How To Clean Your Kitchen Counter

Cleaning the kitchen counter need not be a chore of drudgery. Instead, get organized and jump in to do a good job in minutes.

Your kitchen counter space is an important area where, in all likelihood, a fair amount of family work is done. From peeling potatoes to making sandwiches and signing homework slips to opening mail, you may depend on your kitchen counter for work space that accommodates a variety of daily chores.

But like the rest of the house, the countertop occasionally becomes dirty, spotted, or greasy. Despite regular wiping and brush-offs, you will need to perform a detailed cleaning once a month or so. If your counter is made of a washable surface and can be bleached for stain removal, here are a few tips to help you do a thorough job:

1. Clear the countertop of everything that is movable. If the microwave oven sits there and you prefer not to move it, unplug the unit and push it to one side and then the other when cleaning the counter area. This is a good time to empty the toaster of crumbs, wipe out the microwave, empty the dish drainer, and put away superfluous pens, rubber bands, and twist ties that may have collected on the countertop. Put away clean dishes, place dirty ones in the dishwasher, and throw used dish towels in the laundry. Now all you need to focus on is the bare counter space.

2. With a damp cloth, wipe the entire area to make it moist. Then sprinkle a light coating of any brand of baking soda. Make sure it covers the counter evenly, except where stains or spots are located. Place a little extra on those areas, but not so much that it accumulates in small piles. You may want to dribble a few drops of water across the counter to help dampen the baking soda for better absorption.

3. Wait 15 to 30 minutes. Dampen a clean scrub cloth and use small circles to rub the baking soda into the countertop. Let the circles overlap slightly for maximum concentration. Spend several extra seconds on the stained areas, rubbing in continuous circles to ensure the powder gets rubbed in deeply. If the counter is deeply stained, leave the rubbed-in baking soda for another 15 minutes or so to allow complete absorption.

4. Rinse your cleaning cloth and begin wiping the counter with larger circles to remove the baking soda paste created by the first set of circles. Do a thorough job of wiping away all the pasty grit created by the baking soda mix. You can even drip a half glass of water around the counter to dampen the area, which will help to soften the cleaning paste for easier removal.

5. Rinse out your cleaning cloth again and repeat the process. Check with your finger to detect any residual baking soda. When you are sure the entire counter surface is wiped clean and free of soda, use a paper towel or dish towel to dry it. If you find remaining stains, spot-treat them with small amounts of baking soda, wiping it up after thirty minutes or so. Rinse the counter again.

Now you are ready to replace appliances and other items that normally sit on your counter. The baking soda may continue to bleach the countertop area over the next day or so. If you find stubborn stains the following day, shop for spot-resistant cleaner at the supermarket.

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