Whenever you have a get-together with friends and family, it seems as if everyone tends to gravitate toward one particular room – the Kitchen. And the most widely used areas of the room – the kitchen countertops.
If you’re considering a remodel and thinking about kitchen design ideas, you want surfaces that complement the cabinetry and appliances you’ll be adding to your new kitchen. The countertops should blend and reflect the décor of your kitchen.
It’s also important to consider the daily cleaning and long-term maintenance of the material you choose for this room. It is probably the most used room in the house, so you want to choose kitchen countertops that not only meet your expectations but are also easy and inexpensive to maintain. You shouldn’t have to spend more time cleaning the countertops than you do any other part of your daily kitchen cleaning chores.
The most durable and easiest to clean materials include porcelain, marble, granite, limestone, and travertine. Each with their own aspects of elegance and longevity. Any of these materials will fit perfectly in any kitchen décor.
Porcelain Slab Countertops
In older homes that have yet to be updated, you may often see porcelain bathtubs, toilets, and sinks. You don’t often find porcelain used for countertops in the kitchen, although it is a good choice if you don’t care for any of the natural stone options.
Made from China clay and other mineral oxides, porcelain is a very strong and durable material. It’s resistant to stains, scratches and even hot pots and pans coming right off the stove or out of the oven if you forget to set out your trivet or a pot holder.
Cleaning Porcelain Slab Countertops
A porcelain slab countertop is one of the easiest surfaces to keep clean. For regular cleaning of spills, just wipe the surface with hot water. For a deep shine and to remove any oils or tougher messes, you can scrub with a cleaner that is made specifically for countertops.
Marble is one of the natural stones that is said to be the most luxurious; it is also the most expensive and with a high maintenance price tag. Although marble is durable enough for high-use areas like your kitchen, it’s not for everyone as hard toys and other substances may chip and stain the surface.
It’s not just black; granite comes in at least 40 various colors and designs to fit any kitchen design and décor. The price tags are also lowering as granite gains more popularity. Like marble countertops, though, it is also one of the more high ticket options with heavy repair costs.
Easy Cleaning of Marble and Granite Countertops
Both marble and granite are extremely resistant to bacteria, making either one of them a top choice for kitchens countertops in particular. Although they are made from highly durable stone, there are still some porous materials which are vulnerable to staining. To protect against stains, you will need to seal it once or twice a year as part of its regular maintenance.
Provided your stone countertop is sealed, cleaning is as easy as soap and warm water or a 50/50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water. You can also use a 50:50 solution of water and isopropyl alcohol. You simply wipe with the solution and rinse with warm water.
Never use Windex or glass cleaner, vinegar, or bleach on these stone surfaces or you may dull the surface and. These are acidic substances and if used frequently, will eventually dull the surface and lessen the effectiveness of the sealant. Stone can also be scratched, so avoid using abrasive cleaners or “SOS” pads.
Limestone has a natural beauty and often serves well as countertop surfaces. However, the maintenance and upkeep of limestone make it better suited to those with the diligence to ensure the countertops are protected against damage.
Unlike other natural stones, limestone can scratch if pots, pans, utensils, and dishes are placed on the surface without the protection of trivets, placemats or hot pads. If you love using cast iron trivets, you must make sure you don’t scratch the countertops when placing them or moving them around.
Limestone is also more porous than other natural stone surfaces. Since the stone is naturally a lighter color, it can easily stain as well.
Cleaning Limestone Countertops
It’s best to use a mild detergent, warm water, and a soft rag or microfiber cloth for regular cleanups or spills. Since limestone will scratch easily, never use any cleaners or scrubbing materials that are abrasive.
If you spill anything other than water on the countertop, you must wipe it up immediately or it will stain. Hot pots or pans may even scorch the surface if you don’t use a hot pad or oven mitt to protect it. You can remove the stain with a compound made of one cup of flour and two to three tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and apply with a soft cloth.
Like limestone, travertine is a natural stone that makes beautiful kitchen countertops but it is also a bit on the delicate side. Regular cleaning and maintenance will keep your travertine countertops looking new and elegant.
When first installed, travertine must be sealed against spills. It is a very porous stone and should anything spill, the stone will simply absorb it, leading to stains if the stone hasn’t been correctly sealed. Maintenance requires sealing the countertops at least once per year.
As with most countertops, if you spill something, wipe it up immediately. However, travertine is naturally pitted and porous, so you may want to actually go over the surface with a vacuum to remove any particles from the pits and craters before cleaning it.
As with limestone, always protect the surface from scratches by using trivets, hot pads or placemats and clean with mild soap, warm water, and a soft cloth.