Bright countertops give kitchens and bathrooms a crisp, clean look. Keeping stains away extends the life of most countertops by many years. Explore your options for effective, safe and inexpensive ways to brighten your counters, depending on what they are made of.
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Laminate and Tile Countertops
Clean your laminate or tile countertops first using an all-purpose cleaner, such as equal parts vinegar and water and a soft cloth. Dry it completely. Using a paper towel, pour on some club soda and wipe down your counters. Your countertops will almost magically shine and brighten just like new, as all dullness is removed. On laminate counters, use furniture polish if you don't have club soda handy, which works just as well.
Since cultured countertops are made from man-made resin, they can be easily scratched. Keep your counters bright and beautiful by using only an all-purpose liquid cleaner and a soft cloth to clean. Wipe up spills immediately to avoid staining. If the shine is completely gone restore your cultured countertop with car or paste wax. Doing so brings out the natural beauty of onyx, marble or granite countertops, helping to retain it for years.
Solid-surface countertops like Corian look like natural stone but are synthetic and come in a variety of colors and finishes. Use soapy water and make sure you dry these counters thoroughly. Since solid-surface countertops may come with a warranty, use only manufacturer approved products to keep them bright.
Make a spray solution to brighten granite countertops with one part isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to three parts water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Wipe with a sponge. Remove streaks from granite counters by spraying with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Wipe with newspaper and buff until the counter is dry. Remove stains such as wine, grape juice, coffee and tea from granite counters with a solution of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water. Wipe and buff with newspaper until dry.
Brightening quartz countertops is easy--these countertops are stain and corrosion resistant, nonporous and virtually scratch-free. Use warm, soapy water to clean or a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. If you use soapy water, rinse your counters well with plain water to remove all soap residue.
Do not use abrasive cleaners or abrasive pads on any of your countertops. These cleaners remove the finish and leave your counters dull and scratched.
Never use acidic cleaners on your cultured countertops, such as vinegar and lemon juice.
Stay away from ammonia-based cleaners on granite countertops--they are damaging.
Wipe up spills immediately on granite countertops to prevent stains.
If you use a commercial granite countertop polish or cleaner, make sure it's for the type of granite you have to prevent damage.
Do not set hot pots and pans on your quartz countertops to avoid damage--use trivets (small metal stands).