Kitchen counter tops can be either small or spacious; if they’re small, you’ll have to strategically place your appliances, if they’re spacious, you’ll have to watch out for clutter buildup. Keeping a neat kitchen means you’ll need always to pay mind to the counters.
In terms of material, kitchen counter tops can range from granite to marble, and from limestone to solid-surfaces. The possibilities, colors, textures, and designs are remarkable.
In this brief article, we’re going to talk about how to keep any counter top clean. Then, we’ll drift over to specific counter tops, and how to keep them free of cuts, scrapes, stains, cracks, and chips.
Let’s get started!
Keeping All Counter Tops Clean
Kitchen counters have a habit of collecting items from all around the house. If you were to walk into your kitchen right now, you’d probably see an array of things on your kitchen counters, including but not limited to car keys, pens, cups, cutlery, books, fruit, bread, dish soap, sponges, and so on.
The first step to cleaning your kitchen counters is getting rid of all that junk. Adopt some of our suggestions below, and you won’t have as much clutter.
Buy a Junk Bowl
Look at the amount of clutter you have scattered on your kitchen counters; if it’s not too much, purchase a small bowl, if it’s a little bit more than you’d like, buy a larger bowl.
Once you have the correct size bowl, place it in the corner of the counter out of the way. Instead of throwing all the clutter on the counter (e.g., keys, pens, money), toss it in the bowl. At the end of every week, go through the bowl and put the items in their appropriate places.
Purchase Mason Jars
Mason jars are quickly becoming the new kitchen trend and for a good reason. You can use these nifty yet stylish containers to house foods like sugar, dry pasta, and candy. There are other non-edible items you can store in the jars, too.
Keep in mind, if you are using the mason jars for food storage, you must tightly seal the jar once you’re done using it; this will ensure the food will not go bad.
Use Vertical Storage
Instead of placing your large or oddly shaped cooking utensils in drawers or on counters, purchase a vase of some sort and throw them in there. The vase can set in the corner of the counter top, just like the junk bowl does. Pick out the size vase that will comfortably fit your spatulas and strainers, and you’ll conserve a ton of space.
Specifics: Stone Counter Tops
Now that we’ve covered the basics, we’re ready to go into a little more detail.
Homeowners love stone counter tops, especially considering they’re strong and extremely durable. Even still, the stone counter top is like any other counter top, in that it can be damaged when exposed to certain substances. Because of its porous surface, stone can absorb moisture, dirt, and other particles when it’s vulnerable.
There are three primary types of stone:
Granite is one of the toughest stones used for counter top construction, but it still becomes weak when its pores absorb too much moisture or debris. Marble, on the other hand, is more prone to scratching when exposed to acidic solutions. Quartz is “engineered stone.”
Generally speaking, all three types of stone can be treated the same way for cuts, scrapes, stains, cracks, and chips, with some subtle differences. That’s what we’re going to talk about next.
Cuts and Scrapes
Stone counter tops are most prone to cuts and scrapes caused by knives and other cutlery instruments. Knives can mark up your counter top easily if you have a softer stone top, and if you do not use a cutting board. If cuts and scrapes do appear, you’ll have to get the counter re-sealed or buffed.
We must stress this: Always use a cutting board on your counter top; do not directly cut on the counter. If you were to cut acidic foods like tomato or lemon, you’re risking cutting through the soft marble. If you do cut through the soft marble, and the acidity of the fruit lingers on the counter top, the acidic liquid can soak into the cut, making it much harder for you to fix later.
Hard stones like granite, on the other hand, are less susceptible to cuts and scrapes. However, if you do choose to cut directly on a granite counter top, you may risk dulling your knives.
Cuts and scrapes can originate from hot pots and pans, too. This is common with quartz counter tops, which is why we also recommend purchasing a few trivets to use.
Let’s refresh your memory on acidic foods quickly: Acidic foods can slip into cuts, scrapes, and cracks, making it much harder to fix in the long run. However, acidic foods and heavily-pigmented foods and drinks, like wine, strawberries, and tomatoes, can also stain a stone counter top. This is why it’s essential always to have a cutting board nearby.
If you do spill some acidic juices or heavily-pigmented beverages on the stone counter top, immediately wipe it up. Then, use a soft cloth or sponge with some dish soap to lightly wash over the surface.
Keep in mind, even water can leave a permanent moisture ring on your stone counter top. It’s always a good idea to have a coaster under all drinks, even if it’s water; the condensation from the glass can ultimately seep into the surface of the counter and create a stain.
Cracks and Chips
Cast iron pots are notorious for creating cracks and chips on your counter tops, especially when you accidentally drop them. Often, this is the only way you can get a crack or chip on your counter, so be careful and try not to handle too heavy of a pan.
Towels and Trivets Are Friends
Hot pans and dishes can lead to thermal shock on your counter top, which can ultimately lead to the creation of sporadic cracks; this is common with solid-surface counter tops.
On the other hand, hot pans and dishes can lead to extreme discoloration in quartz surfaces.
To prevent any of this from happening, purchase a few trivets and always have towels readily available. As long as you’re separating the hot plate from the counter top, you should be in the clear.
Stop Standing on it
You’re guilty as charged, just like any other homeowner.
Everyone has stepped on their counter top at least once in their lives, usually to get a dish that’s on the top shelf. If you haven’t done so, you’ve probably at least sat on your counter while chatting with friends or family members.
STOP doing this. Though you may not significantly harm your counter top by doing this, you sure as heck aren’t helping it. The constant pressure of heavyweight may cause cracks in the long run, and you don’t want to be the cause of your stone top cracking.
We’ll leave you with one last bit of advice: Seal your counter tops occasionally (specifically your granite counters). They need some extra tender, love, and care to keep them in tip-top shape. Always clean your counter tops with the manufacturers’ recommendation, too. If you adhere to these guidelines, you shouldn’t have any problems down the road!