Everything You Need to Know About Cleaning Different Countertops

Have you ever wondered how people maintain immaculate countertops?
A unique countertop goes hand in hand with a unique way of cleaning it.

Some of you may think that vinegar as an all-around cleaner is the best solution, but it may actually cause damage and stains, especially for marble and granite. Cleaning these require in-depth knowledge to avoid unnecessary cost.

Take a look at these common countertops found in most kitchens. If you’re still picking a type of counter for your home, this list will definitely help!

1. Butcher Block

Butcher blocks are straight wood pieces glued together, making a very sturdy surface. It has naturally occurring antimicrobial substances in the wood grain that makes it a more sanitary overall choice.

You can use any type of wood to make this type of work surface, but don’t forget that proper sealing is important to reduce staining risks. Our perfect cleaning tip is by applying non-abrasive cleaners like mild-dishwashing soap using a sponge​.

You can also use dedicated wood cleaners for this type of countertop. Avoid using harmful chemicals such as bleach and detergent as these chemicals may cause damage.

2. Concrete

Concrete countertops are relatively new as compared to the others in the market. Various innovations made them lightweight and ideal for your home.

Most of the time, concretes need proper sealing. Make sure that you use a gentle or neutral cleaner to avoid eroding the sealant. Microfiber cloths with dish soap and warm water will do the trick for you. Rinse and repeat while you work around the area. 

Avoid putting hot objects on top of the concrete surfaces. The heat may cause discoloration to the sealant. Do not allow any spills and immediately wipe it up if there are any. Prevent the surface from getting wet with acidic substances like juice and vinegar since sealants may be affected.  You should reapply concrete plasters if it has suffered enough damages.

3. Glass

Glass is one of the most versatile materials for making countertops. You can shape it in any way you want to make gorgeous designs. What’s more, they are quite durable compared to others. However, they are dense and damage-prone.  

 When cleaning, prepare a mix of baking soda and water to remove stain marks. Use a sponge to scrub the stained surface and rinse it with warm water and smooth cloth. A mixture of mild soap and water is enough for the daily maintenance of glass countertops. You can also use a mix of 50:50 vinegar and water mixture.

Even though they are heat-resistant, use a trivet whenever you are laying down hot dishes or pans. Avoid putting them down on the surface for a long time to prevent any discoloration.               

4. Granite

Granite countertops are aesthetic and add good value to your real estate investment. They are heat-resistant and heavy, which makes them very sturdy. However, granite is quite expensive and needs proper sealing to reduce stains.

Our pro-tip is making a paste from baking soda and water. Apply this on the surface using the fibrous part of your sponge. Never use mild soap as it’s known to degrade your granite countertops over time.

Ensure that spills from acidic substances such as vinegar using a sponge and warm water are dried up. Use a pH-neutral cleaning agent that is specific for countertops made of stone. Apply it on a soft cloth and wipe the surface on a circular motion to clean the entire countertop.

5. Laminate

Laminate countertops are popular nowadays. They are lightweight and quite cheap as compared to other types. The issue with this type of part is that they are prone to staining.  

Our cleaning tip is to prepare a mixture of baking soda and vinegar whenever there is a stain. Put this paste on top of the stain and lay a damp paper to keep it moist. You may also use citrus oil with D-Limonene as a laminate stain remover. Apply carnauba wax every quarter of the year to maintain its scratch-resistant surface.

Avoid the use of abrasive cleaners and metal scrubbers since it can damage and scratch its soft surface. Do not put hot dishes on top of this countertop to prevent any scorching.

6. Marble

Marbles are similar to granite ones – they add value to your investment. Additionally, they are heavy, sturdy, and have great designs for your home aesthetic. However, these countertops easily stain.

Our ideal cleaning tip is to use a phosphate-free detergent with warm water and then scrub the surface with a sponge. For stain buildups, apply borax and then rub it with a soft sponge. Avoiding any moisture left is important since it may eventually damage the marble countertop.

Just like granite countertops, dry up any spills of acidic substances such as wine, fruit juices, vinegar, coffee, and many more. Do not leave dishes on top of your marble countertops since oil can discolor marble. Avoid harsh cleaning agents such as ammonia and bleach. Stay away from rough cloths and sponges that needs replacement as cleaners since it may damage the surface as well.

7. Quartz

Quartz counters are gorgeous to look at, and they are durable. Another advantage of having them is that they are non-porous, so they don’t require sealing. They are quite resistant to stains, but they can discolor when exposed to sunlight for a long time.

The usual mixture of mild soap and warm water is the go-to cleaning tip for this type. If you have white vinegar, mix it water and use it for daily cleaning. Make a paste with baking soda and water then apply it on the rough side of a sponge to remove any visible stains. Rinse it with warm water and wipe it with a soft cloth. They are quite sanitary, so antibacterial cleaners are not necessary.

Do not use strong cleaning agents, such as bleach that can discolor and damage the surface of your quartz countertop. Avoid exposing quartz to extreme heat, especially from dishes or cooking ware since it can discolor its surface.

8. Soapstone

The highlight of soapstone is that they are low-maintenance and fairly hardy. Additionally, they are non-porous, so you won’t need any sealing for this countertop to resist stains. However, they have a softer nature, so we recommend avoiding damage from heavy pots and pans on its surface.

A combination of warm water and a mild soap is enough to clean this type of countertop. If there are food stains present, feel free to use abrasive cleaners. When there is a small scratch present, you can use worn-out sandpaper to rub the scratched part. This technique will flatten its surface. You also need to apply oil monthly to prevent the countertop from absorbing any moisture present.

Put away very sharp and hard objects that can easily scratch your countertop. Since it is also a stone, it prevents the absorption of any kind of moisture. It may dull its quality. 

9. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is durable, heat-resistant, rustproof, and pleasing to the eye. The drawbacks are that they are prone to water stain and can dent. They are also non-porous, and acidic chemicals will not damage its surface.

The best cleaning tip is to use strong white vinegar and apply it using a damp sponge and rub it thoroughly. Rinse the wet part and dry it well using a soft cloth. For hard-to-remove stains, use a mild stainless-steel cleaner. When cleaning spots, apply a glass cleaner and wipe it immediately with a soft sponge. Rinse it well with a microfiber cloth. Use a stainless-steel cleaner periodically to bring back its luster. If rust appears, try to use a non-abrasive solution or baking soda to remove it.

Put away harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners that can damage and add permanent scratches to the stainless steel. Do not let any spills or leftovers to sit on the surface to avoid any stains.

10. Tile

You can see tiles in almost any household. They are cheap, lightweight, and have varied designs. However, they are quite flimsy and very susceptible to stains. This countertop is just one heavy pan or pot drop away from being broken or cracked.

When cleaning, apply baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe the surface of your counter. Rinse it with warm water and dry it with a soft cloth. To remove stains and grease, make a mixture of ¼ cup baking soda, a tablespoon of borax, and two tablespoons of mild soap.

Wet the tiles then rub the surface with the mixture using a nylon brush. Clean the spaces between them using baking soda and then lemon juice. Scrub it with a sturdy brush and then rinse it with warm water. Dry up the area to avoid any excess moisture.

Since the grout in between tiles is porous, avoid getting that part wet and do not allow moisture to build up. Immediately wipe away any spills with a soft cloth.

Spekless Cleaning Service

If all else fails, do not hesitate to seek our help! Save yourself from the worries of cleaning your home and Get An Instant Estimate Now!  

Best Bathtub Cleaning Tips | Hacks For Cleaning your Bathtub

Cleaning your bathtub shouldn’t be a stressful process; learn more about why and how you should keep your bathtub clean with our 6 easy steps on cleaning your bathtub today!

The Best Way to Clean Your Bathtub In 6 Easy Steps

So, you’ve decided to clean your bathtub. Awesome! After all, nobody wants to take a relaxing bath in a tub full of soap scum, dirt, body oils, or worse. Cleaning your bathtub shouldn’t be complicated, but if you’re not sure where to begin, the experts at Spekless are here with our top tips and hacks on the best ways to clean your tub today!

Our Top 6 Tips for Cleaning Your Bathtub 

1. Get your products and materials. Unsure which products to use? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for bathtubs, so you should go with a manufacturer recommended product or cleaning products designed for your tub. However, virtually limitless options can make it harder to choose, so here are some of our favorite bathtub cleaning products. 

One versatile brand that we love here at Spekless is Bar Keepers Friends. Our favorite is the Soft Cleanser, which is perfect for bathtubs and will quickly get rid of scum, rust, and build-ups without leaving any streaks. Paired with a microfiber cloth, cleaning your bathtub will never have been easier! If you prefer a powdered form, grab their original Cleanser (developed back in 1882!). To use it, wet your bathtub, then sprinkle on a little bit of the Cleanser and wait. Rub it with a sponge, then rinse it off and dry. 

Another product perfect for cleaning your bathtub would be the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (ideally the Extra Durable formation). One of the benefits of Mr. Clean is that you don’t need anything besides the Magic Eraser and water to get your tub clean: simply wet the sponge, squeeze out any extra water, and start scrubbing—the Magic Eraser will do the rest. However, depending on how dirty your tub is, you may not be up to scrubbing the entirety of it for several minutes.

Finally, if you’re looking for a budget cleaning product or simply prefer a more natural cleaning alternative, all you need to do is grab a spray bottle and fill it with an equal solution of 1-part vinegar to 1-part dish soap (we prefer Dawn!). If you’re not a huge fan of the smell of vinegar, you can mask the smell with a few drops of your favorite essential oil (such as lavender).

Make sure you scrubbers that have metal parts, as many bathtubs could be sensitive to them, leaving permanent scratches. When possible, use a sponge or cleaning cloth, as well as a soft cleaning brush. If possible, invest in a grout brush to get rid of more stubborn stains, and pick up a bottle tile cleaner as well. 

Finally, wear gloves to avoid exposing your hands to harsher chemicals, and make sure to open your window or get some ventilation if possible so you don’t breathe in all the cleaning chemicals! 

2. Empty your bathtub and clean the surround. First things first, take everything out of your bath tub—and that means everything from kids’ toys to loofahs! Wipe down anything that might have soap scum built up, and then place them elsewhere while you clean.

To get started, you should deep clean the walls and tiles around your bathtub. With either a general cleaner or special cleaner and a cloth, buff your walls to eliminate any soap scum, dirt, or other debris on your wall. For tiles, just use a tile cleaner and sponge (or cloth!). During your deep clean, use a grout brush and bleach—as long as you have plenty of ventilation. Once you’re done, give your walls and tiles a good rinse using clean water to get rid of any residue, and the first step is done!

3. Make sure your drain works properly. Before you get down and dirty with cleaning your bathtub, you should be sure that your drain isn’t clogged. All you need to do is pour around a half cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of white vinegar. After waiting for about 5 minutes for the bubbling to reduce, flush it out with about 30 seconds of hot water. For best results, repeat monthly.

4. Clean the interior. Next, apply or spray your preferred cleaner onto your tub and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. You can use any of the products we mentioned earlier, or whichever cleaner you prefer the most. After you’re done waiting, wipe down your tub with a cloth and rinse thoroughly. 

5. Get rid of soap scum and stains. It’s not uncommon to have several stains remain after you’re done with a superficial clean. For soap scum, you can use a gentle cleaning brush, or just grab an old toothbrush you aren’t using to scrub them away.

If you have tougher stains that you need to get rid of, you can use a scrub brush and a special cleanser and scrub away for a while longer. Alternatively, mix equal parts vinegar and warm water, spray it on the stains, and then sprinkle on some baking soda. After it stops bubbling, scrub with a sponge, wait a few more minutes, then wipe it off and rinse thoroughly. If necessary, repeat again.

6. Rinse and wipe down. After everything has been fully rinsed, dry off your bathtub and buff it with a clean towel, making sure to not leave any excess water behind. Leave your window and/or ventilation open for at least a half hour to clear out any unwanted odors of cleaning fluids, and if you feel like it, add an air freshener or incense stick to make your bathroom smell more natural. Voila! 

Extra Hacks For Cleaning Your Bathtub (And Keeping It Clean!)

  • Do you have a tougher stain that you’re having trouble getting rid of? Usually, there’s no need to buy expensive, specialized products! Our go-to DIY recipe is to make a paste of 1-part hydrogen peroxide to 2 parts baking soda. Then, apply the paste to your stain for at least 30 minutes—so you’ll want to do this at the end of the cleaning process. Wipe the stain and rinse gently. If it’s still not fully gone, repeat once more.  
  • Not sure how often you should clean your bathtub? This depends entirely on how often you use it. If you have a shower/tub combo that you shower in daily, we’d recommend a routine clean weekly, with a deep clean monthly. If your tub is separate and you only use it for special occasions, just wipe it down after each use (see our last hack in this section!) and give it a routine clean on a monthly basis. However, if you notice water stains, rust, mold, or mildew forming, bring out the cleaning ingredients ASAP.
  • Don’t mix cleaning products! Bleach and ammonia, when combined, will create highly dangerous and toxic chlorine gas. Even small amounts can cause skin, eye, and respiratory irritation, while larger amounts are fatal. (In fact, chlorine gas was used during both World Wars.) Generally, avoid having too many cleaning products in your rotation: one or two products is usually all that you’ll need, and make sure to keep the place well ventilated!
  • Want to avoid having to clean your bathtub so often? Easy! Make sure you thoroughly rinse the surface of you tub after a bath so that no soap stays behind, and get rid of extra moisture to prevent unnecessary buildup of substances like soap scum or mildew. To do so, simply wipe down your tub to make sure it’s fully dry. Use a clean, dry cloth (preferably microfiber), and don’t reuse it again. If possible, open your window to get rid of extra humidity. 

And that’s it! With our tips and hacks on how to best clean your bathtub, we’re pretty confident that keeping your bathtub clean has never been this easier, no matter how often you use it!

Why Should You Clean Your Bathtub, Anyways? 

If we’re honest, nobody’s super excited about having to clean their bathtub. Here’s the deal: failing to regularly deep clean your bathtub can lead to lots of health hazards, including: 

  • Mildew and mold: Not only do these spores and fungi look gross, they can pose health risks! Mold thrives on warm, damp places high in humidity (in other words, your bathroom), and while a little bit of it isn’t dangerous, this can quickly lead to rotting fabric or permanent stains on your tub and other bathroom fixtures! Additionally, many people are either sensitive or allergic to mold, which could lead to symptoms such as skin rashes, coughing, hives, and even respiratory issues such as asthma attacks for those more seriously affected. 
  • Infections: If there’s one place in your room that’s home to countless bacteria, it’s your bathroom. From using the toilet to brushing your teeth to taking a shower, you easily contribute to the spread of bacteria inside it. In fact, if you have a shower curtain for your bathtub, your shower curtain and shower floor could have as much as 60 times the amount of bacteria your toilet seat has! And with thousands of bacteria thriving in your dirty bathtub, you could easily transfer the bacteria to open cuts, sores, or wounds, which could cause a staph infection.
  • Soap scums: Sure, soap is great while you’re taking a shower or drawing up a bath, but what about after? Not properly rinsing out your tub could lead to film developing in your tub, or even on your shower curtain or walls. Over time, the build-up, together with mold and mildew, lead to nasty stains and smells. 

Finally, if you aren’t cleaning your bathtub, you’re probably not cleaning the other parts of your bathroom. From the sink to your cabinets to your toilet, your bathroom should be cleaned regularly. So once you start with our easy tips on cleaning your tub, why not keep the rest of your bathroom sparkly clean? 

Spekless House Cleaning for Your Bathtub

Now that you can get into the habit of cleaning your bathtub, it’s easy to just move on to other parts of your bathroom and keep them spick-and-span. However, at Spekless, we completely understand that not everyone has the time, energy, or willingness to dedicate so much time to cleaning. Maybe you’re not sure which cleaning products are best to deep clean your bathtub. Perhaps you’d rather dedicate one day to cleaning your studio apartment or home but just don’t have time. Or maybe you simply suffer from aches or pains, making it harder to clean up after yourself. Whatever it is, we completely understand where you’re coming from. 

That’s why Spekless offers custom-tailored, 100% flexible deep cleaning services so you can have a fully clean house without having to do the work yourself! Whether you need your bathtub and bathroom cleaned weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly, our professional deep cleaners will work around the schedule to give you the clean bathtub you deserve.

To learn more about our professional cleaning services, get in touch today! 

Cleaning The House When You’re Sick

Sick and wondering if you should clean your house?

During flu season, you may just catch yourself lying in bed snuggled up with a cold. You’ve got a ton of work to do and a family to take care of though, you don’t have time to be sick let alone clean up after it. 

So, how much of the house should you clean when you’re sick? Which areas are the most important? Should you even clean your house when you’re sick?

Should I clean when I’m sick?

You probably know that it’s important to clean your home after being sick, but you might not know that it’s also important to clean in when you’re sick. When you’re sick with an infectious disease, germs can go everywhere. The only way to stop the spread is to clean up your house. This is especially important if you live with children or elderly people.

When bacteria and germs spread from one surface to another, one thing can lead to another and then you might just find yourself in the emergency room before you know it. If you’re having trouble keeping the house clean don’t worry, just start with the basics: making sure you have the right cleaning products.

Using the right cleaning products

Before you find the motivation you need for cleaning the house when you’re sick, you need to make sure that you’re using cleaning products that aren’t harmful to you and your family. Certain cleaning products can be really harmful, not only to certain surfaces in your home but to the air that you breathe in.

The last thing you want is to start cleaning with a chemical that only enhances your illness and sends you to the hospital. Consider making the switch to all-natural cleaning products to help protect you and your family from ingesting toxic chemicals.

Finding the motivation to clean the house when you’re sick

It can be hard to get up and clean when you don’t even feel like getting out of bed. But just like money motivates you to get up and go to work, you can find something to motivate you to get up and clean the house. 

Now we’re not saying that you have to get on your hands and knees and scrub the entire house, but keeping it organized and free from germs is crucial during this time. Not only will you stop the spread of germs in their track, but you’ll also benefit mentally from having a clean house. And the better you are mentally, the better you’ll be physically. 

So, where can you find the motivation to clean while sick? Here are some ideas:

  • Make a list: Write down a list of things you want to clean. It doesn’t have to be a comprehensive list, just a short list to keep you from getting overwhelmed while cleaning.
  • Take a shower before: Showers can infuse you with energy and help you get up and relax before cleaning. After all, if you’re cleaning yourself, why not clean where you live too?
  • Clean when you have energy: Being sick drains your energy. If you feel too tired, take a break and resume cleaning when your energy replenishes.
  • Reward yourself: Love that chicken soup from that delivery place? Feel like having pizza? Think about how you’ll reward yourself when you’re done to keep you motivated.

Maybe your motivation is music. Maybe it’s germs. Or maybe it’s knowing that you’ll feel better once you do it. No matter what it is, there’s a motive behind every household cleaning routine (sick or not). 

It’s time for you to find yours!

How to disinfect your house

As we’ve mentioned before, cleaning while sick will keep the germs at bay. So, which are the most important places to keep clean?

Bed

Change your linens and clean them frequently while sick.

You spend a third of your day in bed, and even more when you’re sick. That’s why you need to pay close attention to your bed linens when you’re sick.

Use a double layer of pillowcases to prevent germs from reaching your pillow. When you’re changing your linens, don’t pile them onto the rest of the dirty laundry. Wash them immediately using your hottest washing cycle to disinfect them and to prevent the germs from spreading all over the contents of your hamper. Do the same with your pj’s.

Bathroom

The bathroom is another area of your house where you’ll spend more time when you’re sick with something like a stomach bug. When you vomit or have diarrhea, tons of microparticles filled with germs go on the air, infecting surfaces when they land.

When you’re sick, try to use only one bathroom. Use only one set of towels for yourself and, like the linens, clean them as you use them. Use any disinfectant to clean all surfaces, like toilets and countertops, and make sure to disinfect the toilet bowl and the toilet brush as well.

Once you’re better, don’t forget to replace your toothbrush.

Living areas and points of contact

Door knobs and other points of contact must be disinfected while you're sick.

We touch many surfaces without even noticing it. TV remotes, light switches, doorknobs, handles, and many more. When you’re sick, you can transmit germs onto those surfaces, and infect other people that come into contact with them.

Luckily, most of them are very easy to clean. All you need is to spray them with a disinfectant and clean them with a paper towel. Thoroughly disinfect your TV remote and smartphone after using them.

Clean all surfaces of any living areas you’re using. If you’re going to use your sofa, cover it with a blanket to wash it later.

Don’t forget to air out your home to replace stale air and keep your house fresh!

Tips to help you succeed in cleaning the house when you’re sick

Ready to clean? Here are a few tips to get you started:

Soak the dishes

Doing the dishes can sometimes feel like one of those overwhelming household tasks. Sometimes you might just want to look at them and pray that they start washing themselves. 

The last thing you want to do is wash them when you’re sick. So at the end of the day go ahead and fill up your sink with hot water and dish soap and let your dishes soak overnight. In the morning you’ll be able to clean them without effort.

Use gloves when cleaning and doing the laundry

Use gloves when cleaning the house while sick to prevent spreading germs.

When you’re sick, you usually touch your face when sneezing or coughing. Those germs can stay on your hands for hours. That’s why, besides frequent hand-washing, you should use gloves when doing your daily cleaning.

Don’t forget to avoid touching your face and disinfect them when you’re done.

Have a cleaning basket on hand

Having a cleaning basket in your house introduces a whole new level of motivation into the equation. There’s just something about having a nice little basket with all of your supplies together in one place that just makes you want to get up and start cleaning the entire house. And it’s super helpful when you don’t feel like looking all over the place for that bottle of Windex you could’ve sworn you left under the bathroom sink.

Make sure you have disinfectant wipes ready

When it comes to cleaning the house when you’re sick, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to make sure that you have disinfectant wipes in every room of the house. This way, if you touch anything or start to sneeze all over the remote, you can simply grab a wipe and stop the spread of germs.

For best results, make sure your disinfectant wipes have over 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol, and wipe only in one direction to prevent spreading the germs.

Run a diffuser with essential oils

Having a diffuser in your home is great for many reasons. One of them is that you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil in it and it will help clean the air around you while strengthening your immune system. So not only are you cleaning the air, you are actually helping cure your sickness in the process.

Delegate the weekly chore list

If you’re still having trouble finding the motivation to get up and start cleaning when you’re sick, consider delegating the weekly chore list to others in your home. You should also avoid preparing meals for anyone else while sick. If you have kids or a partner, this is perfect – just give them a list of things to do while you sit back and relax.

But what do I do if I don’t have children or a spouse?

Maybe you don’t have kids or a partner to help you when things get tough around the house. Not everyone does. Maybe you have a roommate though. And if you do, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask them to pick up some of the slack. After all, you are sick. 

But if that’s not the case, the last thing you can do is…

Hire a professional house cleaning service

Sometimes we just can’t clean the house when we’re sick. But don’t worry we’re here for you! Our professional house cleaners will help you get your house back on the right track. Contact us today for a free estimate.

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