June 19, 2022
By: Rob Lebeck, Owner
While it doesn’t naturally occur to everyone to sanitize their door knobs or light switches, most people put at least some effort into maintaining a clutter-free and clean kitchen countertop. Kitchens are breeding grounds for bacteria and other germs that come from food waste, in the same way as bathrooms are for germs that come from our waste–and we typically find most countertop surfaces in those two areas of any given household. Here’s how to clean your countertops effectively and safely.
Keeping your countertops clean is remarkably easy on a day-to-day basis, and you don’t need any fancy or expensive commercial products. Fresh spills and pieces of food that have not yet settled into a sticky, grimy mess can be cleaned effortlessly with warm, soapy water and a non-abrasive cloth or sponge. This will kill most bacteria and prevent more from forming.
Cleaning up messes immediately after they occur just seems like common sense. However, overtime–and especially in heavily-utilized kitchens–spots will be missed here and there. As countertops inevitably get dirtier, a thorough disinfection that goes beyond traditional dish soap becomes increasingly necessary to ensure a surface that is as free from bacteria as possible.
The CDC recommends two main disinfectants when it comes to countertop sanitization: diluted bleach and alcohol. Mix ⅓ cup of bleach with one gallon of water for an easy and effective solution. Alternatively, store-bought isopropyl alcohol with at least 70% alcohol content will kill pretty much everything it touches. In both cases, use of a spray bottle to efficiently distribute the cleaning solution can be handy. Allow the diluted bleach or alcohol to remain on the surface for three to five minutes, then rinse with water and wipe down with a dry cloth.
If you’re looking for a more natural approach to disinfecting your countertops, consider using vinegar and / or baking soda. Prepare two separate spray bottles of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Wash your counters with soap as you would normally, spray them with the vinegar, then immediately follow with the hydrogen peroxide. As the peroxide evaporates, the vinegar smell will dissipate, leaving your counters naturally fresh and clean.
Cleaning your kitchen countertops is easy, but remember that some countertop surfaces are sensitive to certain chemicals. Wooden counters, for example, don’t do well with bleach or Lysol. For these, it’s recommended to use white vinegar for cleaning. For tough stains, sprinkle some salt over the affected area and rub with lemon flesh to buff them out. Never use an abrasive cleaning tool such as steel wool or copper to clean countertops, as it will most likely scratch the surface.
Another technique you should consider to prolong the life of your countertops is regularly sealing them. Countertops should be periodically re-sealed to ensure that stains don’t penetrate the pores of the material and become permanent. Depending on how porous your countertop is, you may need to re-seal once a year or once every few months. Re-sealing will also make your countertops easier to clean day-to-day.
Should I Sanitize My Kitchen Every Day?
It is always a good idea to form a habit of wiping down busy surfaces in your kitchen daily. Although it isn’t necessary to deep clean your kitchen every day, we recommend using a sanitizing product as often as possible.
You never know what bacteria/viruses are lingering on your home’s surfaces, so disinfecting them can’t hurt. Sanitizing kitchen surfaces regularly also prevents cross-contamination when you’re cooking, which will keep your food safe to eat.
Granite, Marble and other stone countertops:
Stone is highly sensitive to PH, so you need to use a neutral PH product on any stone surfaces. Avoid ammonia, bleach, etc.
Are There Natural Disinfectants For Kitchen Counters?
For those not wanting to use harsh chemicals in their kitchen, we hear you. Although chemicals kill bacteria the best, you can also use natural alternatives like white vinegar, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide.
Of these three, we recommend using highly-concentrated alcohol to disinfect countertops, although white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide will also get the job done. Regardless, remember to be careful on your countertops if they are stone/porous, and try to dilute your cleaner before using it.
To Wrap It Up
Whether you try to clean your kitchen daily or wait closer to a week, keeping your counters sanitized is essential. From what we found, it’s best to disinfect kitchen counters every two to three days, or at least a few times per week.