What’s the best way to clean granite counter tops? We’ve read a lot of varying views on this — use Windex! No, never use Windex! Use a special granite-only cleaner! No, you don’t need a special granite-only cleaner! — but after doing our research, we think we’ve discovered a consensus among stone experts on how to care for granite. The best part? You really don’t need any special cleaners to get those counter tops shiny and streak-free.

Never use harsh or abrasive cleaners and sponges, Windex, acidic cleaners like vinegar, lemon, lime, or anything with ammonia or bleach. Frequent use of these chemicals will dull and weaken the sealant over time. Basically, the harsher the cleaner, the quicker it will break down the sealant.

Wipe up spills as soon as you notice them.

Use warm water, a mild or gentle dish soap, and a nubby washcloth or microfiber cloth for daily wipe downs.

A well-sealed granite countertop is relatively impervious to bacteria. Hot water and dish soap should be adequate for daily sanitizing. However, if a stronger disinfectant is desired, mix together a 50:50 solution of water and 91% isopropyl alcohol. Spray onto the granite, allow to sit for 3-5 minutes, then rinse with water and dry with a clean microfiber cloth. Avoid bleach or ammonia-based cleaners.


Don’t panic! Most of the time, stained granite counter tops can be cleaned with household items so common that you probably already have them in your pantry. No matter the source of the stain, start with baking soda. If you wish to clean a water stain, mix the baking soda with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide in a bowl. For an oil-based stain, mix the baking soda with water. In either case, the mixture should generate a thick paste. Generously spoon and spread that over the stain, then cover the area with plastic rap, taping down its edges. Leave the homemade stain remover overnight (or even for a couple of days), before rinsing and wiping down the granite.


Though quartz will resist permanent staining when exposed to liquids like wine, vinegar, tea, lemon juice, and soda, or fruits and vegetables, it’s important to wipe up spills immediately—before they have a chance to dry. Take care of fresh messes with mild dishwashing detergent and a soft cloth. For dried spills or heavy stains, your best bet is a glass or surface cleaner, a nonabrasive sponge (sponges designed for nonstick pans are safe and effective), and a little elbow grease. Keep a plastic putty knife handy to gently scrape off gum, food, nail polish, paint, or other messes that harden as they dry.

Should you find yourself confronting a particularly sticky situation, your stain-busting might require a couple of extra tools.

  • Remove cooking grease. If dinner was great but the counter took a beating, use a degreasing soap product that will first loosen then remove the grease from the surface. Follow the cleanser manufacturer’s instructions for use.
  • Erase permanent markers. Permanent markers are supposed to be, well…permanent. When the kids get creative, make sure your counters are protected from their artistry by first putting down placemats or kraft paper, so the only thing they leave behind is a happy memory. Should you find an ink or permanent marker stain after craft time, moisten a cloth with alcahol or a comparable product, and rub it into the stain. Rinse thoroughly with warm water to remove any cleanser residue.


Daily wiping and attention to spills and messes will satisfy your counter top’s basic daily maintenance requirements. But experts also recommend an overall deeper general cleaning at regular intervals. For best results, spray a generous amount of a nonabrasive surface cleaner over your counter top and let it sit for 10 minutes. Wipe away with a non-scratch sponge.

When it comes to care and maintenance of quartz countertops, the dos are easy and straightforward: Wipe clean with a damp cloth. Use a mild nonabrasive detergent soap for deep cleaning. Simple, right? Preserving your counter’s integrity and appeal is more about adhering to the list of don’ts. Never use abrasive cleansers and avoid scouring pads, which can dull the surface. Fortunately, soapy water will usually do the trick. If you need a gentle cleanser with a little more oomph to remove surface stains, make sure it is specifically designed for use on quartz.

Beware, too, of harsh cleaning solutions at both ends of the pH spectrum. Culprits include products from nail polish remover and turpentine to drain cleaner and dishwasher rinsing agents. Whether highly acidic or highly alkaline, those chemicals can disintegrate the bonds between quartz and resin. Quartz will tolerate casual exposure to milder alkaline solutions, such as diluted bleach, but high-pH substances, such as oven cleaners and concentrated bleach, will damage the surface. If any of the substances mentioned above come into contact with your quartz counter top, rinse the exposed surface immediately and thoroughly with water.

Extreme Heat

Trivets and hot pads are your quartz counter top’s best friends. Though the material is heat- and scorch-resistant, the resin used in manufacturing quartz counter tops is a plastic and therefore prone to melting in heat above 300 degrees Fahrenheit. A sudden change in temperature or prolonged exposure to heat from a pan left on the counter top may even cause the quartz to crack. To be safe, always use a trivet or hot pad.

Slicing or Dicing Without a Cutting Board

Quartz is a hard surface, but not hard enough to withstand the effects of sharp objects like knives. So, slice and dice to your heart’s content, but make sure to do it on a cutting board to avoid ugly scratches on your quartz counter tops.

The Elements

Quartz is not the right choice for an outdoor kitchen. If you install it outdoors, you do so at your own risk, as all manufacturer warranties cover indoor use only. Day after day in direct sunlight will fade colors and lead to warping or splitting.

Combining the best of authenticity and ingenuity, quartz is truly the rock of all ages. Be kind to your quartz countertops with regular attention and cleaning, and they will give you a lifetime of pleasure!


Marble can be easily stained by many of the liquids that frequently appear in the kitchen – for example, wine, coffee, and orange juice. Watch out for spills and clean them up as quickly as possible. Even water, if left to pool for a period of time, can discolor marble, so it’s best to keep stone surfaces dry. We recommended not to use marble in a high traffic area.

Avoid general-purpose cleaners unless the product specifically states that it’s marble-safe. Most of the time, a solution of dish soap and warm water is all that’s needed to keep marble looking new. Dip a soft cloth into the diluted soap, wring out the cloth so that it’s damp but not dripping wet, then wipe the marble clean.

You can also clean marble floors with a solution of dish soap and warm water—and you don’t need to get down on your hands and knees. It’s totally fine to use a mop just be careful not to slosh too much water all over the place. When you’re finished, the floor should be a little damp, but if any pools have collected, you haven’t wrung out the mop well enough. Wipe up any standing water quickly with a dry cloth or towel.

Be aware that while many homeowners rightly revere the cleaning virtues of vinegar, this handy pantry staple should never be applied to marble; its high level of acidity can actually corrode the stone.


Given the material’s sensitivity, removing stains from marble can be a little tricky, but it’s not an insurmountable challenge. The key is to absorb the stain. Try this: Mix bakin soda with a small amount of water to form a thick paste. Apply it directly to the stain, then cover it with plastic wrap. Leave the paste in place for at least 24 hours, then check to see whether the solution has worked. If the stain is less noticeable but is still hanging on, repeat the process with a fresh application of paste.

No luck yet? So long as the marble is light-colored, you can experiment with hydrogen peroxide. But don’t go near this method if your marble is darker—the bleach could discolor it.

The very best way to care for marble is to prevent stains in the first place. Clean up any spills quickly, never put hot pans on the surface, and always be careful using sharp objects near marble because it can be easily scratched. Treat marble well and it will stay looking great for a lifetime.

Butcher Block

Just as pots and pans, dishes and kitchen tools must be cleaned after use, so too must be butcher block. Daily cleaning does not take long and requires no special tools or materials, but time is of the essence: Clean butcher block before the wood grain has the chance to absorb stains and become discolored. Food residue may be scraped away with a smooth, flat, and ideally plastic spatula, and the surface should be sponged off with only mild-dish washing soap. Undiluted vinegar, by the by, works great for cleaning and disinfecting butcher block, and this type of vinegar does not leave behind a strong, pungent odor

Cabinet Care

With proper care, your cabinetry should provide a lifetime of use and satisfaction. Proper care involves attentive cleaning, polishing and careful avoidance of damaging household cleaners. The beauty of wood is in the variation in graining and hue. Because wood is a natural product, it has inherent variation. This variation includes many natural characteristics as a result of tree growth patterns, as well as differences in wood color and grain due to variations in forest growing conditions. We apply and then hand wipe our stains to bring out the natural character and sheen of the wood.

Basic Cleaning

Grease and grime buildup can damage cabinets and destroy the look and feel of a new kitchen. To remove buildup wipe down cabinets using a soft cloth dampened with warm water and do so at least once every two weeks or more often depending on the amount of activity that takes place in the kitchen. If water alone does not clean cabinets completely, mix a little mild dishwasher soap with the water. Wipe down wood cabinets in the direction of the grain. Use a soft cloth to remove any residual moisture that may be left on the cabinets.

If routine cleaning does not remove stains or built up grime, create a paste by mixing baking soda with water. Place the paste on a sponge and scrub the stain until it disappears. Rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth. A mix of vinegar and water is another option for removing sticky grime or film from kitchen cabinets.

The following products and ingredients can damage cabinets so avoid using them or any product that contains them:

  • Petroleum-based products
  • Solvents
  • Bleach
  • Strong detergents and soaps
  • Nail polish remover
  • Paint thinners
  • Plastic brushes
  • Steel wool
  • Scoring pad
  • Ammonia

Repairing Nicks and Scratches

We typically provide a touch-up kit to our clients so they can maintain the beauty of their kitchen. If you have recently updated your kitchen and did not receive a touch-up kit, ask our team to obtain one on your behalf.

Wipe Spills Promptly

Many substances become difficult to remove and may stain or cause other damage upon prolonged contact. If a spill occurs, wipe it promptly with a damp cloth or sponge and dry the surface immediately. Use a blotting action rather than a wiping action to remove the substance.

Avoid Excessive Moisture

This is one of the worst enemies of any finish. Cabinetry near the sink and dishwasher and baseboards are most susceptible. Dry off any areas immediately where water has spilled. Avoid draping dish towels or other wet items over doors or placing coffee makers where steam vents directly onto cabinet surfaces.

Avoid temperature and humidity extremes

Extremes in temperature and humidity can cause wood to expand and contract, swell or warp, and dry out– possibly damaging the finish of your cabinetry. It is important to control the temperature and humidity in your home all year long. You should allow minor warping to go through one heating cycle before considering replacement.

Avoid light damage

Direct exposure to sunlight can have a damaging effect on your cabinets especially those made from natural wood. Painted wood cabinets and laminated or Thermofoil surfaces also are susceptible to fading from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Use window coverings to help reduce or eliminate damage caused by exposure to direct sunlight.

Avoid exposure from harsh cleaners

Harsh cleaners can damage the finish of your cabinetry. Avoid cleaners containing ammonia, bleach, citric acid (including orange and lemon oil) and organic solvents.

Avoid exposure to waxes

Most common self-polishing waxes can damage your finish. Take care to use only high-quality cream furniture polishes available from high-end furniture or paint stores.

Guard against scratching and abrasion

Clean with a soft, damp cloth when necessary. Avoid using scouring pads and abrasive cleaners as they may dull fine finishes.

Guard against plastic and rubber

Use felt or cloth under plastic or rubber objects as their ingredients may react with your woods finish.

  • Avoid Aggressive Acids
  • Avoid products containing aggressive acids or abrasives as they may cause damage to laminate finishes (Lime-AWay, Soft Scrub, Tilex, etc.).
  • Avoid Chips And Scratches
  • Avoid abrasive cleansers and cleaning tools. Some “stiff” paper towels may leave tiny scratches that dull the surface.

Always use a soft cloth when cleaning cabinet surfaces.

Maintenance Tips For Laminate Products

With proper care, our laminate products will last a lifetime. Generally, a damp sponge is all you need for everyday maintenance of laminate surfaces.

Basic Cleaning

Use a soft cloth to wash the surface with warm water and a mild dish washing detergent. Rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth. Use an all-purpose cleaner or bathroom cleanser to remove spots and stains.

Stubborn Spots and Stains

Mix baking soda and water to create a paste. Use a soft bristle brush to gently rub the spot in a circular motion. The paste will be slightly abrasive, so work carefully, pressing very lightly. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth. Repeat the process as long as you’re making progress. If the stain remains, use undiluted household bleach; the label should read 5% solution of sodium hypochlorite. Take special care to protect your eyes, skin, and clothing. Apply the bleach using a wet sponge or paper towel, place it on the stain and let sit for no longer than one and a half minutes. Rinse repeatedly with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.

Maple Chopping Block

Basic Cleaning

Our top quality Butcher Block is intended to be used as a true cutting surface. Clean it like you would any cutting surface, taking care not to allow water to remain on the surface for any prolonged length of time.

Periodically Reseal The Surface

Occasionally use mineral or vegetable oil to reseal and help preserve your block. Reseal only the area on which you frequently cut. Upon years of heavy use, it may become necessary to refinish the block. Sand off the finish and reseal using either a mineral or vegetable oil, or with “Good Stuff” Urethane Gel clear protective finish.

How Humidity and Temperature Affect Your Cabinetry

With proper care, Your new cabinetry will provide a lifetime of use and satisfaction. Proper care includes providing a wood-friendly environment. Many of the internal environmental issues that affect human comfort also contribute to a wood healthy environment. Specifically, controlled temperature and humidity with minimal changes from day to day and season to season will ensure your comfort and they will ensure the stability and life of your wood cabinetry.


  • Repeated short-term exposure to excessive moisture such as splashing of surfaces from a sink or even a single longer term event such as flooding WILL result in irreversible damage to wood cabinetry.
  • Steam, as from cook tops, crock pots and improperly sealed dishwasher doors, can cause problems as well.
  • Moisture should be wiped from surfaces immediately to minimize damage.• If the wood has a chance to absorb excess moisture, efforts should be made to dry out the wood including substrates immediately.
  • Avoid direct high heat and instead, use fans and dehumidifiers and moisture absorbing cloth and compounds.
  • Immediate attention reduces the amount of damage and also reduces the likelihood of mold and mildew.


  • Wood expands as humidity increases and shrinks as humidity decreases.
  • Unfinished (exposed) wood will exhibit the most dramatic changes
  • Even finished wood will change with long-term changes in humidity.
  • Finishes and other coatings such as laminate or foil temper humidity swings by slowing the transfer of moisture.
  • They do not stop it entirely.
  • Solid wood will dimensionally change more across the grain than with grain.
  • Plywood, particleboard, and fiberboard are more dimensionally stable.
  • Particleboard and fiberboard, exposed to water directly, will expand in thickness quickly and dramatically.
  • As wood expands (swells) and contracts with changes in humidity, the finish at joints will crack.
  • This cracking is universal but is much more evident on light colored paint than on stains or dark paints.
  • Regardless, this is the nature of product made from wood and not a reason for replacement.
  • Where humidity exposure is uneven, pieces may warp, cup or bow.
  • Most often, if humidity level is returned to a normal level and maintained for a period of time, these issues will disappear.
  • Extremely dry conditions can result in wood parts splitting and/or cracking in addition to shrinkage as described above.
  • The optimal humidity level is 35% to 50% relative humidity.
  • Extreme conditions (lower than 20% or higher than 80%) especially need to be avoided.

Humidity Continued (Dryness) While most focus is on too wet (damp) or too humid conditions, too dry conditions can be equally damaging to cabinetry.

  • Extreme dry conditions can lead to cracking in solid wood components.
  • Under dry conditions, the insert panels in panel doors will shrink and the panel edges will be exposed.
  • The exposed, unfinished panel edges will not match the finished surface of the rest of the panel and door.
  • This is not a reason for replacement, but is instead an indication that humidity levels are too low and need to be remedied.


  • Temperature variation can cause some of the same problems as humidity variation and the two are often interrelated.
  • Temperature increases cause materials to expand.
  • Temperature decreases cause materials to contract or shrink.
  • Sudden temperature changes cause more dramatic material changes.
  • More likely to lead to cracking, and splitting in solid wood.
  • More likely to lead to warping, cupping and bowing in any wood components.


  • Use dehumidifiers and/or air conditioners in summer to control excess humidity.
  • Use a humidifier to keep the air from becoming too dry in winter.
  • Maintain climate control during the off season of vacation homes to reduce the risk of damage.
  • Prior to installation of new cabinets, acclimate the cabinetry by moving it into the room it will be in when done.
  • This should be done well in advance of the installation.
  • If this is not possible, use an adjoining room of similar climate conditions.
  • Do not store in a garage, basement or other unheated or unconditioned space prior to installation.
  • Temperature and humidity are also affected by:
  • Proper outside drainage
  • Adequate insulation
  • Properly installed vapor barriers
  • Adequate and proper ventilation and air exchange.

Remember: Properly controlling temperature and humidity inside the house is healthier for the inhabitants as well as for the cabinetry and furniture within.

These basic maintenance tips will help you enjoy your new kitchen for many years to come. Have a kitchen maintenance question?

Give us a call or send us an email, one of our experts will be happy to help.