How to Care for Solid-Surface Countertops

Preserve the look of your granite, marble or tile countertop with these maintenance tips.

Marble, tile or granite bring a unique feel to any home but require special care to keep them looking great. We asked home-efficiency expert Cynthia Townley Ewer, author of Houseworks, to explain the best methods for cleaning and caring for these special surfaces.

Marble

This stone is soft, porous and relatively weak. Marble will scratch easily, absorb standing stains and must be treated with care. For routine cleaning, dust, then buff with a barely damp cleaning cloth to restore the shine.

When more intense cleaning is required, pour a little clear non-sudsing ammonia onto a cleaning cloth, wipe the marble surface and buff dry. When finished, use a commercial marble polish to restore the shine.

DKCR102_Marble-Kitchen-Island_s3x4

DKCR102_Marble-Kitchen-Island_s3x4

From: Kitchen Crashers

Never use abrasive cleaners on marble surfaces. Avoid acid-based cleaning solutions, such as any product containing white vinegar; acids can dull or etch bright finishes.

While strong and durable, this natural stone product needs special care to maintain its characteristic high-gloss finish.

Granite

Prevention is key with granite countertops. Mop up spills as soon as possible, before they can penetrate the surface. Use coasters under beverages, since acids common in soft drinks and fruit juices can etch and dull granite surfaces.

TS-92272710_Granite-Countertop_s3x4

TS-92272710_Granite-Countertop_s3x4

Modern luxury kitchen interior with granite countertop

Photo by: Elena Elisseeva

Elena Elisseeva

Clean granite with a solution of warm water and a few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent. Use a wrung-out cleaning cloth to clean the surface, then rinse with a cleaning cloth soaked in clear water. Avoid cleaning products containing acid, such as white vinegar, since they can etch or dull the surface.

Ceramic Tile

Tile comes in two types: glazed and unglazed. Smooth glazed tile is tough, but brittle and easily scratched, while the surface of unglazed tile can absorb cleaning products. Finally, grout, used to set tile in place, is porous and traps moisture, mold and mildew.

For regular cleaning of glazed ceramic tile — the shiny tile most commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms — use a nonabrasive spray cleaner. Spray window cleaner leaves a nice finish, but avoid heavily colored commercial sprays, as the bright-colored cleaning solution can discolor porous grout.

TS-75626889_Tile-Countertop-Kitchen_s4x3

TS-75626889_Tile-Countertop-Kitchen_s4x3

Two jars of pasta by gas stove in kitchen

Photo by: ULTRA F

ULTRA F

Heavily soiled glazed ceramic tile requires bigger guns: an abrasive cleanser or scouring powder. For a seriously stained kitchen counter or grimy shower wall, apply a thin paste of cleanser containing a bleaching agent and water, and allow to stand for 15 minutes to several hours before wiping away cleanser haze. Rinse the area well with water, then wipe dry.

Clean unglazed ceramic tile with a natural sponge lightly dampened with a solution of water and non-soap detergent or commercial tile cleaner.

Avoid using acid-based cleaners, such as white vinegar, on tiled areas. Acid attacks the grout, causing it to crumble. Stay away from steel wool, as it will scratch the surface of ceramic tiles.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Tips for Cleaning Leather

Find tips, techniques and recipes for keeping leather in top shape.

10 Pro Tips to Get Cleaning Done Fast

Professional cleaners share their secrets to getting cleaning chores done fast and efficiently.

Tips for Cleaning Leather Upholstery

Leather is a popular choice in furniture, car interiors, clothes and accessories. Along with the cozy leather sofa and great shoes, comes the frustration of keeping them clean.

Tips for Cleaning and Repairing Gutters

Keep rain gutters clean and unclogged to prevent damage to your home's roof and exterior.

5 Quick Cleaning Tips + Tricks for the Summer Season

Get your house and yard summer-ready with these easy cleaning hacks. 

Quick Tips for Cleaning Your Charcoal Grill

Learn how to clean and maintain your charcoal grill so it'll last for years. 

Tips for Cleaning Tile, Wood and Vinyl Floors

Get expert tips, techniques and recipes for cleaning all types of floors, from ceramic tile to hardwood.

Tips on Cleaning and Maintaining a Fireplace

Cleaning and maintaining a fireplace can be a DIY job, but before the chimney is cleaned, key areas must be checked. Use these tips to ensure fireplace and chimney safety.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Discover Made + Remade

See the latest DIY projects, catch up on trends and meet more cool people who love to create.

Make It. Fix It. Learn It. Find It.