How to Clean Different Types of Countertops, From Quartz to Concrete

Lisa Gauthier Mitchison
Updated September 13, 2021
Kitchen island with granite countertop
Filip Iriana Shiyan –

Countertops with difficult stains can seem impossible to clean, but with the right cleaning products and procedures, you'll have sparkling surfaces in no time

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

You can clean and remove stains on marble, tile, wood, stainless steel, granite, and other kitchen or bathroom countertop surfaces easily and safely. Knowing how to keep surfaces spotless and prevent stains helps countertops look better and last longer, and it keeps your kitchen or bath looking clean overall. This is a DIY project, unless countertops have been damaged, in which case bringing in a pro might be necessary.

Difficulty: 2/5

Time: 5 minutes to 24 hours

Tools and materials needed (dependent on counter type):

  • Soft cloths or sponges

  • Non-abrasive store-bought cleaners

  • Wood cleaner (for butcher block countertops)

  • Stainless-steel cleaner (for stainless countertops)

  • Lemon juice (for stainless steel countertops)

  • Baking soda

  • Vinegar

  • Dish soap

  • Bleach

  • Toothbrush (for grout)

  • Gloves

Granite Countertops

Granite is a popular countertop choice because it’s 100% natural, durable, and comes in hundreds of colors. With the proper maintenance, it will look great for many years.

Here’s how to clean granite countertops:

1. Clean

Wipe and rinse with warm, soapy water. Avoid abrasive cleansers that may cause scratches. Fixing bleach stains on granite can be tricky, so avoid this cleaning method as well.

2. Stain Removal

To remove stains, apply a baking soda paste, cover it with plastic wrap, and then let it sit overnight. Wipe up with warm water and a soft cloth.

3. Seal

Use the water droplet test to determine when to reseal. Leave a few drops of water on your counter. If the droplet stays on the surface after 15 minutes, no resealing is needed. If the drops spread and leave a dark mark on the stone after you blot off the excess, apply a product formulated for stone.

Marble Countertops

Marble counters are unique, heat resistant, and durable. Once sealed, they are stain-resistant, and because marble is a natural stone, it’s resistant to scratching and cracking. However, spills still need to be wiped up quickly, especially if it’s a mislaid juice box or glass of wine, because marble is quite porous.

Here’s how to clean marble countertops: 

1. Clean

Wipe with a damp, soft cloth and then dry with a clean cloth to prevent streaking and water spots from forming. Use pH-neutral dishwashing liquid mixed with warm water for deeper cleans.

2. Stain Removal

To avoid stains, immediately blot acidic liquids such as wine, orange juice, tomato, or soft drinks, as they can permanently etch marble surfaces. Etched marble may require professional buffing.

3. Seal

Use the water droplet test as described for granite to determine if the counter needs to be resealed. If it fails, use a product formulated for marble’s porous surface.

Modern kitchen with laminate countertop
Alphotographic/E+ via Getty Images

Laminate Countertops

Laminate is a common countertop material found in homes because it’s so economical, and it comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. It withstands stains and heat, but it is easily scratched by knives. It isn't repairable, so if you have laminate, always remember to use a cutting board. If your laminate countertops are damaged, just won’t get clean, or could benefit from a weekend renovation, you can DIY remove the countertop and start with a fresh design.

Here’s how to clean laminate countertops: 

1. Clean

Wipe with warm soapy water, a mild bleach solution, or a non-abrasive kitchen cleaner. Remember to test bleach in an inconspicuous spot first, as it may stain or cause surface damage.

2. Stain Removal

To remove stains, let a baking soda paste sit on a surface stain for a few minutes, then wipe it up and rinse with water. To remove grease buildup, use a kitchen cleaner or a 1:1 vinegar and water solution.

3. Seal

No sealing is needed.

Tile Countertops

Tile is versatile, allowing you to create a variety of patterns with different shapes and colors. It creates a whimsical look in a kitchen or bath. However, it can be a challenge to keep clean, especially the grout, which is porous.

Here’s how to clean tile countertops:

1. Clean

Use a non-abrasive multipurpose cleaner, as soap may leave behind a film, and a cotton cloth. Or use a combination of baking soda, liquid dish soap, water, and vinegar.

2. Stain Removal

Tile is stain-resistant, but the grout used in between the tiles is susceptible to mold and staining. Clean stained grout using a toothbrush and mildew-fighting cleaner or bleach diluted with water at a 1:1 ratio. Allow the cleaner or bleach to sit for up to 10 minutes to penetrate tough stains.

3. Seal

Seal unglazed tile and grout and re-caulk with mildew-resistant silicone products at least every other year. Glazed ceramic tile doesn’t require sealing.

Butcher-Block Countertops

Butcher-block countertops are beautiful. They double as a cutting board, and the softer surface makes for a quieter kitchen. However, because it’s wood, it’s susceptible to scratches and stains.

Here’s how to clean butcher-block countertops:

1. Clean

Spray wood cleaner onto a sponge rather than applying it directly to the surface. Avoid using bleach and abrasive cleaners, as they can cause damage.

2. Stain Removal

Use a sponge to apply a mixture of a teaspoon of vinegar per one-fourth cup of water. Sand out small burns, cuts, and scratches.

3. Seal

Rub with tung or mineral oil each month or at least quarterly to keep wood from drying out. Wipe up excess oil that doesn’t soak in to prevent the surface from becoming tacky and attracting dirt.

Kitchen with quartz counterop
Lugostock -

Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops are the most customizable and durable on the market. You have to try pretty hard to damage it. However, it comes with a price tag that reflects its growing popularity. Think of that as a motivator to keep it looking great for as long as possible.

Here’s how to clean quartz countertops:

1. Clean

Use a cloth with mild soap and warm water to clean—and you’re done!

2. Stain removal

Quartz is nonporous as well as scratch and stain-resistant.

3. Seal

No sealing is needed.

Glass Countertops

Crushed glass countertops are works of art. Because of the blend of glass used to make them, each is a unique addition to your home. Besides delicate corners, they are susceptible to staining by foods with high acid content.

Here’s how to clean glass countertops: 

1. Clean

Spray glass or multipurpose cleaners onto a soft cloth or sponge rather than applying directly onto the surface to reduce dirt and grime buildup. Avoid using abrasive cleaners and scratchy cleaning tools.

2. Stain Removal

Glass doesn’t stain, but you can scrub stuck-on grime with dishwashing detergent and hot water.

3. Seal

No sealing is needed.

Stainless Steel Countertops

Stainless steel countertops are sleek and modern. They are durable and nonporous, making them the go-to for the food industry. They can be scratched, though, so non-abrasive cleaners are a must.

Here’s how to clean stainless steel countertops:

1. Clean

Remove smudges with cleansers for stainless steel. Soap and water also works, but spots may appear if you let the water sit for too long.

2. Stain Removal

Stainless steel resists stains, but it’s susceptible to rust marks from metal scouring pads, cast-iron pans, and other rust-prone objects. To remove rust marks, use a mild abrasive cleanser or a homemade lemon juice and baking soda paste.

3. Seal

No sealing is needed.

Modern kitchen with concrete countertop
Peshkova -

Concrete Countertops

Concrete countertops don’t often pop into mind when you are planning a kitchen remodel. But high-end concrete is as durable as granite or slate and is completely customizable. It exudes a contemporary feel in a modern-industrial style. It’s also scratch and heat resistant.

Here’s how to clean concrete countertops:

1. Clean

Wipe counters with a soap-and-water mixture, or use a commercial concrete cleaner or pH-balanced wipes.

2. Stain Removal

Try laundry detergent and stain remover for new stains. For old-stain removal, soak a cotton ball in bleach and press it on the stain for five to 10 minutes. Or make a paste from hydrogen peroxide, a cup of flour, and water. 

Let the mixture soak into the stain for a few hours. Cover the area with plastic wrap if it dries out too quickly. Remove the paste with a wet cloth while scrubbing the stain. If you use these methods, test an inconspicuous area first to make sure the color stays fast.

3. Seal

Concrete is highly porous. Seal it with concrete sealant to prevent stains, scratches, and water absorption.

Cost to Clean Countertops Yourself vs. Hiring a Pro

Now that you know how to clean different types of countertops, you should be set. Most of the time, the right materials and some elbow grease will get your countertops back to a pristine state. But if the countertop has been damaged, you might need to hire a local countertop repair pro

Here is the cost difference for DIY vs. a professional:

  • Materials cost for DIY: $1–$20

  • Cost for a professional counter resurfacing: Average $200–$500

Knowing how to clean different types of countertops is essential to having a sparkling surface without damaging it. You should be able to have your counters looking new in no time using the above methods. 

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.