Tips for Cleaning and Sanitizing Your Home's Countertops

Tips for Cleaning and Sanitizing Your Home's Countertops

COVID-19 has asked us to take a step back and consider how we’re practicing proper sanitation practices throughout our lives and in the spaces we inhabit. Especially in our homes, there are many places such as buttons, doorknobs and keyboards that we may forget about cleaning.

Let’s focus on the countertops. These busy surfaces get quite dirty without proper attention. The countertops are especially important because we must consider how the chemicals that we use in cleaning can harm the food that we’re eating.

Learn how to clean and sanitize the countertops in your kitchen and bathroom. Whether you have quartz, laminate, granite, wood or marble counters, we break it down in this article.

Before You Clean

You need to first determine what type of countertops are in your kitchen. Why? Different materials require different care.

Second, you must determine if you want to clean the surface or sanitize it. Basic cleaning simply removes crumbs, food and stains from a surface. Adequately sanitizing your countertops protects your family and friends. When you sanitize, you actively remove any sort of pathogens to a safe level.

sanitize counters
Find out what type of counter you have and understand what products are safe to use. This Pewaukee Lake kitchen has quartz counters.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Countertop materials require different cleaners
  • Know the difference between cleaning and sanitizing a surface. A disinfectant removes more pathogens than a basic cleaner.
  • Many cleaners have toxic chemicals unsafe for children or pets
  • Some countertops damage easily with abrasive cleaners and harsh scourers
  • Always air out a space while cleaning with chemicals

What Cleaning Products to Use on Your Counters

Mild dish soap and a microfiber cloth will often do the trick, but harsh cleaning wipes that contain bleach are going to wear down surfaces such as quartz, dulling the shine of the material.

A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is an excellent choice as it’s gentle but very effective on white solid surface countertops. However, suppose you have a more sensitive countertop material such as marble or granite. In that case, a microfiber cloth will be a better choice, as it’ll be less abrasive and won’t dull the material.

sanitize countertops
Disinfect your bathroom’s quartz countertops to eliminate unwanted bacteria and viruses.

As with any cleaning process, the CDC recommends you always have skin protection (gloves) and potentially eye protection to make sure that you aren’t getting any chemicals you’re using on your skin during the cleaning process. Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth until you’ve washed your hands properly. Make sure that any chemicals are out of sight and reach of children and pets.

 

Clean & Sanitize Quartz Countertops

If you have quartz countertops, you’re in luck! Cleaning quartz countertops isn’t a hassle. Because these popular countertops are specially engineered, you can easily clean them with soap and water without having to worry about stripping the seal or cracking or chipping the material. It is that easy! To disinfect your counters, most quartz counters can be cleaned with Clorox wipes and Lysol spray, but be sure to check with your manufacturer.

sanitize counters
This Elm Grove kitchen has been sanitized and cleaned properly.

Specific Cleaning Instructions from Quartz Vendors:

If you are looking for a list of approved cleaning products for your quartz counters, head to the manufacturer’s website.

 

Clean & Sanitize Laminate Counters

Laminate is a popular material because it’s quite affordable and also sturdy. Laminate countertops are best preserved when washed daily. Choose mild cleaning materials. Use dishwashing soap and a microfiber cloth to wipe down the countertops daily, making sure to rinse the fabric between each wipe.

sanitize counters
This Elm Grove homeowner washes her bathroom laminate counters daily with soap and water.

 

Clean & Disinfect Granite Countertops

How do you disinfect granite countertops safely? Clean granite countertops with soapy water or a 50/50 mixture of alcohol and water. For granite, always be sure to avoid Windex or bleach. You don’t want to damage or weaken the sealant on the granite, so you’ll want to avoid harsh cleaning pads.

sanitize countertops
Use alcohol and water to disinfect granite counters.

 

Clean & Disinfect Wood Countertops

For regular cleaning of wood countertops, use the rough side of a sponge with dish soap. Wash your countertop once a week with Gentle Wood Wash from CafeCountertops (available on Amazon). This ph-neutral soap cleans without harming the finish.

You can use spray disinfectants such as Lysol and Microban in moderation. Lightly spray the surface, wait 30 seconds, rinse the surface thoroughly with a damp cloth, and then dry with a towel. Wait a minimum of one week between treatments.

sanitize countertops
Cleaning the wood counters in this Elm Grove home requires special care.

 

How to Clean & Disinfect Marble Countertops

Marble isn’t too difficult to clean, but you will want to stay away from rough sponges and harsh chemicals. To disinfect a marble countertop, use warm water and gentle dish soap with a towel. Deeper stains will disappear with a simple mixture of water and baking soda on the stained area. Avoid natural cleaners like vinegar and lemon juice, as these are more acidic and can rub away at the material.

Be Diligent

As long as you pay attention to the type of countertop that you’re working with, cleaning them to make sure they’re free of grime and bacteria shouldn’t be too difficult of a task. Knowing how to sanitize countertops keeps you and your family safe.

If you have any additional questions about how to best clean and sanitize your counters, call Kowalske. Our friendly staff will happily answer any of your questions.

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Author
Mandy Lee is a contributor to Innovative Construction Materials. She is a blogger and content writer for the building materials industry. Mandy is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that increase property value, maximize energy savings, and turn houses into homes.

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