential parts of caring for the countertop. Soapstone requires a mineral oil treatment every other week for the first year of its life and every other month thereafter. You can clean granite with water and liquid detergent and must seal it twice a year to prevent stains.
  2. Wood: You can wipe wood down after use with a wet rag, but you must seal and oil it consistently to prevent cracking. Many homeowners prefer the look of mineral oil, which must be applied once a month. Also, keep in mind that not all types of varnishes are appropriate for use on food preparation surfaces.
  3. Concrete: Make sure that you wipe up spills immediately, because concrete can stain. Wax your concrete countertop every six months and seal it once a year for best protection.
  4. Plastic Laminate: A plastic laminate countertop requires very little maintenance beyond wiping it off. Residual soap can leave a stain, so make sure you always rinse it off; if you need a stronger cleaner, try a non-abrasive bathroom cleaner. Remember, in spite of its easy maintenance, plastic laminate is not stain-proof, heat-proof, or scratch-proof, so you've still got to be careful.
  5. Ceramic Tiles: Wipe ceramic tiles with a wet rag, but make sure that you don't use abrasive materials when you're scrubbing because these can damage the glaze on tope of the tile. If you are refacing your kitchen, make sure to give the grout plenty of time to cure, then seal it if you want to avoid discoloration. Occasionally clean the grout with water, dish detergent, and a soft toothbrush.

Whether you're buying a new home, remodeling your kitchen, or just refacing the kitchen cabinets or adding new countertops, make sure you know the basics of countertop maintenance for your kitchen if you want to enjoy it for years to come.

About the Author
Melissa Bullard earned a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, then a Master's Degree in Spanish Language and Literatures from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has taught writing, literature, and Spanish classes, and is currently working as a fre

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