Even the most diligent house cleaner has trouble keeping kitchen and bathroom counters free of mess. While counter tops in these two high-traffic rooms in the house are designed for frequent use and easy clean-up, it can be frustrating to find unnecessary items and stains besmirching what should be a refreshingly spotless space. Still, with patience, perseverance, and the perfect products, any kitchen and bathroom counter space can become continually clean and clear. Here’s how to make it happen in your home.
A Clever Guide to Keeping Countertops Clean and Clear
Use the Right Cleaners
You are more likely to want to show off your counter tops when you are sure they are going to sparkle. Keeping counters clean and disinfected is a bit more labor intensive than cursorily wiping them with a sponge once a week — but not by much. The key is to know what kind of cleaner you need for the material of your countertops.
Marble: Marble counters add classic elegance to a room, but they are less resistant to scratching. Thus, abrasive cleaners and tools should be avoided at all costs.
If your countertop cleaner feels the same as your skin exfoliator, you definitely can’t use it on your marble and expect the gleaming results you see on your face. Marble also tends to stain with liquid spills, so it is wise to have specific marble stain solvent on hand.
Granite: In contrast, granite resists heat, scratching, and staining, which makes it a rough and tumble countertop for active kitchens and bathrooms. Special granite cleaners may make the process easier, but they are by no means necessary; warm water and dish soap is enough to clean and disinfect after daily use.
However, be sure to avoid harsher solvents like window cleaner, lemon juice, or bleach, which will wear away at the granite’s seal over time.
Wood: Wood countertops, like butcher block, require significantly more attention every day, so while they are warm and sturdy additions to a kitchen, they might be more work than they’re worth. The wood soaks up every liquid and smell, which means intense scrubbing with soap and water must take place after every use.
Periodically — meaning every week or so — you should also be replenishing the wood’s oils to prevent drying and cracking. Perhaps instead of investing in butcher block counters, find a small cutting board to use as an wood accent.
Add Appropriate Storage
With all of today’s modern conveniences, kitchen counters can become cluttered with helpful appliances.
It may feel like the most appropriate place for your toaster and coffee machine is in plain sight, but in reality these tools can easily be stashed away only to be brought out when they are needed for use. The same goes for the bathroom: Though you may use your makeup every morning, it is just as easy to place it in the cabinet or makeup box when it is not in use as it is to leave it lying on the counter.
If your kitchen cabinets and bathroom storage spaces are already filled to bursting with other necessities, construct additional storage to suit your needs.
End Annoying Habits
The above tips help you work toward an initial de-cluttering of your spaces, but the hardest step is yet to come. What keeps your kitchen and bathroom a muddled mess isn’t necessarily dirt or your lack of storage, but your slovenly ways. To truly keep your counters clean and clear, you must diligently train yourself to put items in the proper place.
One of the biggest culprits is unread mail tossed on kitchen counters after trips to the mailboxes. Today, instead of placing the bills or advertisements in their normal space, file away the mail you need and throw away the junk immediately. The same can be said for take-home work and pocketed items in the kitchen or loose jewelry and shed items of clothing in the bathroom. It will be difficult at first, but you must replace your untidy habits with organized ones.
Educate Other Household Members
If you share a space with others, be they roommates or family members, you will never achieve your goal of clean and clear counters without their aid. Host a house meeting and explain your concerns over the messy countertops. Then, reveal what changes you are making, and how you need your household’s help. Some may be disappointed or incensed at the extra work, but eventually they will see the benefits of living in a clean home.