Natural Cleaning Solutions You Can DIY For Sparkling Clean Countertops

Cleaning your countertops regularly is vital for good maintenance and upkeep. Different countertop materials require different cleaning methods, as what works for one material might be too harsh for another. Whether you're searching for a way to keep your stainless steel countertops squeaky clean or don't want to use chemicals on your marble kitchen island, there's a natural cleaning method for all the most popular types of countertops.

Not only can chemical cleaners be harsh on the skin, meaning they're not ideal if you or anyone in your family suffers from allergies, but they can also create poor air quality if used in an area with poor ventilation. Chemical cleaners are additionally notoriously bad for the environment due to the toxins they contain, which go on to pollute the water system and potentially harm animals as well as affect the air quality outside. In contrast, natural cleaners do not carry the same downsides. The all-natural cleaning solutions below are easy to create, don't require any specialist ingredients, and will leave your countertops sparkling. Here is what to use to make your own.

Stainless steel countertops

Cleaning stainless steel countertops may seem daunting, but it is actually way easier than you'd think. In fact, countertops crafted from stainless steel don't need any fancy cleaning supplies. It may be tempting to try regular cleaning products to get them shining, but, actually, products like bleach that contain chlorine could lead to issues like rust and discoloration.

For maintenance and disinfection, stainless steel countertops simply need to be wiped down regularly. You can use soap, or as an alternative, opt for vinegar and water. These two ingredients are ones everyone will have in their house, so you can do the following cleaning step whenever you feel your countertops are looking a little grimy. All you need to do is mix equal parts vinegar and water together and then dispense the solution into a spray bottle. Spray enough to cover the surface without going overboard before wiping it away with a clean cloth. You might want to go in again with another clean, dry cloth to get rid of any lingering residue.

Butcher block countertops

Butcher block countertops are chic and sophisticated, but they accumulate stains fast. As Clorox cleaning expert Mary Gagliardi shared with Martha Stewart, "Because butcher block counters are touted as a work surface you can cut and chop on directly, they will also get dirty in the same way plastic cutting boards do." Cleaning with dish soap and water is all you need to scrub it clean, but if you spot a stain, natural ingredients like salt and lemon will help reverse it. However, before applying the natural acid to the wood, spot-test it first. Lemon is highly acidic and could discolor some lighter butcher block surfaces.

Grab the salt and liberally apply it to the whole of the countertop, putting extra over any obvious marks. Take half a lemon and use it as a sponge to scrub the mark. Leave the lemon juice to work its magic for at least three minutes. Once the time is up, take a clean microfiber cloth, wet it a little, and wipe away the lemon and salt residue. Use another microfiber cloth to then wipe it dry.

Granite countertops

Granite countertops are beautiful but high maintenance. Any mark needs to be dealt with quickly, and you should steer well clear of any highly acidic ingredients like lemon, vinegar, or harsh cleaners. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging the surface. Instead, disinfect the surface by using a 1:1 ratio of water and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. If you do spot a stain, don't panic. To banish it for good, reach for pantry essentials, such as baking soda and water. You'll also need a soft sponge.

Mix baking soda and water in equal parts until a paste has formed. Apply the paste to the mark on your countertop with the sponge. Be careful when doing this, as baking soda can be abrasive if applied too harshly. Use the sponge or cloth to work the paste in, again with a gentle hand. For particularly harsh stains, let the baking soda and water mix sit for a few hours. The above steps can be repeated if the stain is still visible.

Marble countertops

Marble is beautiful to look at but will show scratches easily. You also need to be careful about which materials you use to clean it. That's because marble is highly susceptible to being damaged by acidic ingredients like vinegar. You don't need to spend a fortune on non-acidic cleaning products, though. To wipe it down, all you need is pH-neutral soap and warm water. Just make sure to wipe the counters dry afterward since marble is also prone to water stains. However, if you spot a stain on your marble countertops, especially an oily one, hydrogen peroxide is your new cleaning best friend.

First things first: You need to act fast. Put a clean cloth over the stain or mark to absorb any liquid as soon as you notice it. You don't want to wipe it, or else you can spread the stain to other parts of the marble. Next, grab the hydrogen peroxide and some paper towels. Spritz the towels with the peroxide and lay them gently over the stained areas of your countertop. Cover the paper towels with plastic wrap, making a few holes as you go to encourage air circulation, and then leave them until they are completely dry. Once done, clean your countertops as you usually would with a ph-neutral soap. 

Tile countertops

When it comes to cleaning tile countertops, there are two parts to consider: the tiles themselves, and the grout. Generally, grout should be cleaned once a week to prevent any mold from building up. On the other hand, the tiles should be cleaned just as frequently to keep bacteria buildup at bay. Luckily, both the grout and tile can be cleaned well with natural ingredients. Specifically, you can use vinegar. 

For grout, make a solution of equal parts vinegar and water and put it in a spray bottle to dispense. Spritz this mixture onto your surface and thoroughly work it in with a brush before rinsing the solution away properly. For particularly tough grout areas, you'll need baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to lift any stubborn stains. Mix the two ingredients together until a paste forms, and then repeat the scrubbing step with a brush. 

For the tiles themselves, mix together white vinegar, baking soda, water, and liquid soap to make a DIY cleaning solution that's ideal for wiping down your counters after cooking. You can find soap made from natural ingredients, such as a Castile soap like Dr. Bronner's.

Laminate countertops

Laminate countertops are very easy to clean and don't need any fancy ingredients to get them shining again. All you need to use is water and vinegar to both disinfect and polish the surface. Mix 2 cups of warm water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a spray bottle, mist the surface, and give it a minute or two to soften any gunk and fight any bacteria. Then wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth. 

Laminate countertops are generally low maintenance, but using items like hard sponges or scouring pads to clean them could lead to discoloration and scratches that won't come out. Because of this, if you see a stain, don't start scrubbing frantically. Rather than potentially damaging the laminate, simply grab baking soda to banish any pesky marks. Create a paste using 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of water. When mixed well, apply the paste to the stain and leave it for a few minutes (the exact time depends on how bad the mark is, so it's best to use your judgment). Ensure you do not rub or work the paste into the stain to avoid scratching your countertops. When five or so minutes have passed, dampen a soft microfiber cloth and remove the paste. The stain should be gone, but if not, you may need to repeat the method — just remember to let the paste sit and remove it gently.