Let’s face it: Of all of the surfaces in your home, from walls to floors and cabinets, your countertops are among the materials that face the most abuse. Contamination from food and bacteria, stains from food dyes, splotches from hot pots and even nicks and cracks from overzealous chopping, your counters take it all. By properly caring for your countertops, though, you don’t have to worry about constant repair. Instead, a little TLC – no matter if your counters are quartz, granite, laminate or even wood – can ensure years of enjoyment. Take the time to care for your counters properly to extend your counter’s life.
So long as granite is properly sealed, it should remain nearly impervious to just about anything, including stains and head damage. If you’re not sure if your granite is sealed, try sprinkling a little water over the top and waiting 15 minutes. Sealed granite should not absorb the water, so you’ll see beads of moisture even 15 minutes later. If the water is gone, however, a coat of sealant can help protect your counters.
Ceramic tiles offer you a larger range of design options when compared to other types of countertop surfaces, but you’ll also have to deal with grout lines, which can get dirty and mildewy. Clean them out using a paste of apple cider vinegar mixed with baking soda, applied with a clean toothbrush and rubbed in a circular motion for grout lines that look like new.
Concrete must certainly be sealed before you use it on your countertops, but that sealant can wear away with repeated use of your counters. Keep it fresh by using a dry cloth and rubbing your counters down with tung oil once or twice per year and sealing every three to five years to keep them like new. If you’d like a shinier look to your tops, you can use wax designed for concrete to give them a wetter look year round.
If you’re into a more natural look, wood countertops are a no-brainer. Unfortunately, they can be some of the most high maintenance countertops to work with. After all, when compared to stone-based countertops, wood is extremely soft. Choosing a hardwood helps, but you’ll also need to stain and seal your countertops regularly. Keep them looking new by applying a coat of mineral oil monthly as well.
Thanks to its hard surface, it’s pretty difficult to harm quartz, even after years of abuse. Quartz doesn’t need to be sealed, making for a low-maintenance care routine. Regular cleaning, as well as attacking stains with a solution of hydrogen peroxide and flour – left overnight – can banish even the most stubborn of stains.
Laminate is fairly porous, so you may notice that food dyes can cause stubborn stains on the surface. If a glass of fruit juice has left a ring on your laminate, mix up a paste of baking soda and water. Use a soft cloth and buff the paste around the stain and it should come off. Laminate comes pre-sealed, so you don’t need regular maintenance other than wiping down your counters as needed.
No matter what type of countertops you choose, giving them a little extra care and attention can extend their lifespan and keep them looking like new for years to come. While some surfaces will require more maintenance than others, understanding the characteristics of your chosen material can help you better choose how to take care of your countertops. Usually, a little elbow grease and products you probably have at home are all you’ll need to take care of your counters.
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