The best ways to clean kitchen worktops
Not all kitchen worktop materials require the same care, so it’s important to understand what kind of treatment works for your surfaces.
The best approach is to do quick, simple cleanses daily, to avoid build up of dirt and stains.
Let’s start with the best way to clean each kind of kitchen worktop.
Most wooden worktops can easily be wiped down with a cloth soaked in hot, soapy water.
For stubborn stains you may want to use a very weak bleach solution in water, but be careful not to bleach the colour out of the wood.
Quartz worktops can be cleaned with warm, soapy water using a soft cloth or sponge - similar to what you’d use to wash your dishes.
For stubborn spills, you can add a small amount of surface cleaner or antibacterial detergent. If needed, dry with a microfibre cloth and finish off with a spray of glass cleaner to prevent streaks.
Wipe down laminate worktops with hot, soapy water or an all-purpose antibacterial kitchen spray.
To avoid streaking, remove all soap residue by spraying the surface with a weak solution of warm water and vinegar and wiping with a clean rag.
Laminate countertops are particularly sensitive to water, so remember to dry thoroughly with a soft cloth after cleaning.
Over time your laminate counter may start to look dull - you can restore its shine by applying a laminate polish with a clean, dry cloth.
Allow the polish to dry, then buff the counter with a second cloth.
Granite requires a little extra care! Clean after meal preparation with hot, soapy water and a microfibre cloth, but you’ll also want to regularly apply a granite cleaner and dust regularly to keep the surface shiny.
Avoid bleach and any acidic products like vinegar or lemon juice.
Marble is one of the easiest kitchen worktop surfaces to clean; all you need is warm water and dish soap.
Wipe the surface with a cloth and dry with a towel to get rid of any moisture and avoid smears.
The golden rule with marble worktops is not to clean them with any acid-based products, as marble is easily damaged by anything acidic.
Stainless steel worktops
Wash stainless steel worktops with a washing up liquid solution and buff dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.
You’re likely to get finger marks on your worktops; to remove, put a dab of cooking or baby oil on a cloth and rub the whole surface.
For daily cleaning, wash Formica worktops with a soft, damp cloth or sponge and soapy water with a liquid detergent or household cleaner.
Rinse and dry the surface immediately, as any excess water may leak into the seams of the laminate and cause the underlying surface to swell.
For any tougher spills, use a paste of baking soda and white vinegar, but avoid anything more acidic.
How to remove kitchen stains
Aside from your daily cleaning, you will sometimes have to tackle stains on your kitchen working surfaces. Many kitchen cleaners are tough enough to remove stains, but there are a few other handy tricks that could help budge those more stubborn marks.
Tea & coffee stains
The ideal way to deal with a tea or coffee spill is to wipe it up immediately, but if staining has set in you can treat most surfaces by applying a paste of baking soda and water. Let the paste sit for a few minutes, then gently rub the stain with a sponge and wipe clean with a soft cloth.
Granite and marble countertops can absorb stains a little more than other surfaces, so in this case you should cover the paste with a plastic wrap and leave overnight before rinsing off.
To remove stains from wooden kitchen worktops, you could also try sprinkling salt on the stain and using half a lemon to rub it into the worktop, cleaning afterwards with water and vinegar.
This won’t work for all worktops however, as lemon and vinegar can damage certain materials.
Hard water stains
If you’re not careful, hard water stains and limescale can build up in your kitchen.
The best approach is to reduce the risk of them forming entirely, by drying your surfaces thoroughly after each use, but if you do acquire some hard water stains there are ways to deal with them.
As with tea and coffee stains, you can remove hard water stains with a paste of baking soda and water & white vinegar.
You could also use a bleach spray, or a mixture of water and white vinegar.
If your work surface material is more sensitive to bleaching, like granite, a baking soda and water mix is recommended.
How to clean kitchen worktops with vinegar: Dos & Don'ts
Vinegar is a popular cleaning aide; it’s natural, cheap and much more gentle than traditional cleaning products. It’s a versatile ingredient with fulfils a lot of cleaning purposes, but it can’t be used for everything. Here are the dos and don’ts of cleaning with vinegar.
- Use white vinegar as your cleaner - it’s the most effective at killing bacteria and won’t stain your clothes.
- Use vinegar as an all-purpose cleaner. On the right surfaces, vinegar is an effective bacteria killer that will keep your kitchen working surfaces clean and hygienic.
- Use vinegar daily as a worktop cleaner. Even undiluted vinegar is safe to use everyday on most kitchen worktops.
- Combine ingredients for a long lasting cleaning product. While it’s safe to use undiluted vinegar, it’s likely to stink up your kitchen; a better method is to mix white vinegar with equal parts warm water to dilute it.
- Use vinegar to clean granite or marble worktops. These materials are particularly susceptible to acidic materials, and cleaning them with vinegar can cause damage to the surfaces.
- Try to clean up egg-based mess. Mixed with vinegar, egg will congeal and become even harder to clean up.
- Mix vinegar with bleach - both are effective cleaning fluids, but when combined they produce a toxic gas.