Countertops are available in many different stones and materials to flawlessly match our kitchens. Once all is said and done and the counters are installed, we try to keep them clean and blemish-free. While it's a nice sentiment, our daily habits cause inadvertent damage all the time. These are the top reasons your counters aren't as pristine as they used to be and what you can do to protect the surfaces in the future.

How You're Damaging Your Countertops

1. Leaving Behind Car Keys

isolated keys on a counter

Car keys might seem like a harmless item at first glance, but they're loaded with sharp keys and keychains that no doubt contribute scratches. It makes matters worse when you toss them onto the counter after a long day. What you should opt for instead is placing them in a bowl or on a hook.

2. Not Using A Cutting Board

Whether you're chopping vegetables or taking something out of the oven, our countertops need to be protected. Placing a hot dish on top of your counters causes the finish to crack or even start peeling. Make sure you lay a cutting board down before placing hot dishes down. You can also place them somewhere else.

Much like car keys, not cutting over a cutting board spells trouble. We went over what happens when you cut on a glass cutting board, so imagine what happens if you cut food on marble or granite. Never chop things without a cutting board.

3. Returning To The Same Spot

a young woman cutting veggies on a cutting board

We have a favorite spot on the couch or a preferred side of the bed, but you should switch things up in the kitchen. Revisiting the same old place on your counters will lead to guaranteed wearing down, cracks, or dulled surfaces. Aim to use various spots on your counters to even the wear; you can also place dishes or cut food on the table to avoid further damage.

4. Not Tending To Spills

Similar to hardwood floors, leaving spills atop your counters spells trouble. The problem only escalates depending on the finish of your counters. Regardless, spills will cause discoloration, dulling, and stains that are virtually impossible to remove. Tend to spills as soon as they happen to avoid any of these symptoms.

Additionally, you should avoid placing groceries on your countertops as food can spill and leave their mark on your surfaces. Frozen food can also leave behind water once ice on the box has begun to melt.

5. Hot Appliances

a coffee machine on a kitchen counter

Sticking your microwave or coffee machine on top of your counters sounds like a good idea. After all, where else are you supposed to put them? You can leave them on the counter, you'll just need a buffer between the two. That is, of course, unless you want those coffee machines or slow cookers to burn your counters. Stick a cutting board between them to side-step any issues.

What's Okay For Cleaning Countertops?

Believe it or not, excessive cleaning can cause just as much damage to your countertops as the mistakes listed above. Using the wrong cleaning supplies also doesn't bode well for your kitchen. Knowing how many surface options are available only makes it harder to keep up with what supplies should be used, but we've narrowed it down.

woman cleaning her counter with window cleaner and rag
  • Granite: Don't use any citrus or natural products when cleaning. Mild dish soap or a baking soda poultice are the solutions you need.
  • Quartz: Wax cleaners and bleach should be avoided when cleaning. Opt for window cleaners or dishwashing detergents.
  • Marble: Keep away from acidic solutions or natural methods using acidity (like vinegar and lemon). Instead, use gentle dish soap or marble cleaners.

How Often Should I Clean My Countertops?

Your countertops should be given a good once-over at least once a day. Keep in mind all the things your surfaces come into contact with from food, dirty hands, dirty keys, and groceries. Wipe them down once a day to get rid of any bacteria and spills.

Final Notes

stacked samples of countertop materials

Our countertops can set us back quite a few bucks depending on the material we've chosen. It's because of that that we should aim to keep them clean as long as possible. Between car keys, hot appliances, and not protecting the material from sharp objects, countertops can suffer. Avoiding these easy mistakes and taking the time to thoroughly clean will ensure your counters remain fresh. Different surfaces will require varying cleaning methods, but you should always give those counters a good scrub to rid of any bacteria.

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