When considering everyday maintenance for a new set of countertops, the volume of information available from different (and sometimes conflicting) sources can certainly be overwhelming. The specifics do vary a bit based on the nature of the material used, but as a general rule, be gentle and treat them like anything else you’d want to keep clean. When properly maintained, your countertops will remain beautiful for years to come.
Now, for the details. With most stone countertops, wiping down with soap and water or a pH-neutral light-duty cleaner is sufficient for everyday cleanup. If food or drink is spilled on a countertop, wipe it up right away, particularly on light-colored marble or quartzite. These stones are somewhat prone to staining (especially from oils or greasy foods), and marble can be chemically etched by acidic foods like vinegar, lemon juice or tomato juice, but prompt cleanup prevents the offending mess from having enough time to produce damage or staining.
General-purpose cleaners such as Windex and 409 Cleaner can be used to clean countertops, but they will prematurely degrade the sealer we apply to natural stone if used regularly. A paste of baking soda and water can also be employed on stubborn messes, but avoid scrubbing too hard as baking-soda crystals may scratch or dull softer materials like marble and soapstone.
Some cleaners, such as Barkeeper’s Friend or Soft Scrub, have other chemicals like bleaches in them as well as an abrasive scouring powder (Magic Erasers also fall under this category). These are usually safe on granite and quartzites, but do test your cleaner before use in a corner or other hidden area of your countertop to ensure that it will clean without doing any damage. These cleaners can also be used gently on quartz countertops to remove metal marks or other residues, but avoid applying excessive pressure while scrubbing as the abrasive can leave a dull patch on the surface. Similarly, we do not recommend cleaning with scouring pads or steel wool, as these may also damage the countertops surface and/or abrade away any sealers that have been applied.
Harsh cleaners such as Brasso, oven cleaners, Lime-Away and CLR are not recommended for use on any type of natural or engineered stone. These cleaners contain substances like ammonia, sodium hydroxide or hydrochloric acid that can chemically etch the surface of your countertops, eating away at the stone itself and leaving damage that can only be removed by physically grinding into the surface and re-polishing.