What Is The Effect Of Oven Cleaners On Kitchen Countertops
What is the effect of oven cleaners on kitchen countertops? The short answer — they will damage your kitchen countertop. The effects of an oven cleaner might not be immediate, but you will see the damages with time.
There are some chemicals in oven cleaners that are quite harmful to kitchen countertops. Apart from these chemicals damaging your kitchen countertop, they can also cause harm to your body.
When cooking, it is on this countertop you’ll cut or place foods, so they are likely to come in contact with it, and they can lead to several severe health complications. If oven cleaners ever pour on the countertop mistakenly, clean it off immediately.
One of the main chemicals you will find is sodium hydroxide. If your kitchen countertop has been sealed or painted, it will cause substantial damage to it. Moreover, if your kitchen countertop has aluminum, this chemical will discolor it permanently.
Another chemical is alcohol. This particular chemical will make synthetic, and vinyl materials lose their color. Alcohol is a powerful solvent, and the worst part is that it acts very fast. If you have started noticing discoloration on your kitchen countertop, make sure you ascertain that the cleaner you are using doesn’t have alcohol as an ingredient.
Other chemicals that will harm your kitchen countertop are degreasers, sodium hydroxide, turpentine, alcohol, and foaming agents.
Effects of oven cleaners on kitchen countertops
What your kitchen countertop is made of will determine how the chemicals in oven cleaners will react to it. The structure and quality also matter. Here are some of the types of kitchen countertops and how they react to oven cleaners:
- Wooden countertops
This is the most vulnerable material of all kitchen countertops. The varnish coating of wooden countertops is why substantial damage is done to it by oven cleaners. The top layer of the varnish coating will soften up and start to dissolve, and when this happens, it makes the wood gummy and sticky, thereby, making it exposed to water which will damage within a short time. The burnish will also fade and will make the countertop look unsightly.
- Tile countertops
Cleaning tile countertops with an oven cleaner may not damage it as fast as it does on wood. Nevertheless, the long exposures of the tiles to the oven cleaner toxins will still damage it. These toxins will make the top glaze of the tiles start fading, and when this happens, it will take away the stylishness of your kitchen countertop.
- Stone countertops
Kitchen countertops made with granite or marble are more resistant to the damage done by oven cleaners. The corrosive effect of oven cleaners doesn’t cause a lot of damage. Nevertheless, as time goes by with the frequent use of the oven cleaner, the finish and shine of the countertop will fade away, and this will ruin the look of your countertop.
- Stainless steel countertops
Stainless steel is viewed as indestructible, yet oven cleaners can still damage it. The harsh chemicals of oven cleaners will leave permanent stains on the countertop. Also, considering the fact that there is some proportion of aluminum in the stainless steel of today, and sodium hydroxide, which is present in oven cleaners, is a strong chemical that affects aluminum. So, oven cleaners can discolor stainless steel countertops.
- Formica countertops
Just like stone and stainless countertops, the chance of Formica countertops getting damaged by using oven cleaners is low; that is if you wash and rinse the oven cleaner after using it. Like the other countertops that are slightly resistant to oven cleaners, Formica kitchen countertop will also start fading after some time.
How to clean stone kitchen countertops
Kitchen countertops that are made from stones have a pleasant appearance but with a delicate side. Stone kitchen countertops react to acidic solutions, which leaves etches on it. Even though some people consider it part of the character of countertops, it makes countertops look dull, and you wouldn’t want that if your aim is to have a stylish kitchen.
When cleaning your stone kitchen countertop, make sure you avoid any cleansing product containing acid. You can get non-abrasive stone cleaners that are made specifically for the type of stone you are trying to clean, but still, make sure you check the label.
Instructions (general cleaning)
Things you will need –
Squirt the non-abrasive cleaner in the spray bottle then mix with warm water. Spray it all around the countertop, then scrub it gently. When you are done scrubbing, wipe off the soapy solution with a wet cloth. Make sure the cloth is clean and make sure there isn’t any soapy residue remaining on the countertop.
After cleaning the soap off, use the soft absorbent towel to rub the countertop until it is dry.
Instructions (removing stain)
- removing oil-based stain
Oil-based stains are caused by cooking oil, grease, milk, and so on. These stains will darken the stone, and to remove them, you will have to do it chemically. You can clean oil-based stains with soft liquid cleanser and bleach. If you don’t have these, then clean it with either ammonia, acetone, or mineral spirits.
- removing organic stains
Organic stains are caused by wine, coffee, tea, tobacco, fruit, and so on. Food stains can also be considered organic stains (their appearance is generally pinkish-brown). Remove the stains with 12 percent hydrogen peroxide solution and ammonia, but make sure the ammonia is just a few drops. Use a clean cloth to wash the stain off. Then use a wet cloth to rinse it. Dry the countertop with chamois.
- removing biological stains
To remove mildew stains, you will need a household bleach, dishwashing detergent, and water. Pour a little bit of the three into a spray bottle and mix together. Now, mist the surface of your kitchen stone countertop thoroughly. Repeat the misting until the stain disappears, then use clean water to rinse it and a clean cloth to dry it.
How to clean stainless steel kitchen countertops
Stainless steel kitchen countertops are much easier to maintain than other countertops. Moreover, just wiping it with warm water is enough, but to make it lustrous, you will have to do a little more than that.
However, do not use chlorine-based chemicals in cleaning stainless steel countertops. The surface of your countertop can be damaged by these chemicals.
Things you will need –
Dishtowel or microfiber cloth
Soft bristle brush
Olive or mineral oil
Start by cleaning the countertop with a dishcloth and warm water. Add a little dish soap, then wipe the countertop surface clean.
Sprinkle some of the baking soda on the countertop. Now, pick up the brush and pour a little bit of vinegar on it. Scrub the countertop with the brush in the direction of the grain. When you are done, thoroughly rinse the countertop with a clean but damp dishcloth.
Use the dish towel or microfiber cloth to dry the countertop. To prevent streaking, use the towel or cloth in the direction of the grain.
To make your countertop shine, apply a little amount of the olive or mineral oil, whichever one you want. You will pour this oil on a paper towel or clean cloth. Wipe the cloth on the countertop in the direction of the grain. If there is excess oil, buff it away with the dry side of the cloth. Buffing away the excess oil will prevent fingerprints from sticking to the countertop.
How to clean wooden kitchen countertops
Wooden countertops look very attractive, and it will give your kitchen a rustic look, that is, if you take care of it. Occasionally, you should re-sand a wooden countertop so that it can retain its clean and fresh look.
Wood kitchen countertops require more cleaning and maintenance than other countertop types. When liquid spills on it, make sure you clean it off immediately so that it won’t damage it.
If you place meats on the countertop, make sure you have a spray bottle with diluted bleach or water solution. This would be used on the countertop to sanitize it after its exposure to raw meat. Just spray it on the surface and use a sponge to wipe it away.
Instructions (General cleaning)
Things you will need –
Pour a bit of mild dish soap on a sponge, then wet the countertop with some hot water. Scrub the countertop with the sponge. When you are done, rinse the countertop with hot water. Make sure there isn’t any soapy residue left.
Pour the white vinegar in the spray bottle then spray it on the countertop. After spraying, leave it for a couple of minutes before using a clean sponge or towel with hot water to rinse it off. Make sure the vinegar doesn’t stay for too long on the surface of the countertop. The acidic properties of the vinegar will make the glue of the wood deteriorate if you leave it for a long time.
If there is food residue on the countertop, make sure you clean it. If scrubbing it with the sponge doesn’t remove the residue, consider using a metal pastry scraper or a spatula to remove it. Make sure these tools are used gently on the countertop, or else you might scrape the wood, and this will leave permanent marks on it.
Instructions (Removing stains)
Things you will need –
Fresh lemon or lemon juice
A clean thin piece of cloth
A clean cloth
A piece of 120-grit sandpaper
A piece of 180-grit sandpaper
Food-safe mineral oil or walnut oil
Cut the lemon in half, then use the inner side where the juice is to rub the stain. The acidic nature of the juice will help in removing the stains. If you don’t have fresh lemons, pour some lemon juice on the stain and use a sponge to scrub it. For extra abrasion when scrubbing, you can add a dash of salt.
Place a piece of cloth on the stain then iron it. If there is water in the iron, make sure you empty it. Also, put it on the lowest setting you possibly can. Place the cloth over the stain, then iron the area where the stain is. Leave it there for a few moments. Make sure you don’t leave it for too long or else burn marks will be left on the surface of your countertop.
Pick up the 120-grit sandpaper. Use it to sand the countertop as gently as you can. When sanding, make sure you are doing it with the grain and not against it because it will ruin the look of your countertop. After doing a once-over scrub, now pick up the 180-grit sandpaper and use it to sand your wood countertop, keeping in mind to sand with the grain and not against it. Using both sandpapers will help in removing any tough stain that remains on the surface of your wood countertop.
When you are done sanding, apply some mineral or walnut oil on the countertop with a clean cloth. Leave the oil on the wood for about 30 minutes so it can soak into it. If there is excess oil residue, wipe it away with a paper towel. Culinary oils can oxidize, and over time become rancid, so avoid using such.
See How To Match Kitchen Cabinets And Countertops
How to clean Formica kitchen countertops
Formica kitchen countertops are reasonably priced and much more affordable than other types of countertops. Moreover, they come in a variety of finishes which add to the style of your kitchen.
However, there are some things to note if you want your Formica countertop to still look nice over time. Do not use abrasive cleaners or sponge in cleaning it because they can leave unsightly marks on it. If the stains are tough, then use baking soda with water to clean it.
Also, don’t use cleaners that have sodium hypochlorite, alkali, or acid. These chemicals will corrode or discolor the surface of your Formica countertop.
Instructions (General cleaning)
Things you will need –
Paper towel or cotton cloth
Apply mild dish soap to the countertop. You can either apply it directly on the countertop’s surface or mix the soap with water, then dip a sponge into it before rubbing it on the countertop.
Mix the white vinegar with water. Make sure the mixture is 50/50. Apply the mixture on the surface of your countertop.
If it’s a high gloss finish your countertop has, you will have to use a glass cleaner to clean off smears or streaks that are still present after the normal cleaning. To clean the smears and streaky areas, spray the glass cleaner on them, then use a paper towel or cotton cloth to wipe the countertop.
Instructions (removing tough stains)
Things you will need –
Mix some baking soda with water. After the mixture, apply it to the areas with tough stains.
Leave the mixture on the stain for about five minutes. If the stain is really tough, then leave the mixture overnight.
Use the damp cloth to blot the stain. Baking soda can be corrosive, so don’t scrub it on the countertop surface. Blotting the stain will prevent rubbing and scratching.
Rinse the mixture off the countertop, then use a clean towel to dry the surface of your Formica countertop.
How to clean tile kitchen countertops
Most tile countertops are glazed ceramic, so they are usually easy to clean. However, if your tiles have grout and the sealant protecting it has worn off, cleaning your countertop might be tough. Once the sealant has worn off, dirt and mildew will fill up the grout. Before resealing the grout, you will need to deep clean it.
What you will need –
Put on the gloves to protect your skin from the bleach. Mix 1/4 cup bleach with 2 cups of water, then pour it in a spray bottle. Spray it on the countertop and make sure it covers the grout lines. Leave the bleach on the countertop surface for about 5-10 minutes so it will seep into the grout.
Scrub the grout lines with a scrub pad so that the built-up grime will come off. If the grime sticks on the scrub pad, rinse it from time to time and continue scrubbing.
Make the sponge moist, then use it to clean the bleach and grime that have come off.
You will clean the sponge until the grime and bleach are off it or get another sponge. Add a few drops of the dish soap on the sponge, and use it to scrub the whole surface of the countertop. Rinse the sponge thoroughly, then wipe off the soapy water on the countertop.
Use a clean dish towel to dry your tile countertop. If you are going to be resealing the grout, you can go ahead and do it.
What does oven cleaner do to kitchen countertops
Oven cleaners can discolor your countertop or make it etch. Some brands of oven cleaners have more acidic concentration than others. Even if you use the ones with a less acidic concentration, they will still have a negative effect on your countertop, but not immediately.
A lot of people still use oven cleaners in cleaning countertops because they haven’t yet seen its negative effects on the countertop, so they feel they are safe. However, as time goes on, probably months after using it, you will start seeing signs of discoloration and etches, and when this starts happening, it will make your countertop lose its beauty.
If you are using it on a tile countertop, the grout sealer will be destroyed, and on the wood countertop, the polish will wear off. Once it does, the countertop will be uncomfortable to use, and it will deteriorate fast.
What is Etching?
Etches occur in stone countertops. Even though stone countertops are known to withstand heat from hot pots and pans, while still maintaining the elegant and timeless look it is known for, etching is one of its weaknesses.
Stone countertops are made up of calcium carbonate, so when the acidic ingredients of oven cleaners interact with it, it will start etching. However, it isn’t only oven cleaners that causes etches — fruits, vinegar, salad dressing, coffee, juice, wine, sauce and tomato juice, cola products, bleach, and ammonia are some of the other things that can etch your countertop. Apart from making your countertop etch, most will leave spots on your countertop.
If the etching is severe, and it is giving your kitchen a terrible appearance, you can hire a professional to help you re-polish the countertop. Once it’s done, your countertop will have its shine and shimmer back.
If the etching isn’t too obvious, you can live with it if you want to. When next you visit an upscale bar, if you look closely, you will notice some etchings on their countertop. Some believe that it adds a bit of character to countertops. If you choose to see it as such, then you can leave the etches. However, make sure you take some precautions after using the countertop. Always wipe the surface with a damp cloth whenever liquid pours on it, and don’t use oven cleaners on it.
For those who find etches unsightly no matter how small it is, a store-bought countertop polish can be used to revive its beauty. These polishes are easy to use and effective. Once you get yours, use a soft cloth to apply it on your countertop. Depending on how unsightly the etching is, you might have to apply the polish several times before it works.
Ammonia and bleach are chemicals that are present in oven cleaners. These chemicals will destroy the shimmer and shine of the countertop by discoloring it. The worst of all is sodium hydroxide. Oven cleaners are meant to be used in ovens, so sodium hydroxide is great for removing stubborn grimes in the oven. However, on countertops, it isn’t safe to use it.
If there aren’t many patches of discoloration on your countertop, you can use a stain marker. However, this is only suitable for wood countertops. You might have to test different colors before finding the one that goes well.
Apply the marker on the countertop. If the marker is too dark, apply acetone on a cloth and use it to lighten the spots that you applied the marker on.
Using oven cleaners on kitchen countertops will ruin it over time. Some will recommend using it once in a while. It is not advisable to do that. The best option is to use the right cleaning materials so you can rest assured of the longevity of your kitchen countertop.