cleaning countertop collage

I Tried Dozens of Methods to Clean Kitchen Counters—This is The One I’m Most Excited About

A kitchen counter is more than a surface upon which to cook and prepare meals. In many homes, the kitchen counter is the main workhorse. It’s where we drop the day’s mail, and where kids do homework. It’s where I fold clothes, daydream and make big plans. On cooking days, my counters get all kinds of abuse with splattered ingredients, crumbs, and more. No wonder kitchen counters get icky, sticky, smudged, dull, and downright skanky.

Faithful readers will recall that over the years, I’ve shared numerous recipes, methods, and directives for cleaning and maintenance of countertops—granite, quartz, laminate (Formica), marble, slate, soapstone, Corian, ceramic tile, and even well-finished wood—each with its specific do’s and don’ts. While all of that still holds true, it can be very confusing. And needlessly time-consuming,

Good news!

We can dump all of that in favor of just one method that is 100% safe for all types of counter materials. Yes! Even better, it’s quick, easy, and foolproof, with sparkling, streak-free results.

Homemade Counter Cleaner

You’ll need:

  • Blue Dawn
  • tap water
  • bottle or similar container


  1. Pour 1 part Blue Dawn into the bottle.
  2. Add 10 parts tap water
  3. Mix gently to combine

OR just eyeball it: Pour Blue Dawn in the container to about 1 inch or so in depth. Fill the rest of the way with tap water. Mix gently to combine.

How to Clean Any Countertop

This is the way I do it because it works like a charm. So well, I am almost disappointed when the job is done, and I have no more countertops to clean. Almost.

You’ll need:

  • any dry cloth
  • homemade counter cleaner
  • blue Scotch-Brite scrubbing sponge or similar
  • good microfiber cloth


  1. Clear the counter of everything that is readily moveable
  2. With a dry cloth (your hand, a sponge, your dirty apron—whatever is handy), sweep all crumbs and loose debris into the sink or trash
  3. Flood (splash, pour) the countertop with cleaner (not so much as to run off onto the floor; be generous but take it easy!)
  4. With a circular motion, scrub every square millimeter of counter with the blue Scotchbrite sponge and counter cleaner. You’ll feel through the sponge the areas that require extra scrubbing due to the dried-on glops
  5. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes while you do something else, like clean and shine the sink. The powerful surfactants in the Blue Dawn, even though highly diluted, are hard at work to soften and break down the counter crud..
  6. Open up the microfiber cloth to its full size and lay it right down on the countertop.
  7. Using both hands carwash-guys style, start wiping away. I use an up-and-down, slight zig-zag pattern. This way, I get a little workout while requiring only one pass to completely remove all of the liquid. That leaves the counter squeaky clean and dry. No rinsing necessary.


cleaning countertop collage



Is this method going to damage or perhaps even remove the sealant on granite countertops?

This method is completely safe for your granite. It will not remove or damage the sealant applied to granite and other natural stone products such as slate, terrazzo, or even marble. The blue Scrotchbrite sponge is the “scratch-free” version. It can be used without any fear of damage to that sealant. Remember, though, that any sealant on a stone product like your granite is not permanent. It will wear away, which is the reason manufacturers require resealing annually. You can do this yourself with sealant you can buy at any good home center like Home Depot and Lowe’s.

What is a good microfiber cloth?

Check what I write about microfiber: The Magic of Microfiber Cloths Plus How to Use and Care for Them. My favorite for countertop cleaning is the one I’m using in the photo above. Here is a link:

I have the green Scotch-Brite scrubbing sponges. Are they OK since I don’t want to spend needlessly on blue ones?

This is tricky. First, know that the scrubber side of the green Scotch-Brite is metallic. That means it has threads of metal woven into that surface. That makes the green version deadly for precious surfaces such as stainless steel and granite sealant. I cannot tell you how many heartbreaking letters I have received from readers who hopelessly scratched a new stainless refrigerator. Or sink.

My own experience (still hurts): I had a guest who took the green sponge she found under my clean my new Simple Human stainless kitchen trash can. Apparently, she was in a super scrubbing mood and completely ruined the top of the lid. That is the day I vowed never to have a green Scotch-Brite scrubbers in my home, for any reason.

Guests, relatives, workers, grandchildren—anyone could find one and, in an act of wanting to help out, cause damage. So that is a long explanation for why I want to encourage you to put the green sponges under lock and key (and use them ONLY on quartz counters). Get the blue ones in their place, which are safe on any surface. It will be well worth the small expense.


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