Is a stronger cleaner always the best way to remove a stubborn stain?

Not when it comes to your kitchen countertops.

Today’s countertops come in as many substances, designs, and finishes as the imagination can create. But too many people think a strong and abrasive cleaner is going to get the job done faster and better no matter what kind of countertop they have, when the opposite is true. Those harsh chemicals may actually be too abrasive for the surface.

Fahy Kitchens & Baths has heard the horror stories from customers who thought they were doing a good deed in cleaning their countertops, but only to ruin them by using a cleaning agent that might be too caustic for the finish.

Countertops need varying amounts of maintenance depending on whether they are laminate, stainless steel, acrylic, granite, or any other material, so it’s always a good idea to ask about the cleaning process when you order them. If the countertop is an existing one and you aren’t really sure what kind of cleaner is appropriate, here are a few pointers for keeping it shiny and spot-free.

Abrasive cleansers or steel wool should never be used on plastic laminate countertops. Instead, use a scrubbing pad that has fiber on one side and a sponge on the other. Wet it slightly with water, and use the fiber side to loosen any greasy buildups or food spills. Always wipe up spills immediately to prevent staining, because once they set in the stain will be nearly impossible to remove.

Quartz countertops are also vulnerable to harsh cleansers, so always use a mild soap on a nonabrasive cleaning sponge or pad to remove stains. Avoid using excessive pressure, as it is likely to damage the surface. If a stain sets in, soak the area for a short time and then use a soft cloth to lift and remove the loosened particles of the stain.

On granite, use only warm water with a bit of soap applied with a wet sponge or soft cloth. Any cleaning agent that is acidic or vinegar-based might damage the surface.

Washing the surface with warm water and a small amount of baking soda can clean stainless steel. Water spots can be avoided by thoroughly drying the countertop afterwards.

Acrylic countertops are more resilient to cleaning, so you can use a mild abrasive cleanser on a wet countertop to remove stains. Rinse well, and then buff it dry with a soft cloth. Scouring powder or steel wool will also remove stains and scratches.

On concrete, use a mixture of vinegar and water, and avoid abrasive cleaning solutions with harsh chemicals. Use a soft cloth, as abrasive pads and sponges can damage the surface.

When in doubt, give us a call. We’ll let you know what cleaners are safe and recommended to keep your own countertops shining and free of dirt and grime. Your entire kitchen will look brighter, and you’ll keep from becoming one of those horror stories yourself.

Fahy Kitchens & Baths is located at 1908 Oriskany Street West in Utica, N.Y. Walk-ins are Welcome, but appointments are appreciated. For more information, give us a call at 735-8181.