If you’re planning your dream kitchen as part of your home extension or kitchen renovation, a new worktop can be a big investment. Looking after a natural wood or stone worktop like granite or quartz also brings with it a greater responsibility with keeping up that showroom finish.
We’ve put together some top tips that will help to keep your worksurface in great condition for years to come.
How to look after a quartz kitchen worktop
Quartz worktops are engineered from crushed stone particles bound with resin. It’s a hardwearing substance, but highly polished - so be on the lookout for anything that may scratch it.
- Quartz worktops generally don’t need to be sealed – their low porosity means sealant can’t be easily absorbed.
- Although Quartz is very stain resistant, staining can still happen if you spill acidic food or materials which etch the surface, especially if they are left to linger. So, keep soft cloths to hand.
- Oils can cause discolouration stains that are hard to remove. For a non-toxic solution, mix baking soda with water to a paste, apply to the stain and cover with cling film. Leave overnight and repeat as needed.
- Don’t place hot pans directly on the surface as this can cause damage.
- Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach as they can stain your worksurface.
- Dust it and wipe up crumbs – crispy bits can scratch highly polished quartz.
- Fingerprints are the bane of any high-gloss kitchen surface. An e-cloth or glass polishing cloth can bring back that high gloss shine and don’t need to be used with any chemicals. Microfiber cloths will leave a streak-free finish.
How to look after a granite kitchen worktop
A hard-wearing granite worksurface can last a lifetime. Here’s how to maintain your granite to help it stay in top condition:
- Granite is not very porous but all stone has some degree of natural porosity, so you will still need to seal it to prevent stains.
- Choose a specialist granite sealer that’s safe for food preparation areas.
- Aim to re-seal once a year, but you may find high-use areas need to be re-sealed more frequently.
- Wipe up spills quickly. Oil, tomato sauces and red wine are prime suspects for stains, and acids like vinegars, fruit juices and even coffee can etch the surface and cause dull patches. To maintain your granite, a quick wipe with a soft cloth and soapy water will clean up day to day spills. It doesn’t have to be a special cleaner – washing up liquid will do the job. Avoid cleaners containing bleach and natural acids like lemon juice as this will cause etching.
- Always use a chopping board. Granite is hard, but on Moh’s scale of hardness, which measures the relative hardness of all rocks, granite is a 7 out of 10 (where 1 is soft talc and 10 is diamond).
- If you spot any etched or stained areas, it’s worth exploring the DIY options to fix the issue. Granite polishing powders are available, and you can also fill any knicks and grooves with an epoxy resin product made specifically for granite.
How to look after a wooden kitchen worktop
Whether it’s a brand-new oak worktop or a reclaimed wood from a school science block, you’ll want to lavish TLC on your surfaces to bring the natural wood to life and prevent wear and tear.
- Oiling wooden worktops can enhance their appearance and acts as a barrier to spills. Choose a food-safe worktop oil – brand names include Osmo and Rustins.
- You’ll need to apply a few coats of oil (check the packaging for recommendations) don’t forget to allow for drying time between applications. The first coat on an untreated surface will be absorbed quickly – so drying time will increase with more applications.
- Water can cause damage and the sink area is a prime candidate for this. You may need to re-oil this area every 6 to 8 weeks as a precaution.
- Avoid scorching the surface – never put hot pans directly on the wood.
- As with most other natural surfaces – avoid using harsh chemicals and abrasive scrubbers. Warm soapy water and a soft cloth is the way to go.
- The beauty of wood is that you can sand down any scratches and imperfections. Just remember to re-oil.
How to look after a marble kitchen worktop
You’ve taken on a labour of love – as marble is highly porous and easily stained. But if you’ve fallen hard and fast for a marble kitchen counters, it’s definitely worth it for the tactile quality and texture that marble can bring to your kitchen. Here’s how to keep it looking beautiful:
- Sealing marble worktops with a food-safe stone sealant every six months to a year to repel oil and water-based stains.
- Marble is a much softer worktop material than granite or quartz and can scratch easily. Chopping boards are a must, as is being cautious not to scrape mugs across the surface or dump your car keys on it.
- Soap and water is always a safe option to clean your marble worktop, washing-up liquid being an effective de-greaser on oil spills. Add a little baking soda to bring your marble up to a shine. However, baking soda should be avoided if you have dark marble.
- Dry your surface after cleaning – water left on marble counter tops can cause a dull appearance.
How to look after Corian kitchen worktops
Corian ® is a brand produced by DuPont, but the name is also commonly used by the kitchen trade to mean any solid, synthetic worktop.
- Corian worktops can suffer heat damage, so avoid putting hot baking trays and saucepans directly on your corian worktop, and be careful with spilling or splashing boiling water.
- If you have a Corian sink and find it stains, spray with a solution of three parts household bleach to one part water and leave overnight before rinsing.
- Use limescale product like Viakal to remove limescale build up or try natural solution like lemon juice or white vinegar. For regular cleaning, warm soapy water is fine, or go for an ammonia-based kitchen cleaner. Most kitchen cleaner sprays contain ammonia, but it’s worth checking the label. Bleach-based cleaner sprays are also safe to use on Corian worksurfaces.
- If you have a high-gloss finish to your Corian, use a soft, close-knit or microfibre cloth to keep it streak-free.
- If scratches occur, you can buff out imperfections with a mildly abrasive cream cleanser, or find repair kits online before resorting to professional repair.
What about concrete, terrazzo, or even retro formica kitchen worktops?
It’s important to exercise caution. You’ll see from the advice above that gentle soap and water is usually the best cleaner for your kitchen worktops, and that avoiding damage through habits like using a trivet for your pans can extend the life of your worktops. That’s just good practice for all kitchen care.
When you invest in your worktops, remember to do some research into how to look after them, and ask:
- Do I need to seal my worktops?
- Is it porous – will stains sink in?
- Is it a hard or soft surface?
- Is it resistant to acids, or strong alkalines like bleach and ammonia?
- Can heat damage it?
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