The kitchen is the essential room where, to the greatest extent possible, the use of the space available needs to be practical and efficient with a design that makes it attractive and comfortable in which to spend time.
In addition to the cupboard and other storage space, and the equipment, the working surfaces, the countertops, are an important part of the kitchen’s design and must also be practical.
Marble, granite, quartz, soapstone, wood, tile, stainless steel, or laminate are firm favourites as the choice of the material for the surfaces of the working areas.
The countertop is where the food is prepared ..whichever the choice for the material using a cutting board with precaution and care will help to avoid and prevent scratching, staining or burning by intense heat exposure by direct heat-to-surface contact and maintain the essential hygiene level.
To keep countertops looking new, these cleaning and maintenance tips from Pablo Cote at Pepe Cote Kitchens provides insights into the choice of material selected for the kitchen countertops and other working surfaces.
He explains “Kitchens we have designed and provided for many years now are still looking good, and working well!
Each type of countertop requires a specific cleaning method, stain removal strategy, and sealing process to get your maintenance done. Prevent marks by getting rid of stains and scratches immediately to keep your kitchen and bathroom looking like new for years to come.”
From a young age Pablo Cote has been involved with the design and creation of kitchens. Working with his father Pepe Cote in the family firm, established in 1994 by Pepe, the firm provided traditional kitchen styles to customers in the local area and beyond, with the design of bespoke kitchens of all sizes being the foundation of the success of the company.
Pablo learnt from his early years the approach and the skills for which Pepe Cote Kitchens has always been known, with a reputation for the workmanship and quality of the products used and the care and attention to clients and their needs and wishes.
From the shop close to La Linea’s Alcaidesa Marina Pablo provides the traditional and well-established service including full design from the showroom. Although Pepe Cote Kitchens is no longer involved in the former workshop in Zabal, Pablo and his team work with the production and fitting of kitchens to a level of expertise and attention to detail to which Pepe Cote Kitchens continues to be fully dedicated.
As to which work surfaces have the best heat and scratch resistance Pablo Cote explains that the choice of material also depends on the kitchen’s requirements..
“Over the 30 years that we have been providing clients with the answers to that question we have worked and continue to work with a full range of the material available. New materials have come available over time and many of our clients have been interested in them especially for the larger kitchen with a high workload.
..countertop maintenance will depend on the specific type of material. For instance, butcher-block countertops require different care than quartz countertops. In general, though, here are some useful tips and recommendations to help keep your countertops in good shape.”
The main recommendation is that care is taken when working to prevent scratches and stains on the countertop surface by using coasters and cutting boards, and avoid putting any hot cookware on the kitchen countertop surface.
Spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible to avoid stains. For example, ketchup or coffee spills on a wooden butcher-block counter can soak into the wood with time and leave a stain behind.
Natural stone countertops, including limestone and marble can be spoilt from etching, discolouration and surface damage caused by acidic liquids like lemon juice, wine, tomato sauce, and vinegar if the spill is not cleaned up immediately.
“A word about which cleaning materials to use – baking soda, although an excellent mild abrasive for removing stains on some types of countertop, can be damaging to other surfaces.
For example, baking soda is a mild abrasive and should only be used on certain surfaces. It should never be used on quartz or glass countertops because it can scratch and damage the counter, with glass being easily scratched although it can be used on laminate and tile.
If it is decided to use bleach, use a mild bleach solution, or a non-abrasive kitchen cleaner and test it in an inconspicuous spot first to check for stain surface damage.
Quartz has a high-end price for a countertop but as it is customizable, durable and very resistant to damage and will keep looking new for as long as it is well-maintained.
It is resistant to stains and scratches as it is nonporous, with no sealing needed and can be easily cleaned with a cloth with mild soap and warm water.
Granite is a popular countertop choice because it is 100% natural, durable, and available in a range of different colours and shades.
With the proper maintenance, a granite surface will look good for many years. Wipe and rinse with warm, soapy water, avoiding abrasive cleansers that may cause scratches and avoid bleach as bleach stains are hard to remove. To remove stains, apply a baking soda paste, cover it with plastic wrap, and then let it sit overnight. Wipe up with warm water and a soft cloth.
Marble counters are unique, heat-resistant, and durable. Once sealed, they are stain-resistant, and because marble is a natural stone, it is resistant to scratching and cracking. However, spills still need to be wiped up quickly, especially juice, especially tomato, wine, soft drinks because marble is quite porous and can be permanently etched by acidic liquids.
Laminate is a common countertop material found in homes because it is economical and is available in a wide variety of colours and patterns.
It withstands stains and heat but it is easily scratched by knives and is not repairable. However, a damaged laminate countertop can be more easily replaced than other materials. To clean, wipe with warm soapy water, a mild bleach solution, or a non-abrasive kitchen cleaner. Remember to test bleach in an inconspicuous spot first, as it may stain or cause surface damage.
Tile is versatile, allowing for a variety of patterns with different shapes and colours although the surface can be a challenge to keep clean, especially the grout, which is porous. Use a non-abrasive multipurpose cleaner, as soap may leave behind a film, and a cotton cloth or use a combination of baking soda, liquid dish soap, water, and vinegar.
Tile is stain-resistant, but the grout used in between the tiles is susceptible to mould and staining. Clean stained grout using a toothbrush and mildew-fighting cleaner or bleach diluted with water at a 1:1 ratio allowing the cleaner or bleach to sit for up to 10 minutes to penetrate tough stains.
Butcher-block countertops are beautiful. They double as a cutting-board with the softer surface making for a quieter kitchen. However, because it is wood, it’s susceptible to scratches and stains.
To clean the wood, spray wood-cleaner onto a sponge rather than applying it directly to the surface. Avoid using bleach and abrasive cleaners, as they can cause damage. For stain removal, use a sponge to apply a mixture of a teaspoon of vinegar per one-fourth cup of water. Sand out small burns, cuts, and scratches.
Regular maintenance is needed to keep the wood surface in best condition. Rub with tung-tree oil or mineral oil each month or at least quarterly to keep wood from drying out. Wipe up excess oil that doesn’t soak in to prevent the surface from becoming tacky and attracting dirt.
Crushed glass countertops are often considered as works of art because of the blend of glass used to make them..however as well as having delicate corners, they are susceptible to staining by foods with high acid content.
To clean the glass, spray glass or multipurpose cleaners onto a soft cloth or sponge rather than applying directly onto the surface to reduce dirt and grime build-up. Avoid using abrasive cleaners and scratchy cleaning tools.
Stainless steel countertops are sleek and modern, durable and nonporous, making them the most often used by the food industry.
Non-abrasive cleaners must be used as stainless steel can be scratched so always use cleansers for stainless steel. Soap and water also works, but spots may appear if the water is left to sit for too long. Although stainless steel resists stains it is susceptible to rust marks from metal scouring pads, cast-iron pans, and other rust-prone objects. To remove rust marks, use a mild abrasive cleanser or a homemade lemon juice and baking soda paste.
Jon Lewes 2023