No amount of moving advice can prepare you for how much cleaning you will do while planning a move. Countertops are just one of the many things you will need to tend to in your new place. If you have always had laminate and now all of a sudden you have granite in the kitchen and marble in the bathroom, then you may feel a little uncertain about how to best clean them. This guide will touch on how to clean popular countertop materials. This may also give you an idea of what type of material you want to use if you are planning to do a little remodeling.

Granite Counter

Granite is a tough but stunning stone formed from volcanic magma. Although it is durable and resists heat, it does require routine maintenance. Granite does attract stains, and it needs to be sealed periodically.

The counter can be dusted with a microfiber cloth or simply wiped with a wet rag daily. A stone cleaner should be used weekly. Look for one with a neutral pH. If you have tough stains, then make a paste of baking soda and dish soap, and apply it to the stone. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on overnight.

When water no longer beads on the counter it needs to be re-sealed. If there are deep scratches or chips, then contact a stone counter professional to have it repaired correctly.


Marble is becoming quite popular in luxurious bathrooms, and some are using it in kitchens in baking prep areas, islands, and bars. This gorgeous material is heat-tolerant, but very susceptible to stains, scratches, cracks, and pitting, and requires a bit more maintenance than slate.

Use a pH-neutral cleaner for the stone to clean, and make a point to keep acidic foods off of it or it will stain. You may use white vinegar for all your cleaning needs, but this is one counter it should not be used on. Seal regularly to prevent damage and stains.


Slate has the ability to bring a level of depth to a room that other materials simply can’t. It is a fine-grained metamorphic rock created by alterations of mudstone or shale and composed primarily of clay minerals. Since it is less porous than granite and marble it is a bit more resistant to stains.

Slate can be dusted with a microfiber cloth or cleaned with a pH-neutral stone cleaner. Even though it does resist most stains it is still important to seal it regularly. Like granite, you can test it by splashing it on water and watching to see if it beads up.

Stainless Steel

If you are moving into a home with a gourmet kitchen drenched in stainless steel you may feel instantly inspired to try out some new recipes. However, if this material is on your counters, the fingerprints and water spots may drive you a little nutty. That being said, stainless steel is resistant to heat and stains.

A little mild dish soap is all you really need to clean these counters. There are stainless steel cleaners you can use for smudges and fingerprints. If there is minor scratching, slowly and gently address the blemish with a nylon scouring pad. Move with the grain, and be careful not to alter the surrounding area.


Most homes have laminate on the counters. If you are trying to sell your home still, the best moving advice to consider is to make sure your laminate counters are squeaky clean for an open house or consider upgrading with one of the materials listed above.

Laminate stands up well to spills and scratches, but it is easily damaged and nearly impossible to repair. The seams pose the most problems as they make the counter susceptible to water damage. Clean using a bar of mild dish soap, and dry after to prevent water from running into the seams. Stains can be lifted with a baking soda and water paste. Simply let it sit a while, and then rinse away.

Categories: Home Advice, How-To