How to Remove Stains from Countertops: Your Care Guide For 10 Different Surfaces

Your countertops aren’t only an investment purchase; they’re the pièce de résistance of your kitchen. So keeping them looking their best (read: free of unsightly stains) is pretty darn important. We checked in with pros across the industry to bring you the very best tricks for successful countertop stain removal.

7 Kitchen Countertop Trends We’re Loving Right Now

laminate counter 7281
Getty Images/Alphotographic

1. How To Remove Stains From Laminate Countertops

Comprised of plastic resins, laminate countertops are highly stain-resistant (go ahead, spill the Pinot Noir).

How to clean it: Just wipe up quickly or treat with a baking soda and water paste if residue persists. Laminate’s biggest risk for damage comes from hot objects, which “stain” by burning the surface. The only real fix is preventative measures (using trivets and extreme care). “If damage occurs, most laminate countertops cannot be repaired, only replaced,” says Bell.

2. How To Remove Stains From Quartz Countertops

From an overall maintenance perspective, non-porous, scratch- and stain-resistant quartz is about as good as it gets.

How to clean it: “With any spill, just use a warm washcloth and mild soap to clean. There’s no need for anything stronger or more complicated,” says Summer Kath, head of design for Cambria Quartz.

3. How To Remove Stains From Marble Countertops

The oh-so-pretty but softer stone is an easy stain target. So it’s important to seal your countertops to make them more stain-resistant.

How to clean it: “Sealing won’t make your marble 100 percent stain-proof, but it will definitely help,” says April Graves, VP of Aria Stone Gallery. If a spill occurs, immediately blot to sop up the liquid (don’t wipe, which spreads it). Then flush the area with water and mild soap, followed by a gentle, dry wipe. If the stain persists, Graves advises to call in a stone care professional to assess the problem.

butcher counter 728
Getty Images/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

4. How To Remove Stains From Butcher Block Countertops

Most importantly, when it comes to this warm, rustic medium, you need to be thoroughly sealing with mineral oil on a monthly basis to prevent damage.

How to clean it: When properly sealed, light stains are best treated by cleaning immediately with a simple solution of mild soap and water. When it comes to bigger stains, Nantucket-based contractor Edward O’Brien (who handles butcher block constantly) says there’s only one true way to remove a major stain: “sand it out, refinish and reseal.”

concrete counter 728
Getty Images/in4mal

5. How To Remove Stains From Concrete Countertops

Concrete is highly porous and needs to be treated with a concrete sealer to prevent stains, scratches and water absorption.

How to clean it: If a spill occurs, concrete expert Nathaniel Lieb recommends soaking a cotton ball in household bleach, pressing it down on the stain with a solid object (like a heavy glass) and allowing it to sit for five to ten minutes.

granite counter 728
Getty Images/hikesterson

6. How To Remove Stains From Granite Countertops

Granite is a relatively durable natural stone, especially when sealed.

How to clean it: Most stains can be handled with a warm soapy water rinse. If a heavier stain does occur (like an oil stain), Angie’s List cleaning expert Amanda Bell suggests applying a baking soda paste, which draws out the oil, covering with plastic wrap, then letting it sit overnight. In the morning, wipe up with warm water and a soft cloth. One important note for natural stone surfaces (granite in particular): avoid abrasive cleansers like heavy-duty scrub pads or pumice stones, which can scratch the surface.

stainless counter 7281
Getty Images/ Robert Daly

7. How To Remove Stains From Stainless Steel Countertops

This industrial-chic metal option is majorly stain-resistant, but the “stainless” moniker is a bit of a stretch.

How to clean it: “It’s critical to clean wet and acidic items off stainless steel quickly,” says Melissa Homer, chief cleaning officer at MaidPro. “Simple cleaners that are neither very acidic or alkaline (like dish soap) and a microfiber towel, are your best bet.” But, she suggests that if hard water or rust stains do show up, “Bar Keepers Friend is a mild enough abrasive to safely scrub away the stains. Just be sure to scrub with, not against the grain.”

tile counter 7281
Getty Images/slobo

8. How To Remove Stains From Tile Countertops

Tiles themselves are glazed and generally unreceptive to staining, but the grout between tiles is very susceptible.

“For tile grout stains, products like Black Diamond grout cleaner and a stiff tile brush can work wonders,” says Homer.

RELATED The Surprising Case for Buying Fake Plants

Grace Beuley Hunt

Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.
read full bio