Once you've upgraded your outdoor dining experience by adding outdoor kitchen countertops to your space, the next step is to keep them cleaning and looking like new for years to come. The Grillnetics outdoor kitchen team wants to help, so below you'll find everything you need.
Granite, quartzite, concrete, and marble are four of the best countertop materials for your outdoor space, but each require maintenance and care to avoid premature weathering by the elements. As you might expect, each material has its own requirements, which we detail below, but you can also help by adhering to the following best practices: 1) always use a cutting board when chopping or dicing foods 2) avoid scraping stoneware or other rough materials along the surface 3) be cautious with wine, oils, and vinegars, which can all cause discoloration.
The first step is to seal your granite countertops. The market offers lots of different sealers, so your choice will likely hinge on what you find in your own research and preference. Your best bet is to choose a sealer that is water-resistant, since your outdoor kitchen will be exposed to the elements. Most of the high-quality sealers contain fluorocarbon alphatic resin, which is often good for several years. Mid-tier cleaners will contain silane or siloxane, which should be good for 2-3 years, maybe more. Lower-tier sealers, the ones that contain silicone or linseed oil, can do more harm than good.
For cleaning, it's best to avoid any harsh or acidic cleaners -- anything that contains vinegar or citrus juice. Ammonia-based cleaners and bleach are also a no-go. Following a three-tier cleaning procedure can keep your outdoor granite countertops in top shape.
- Every day cleaning: a mild dish soap and hot water will be your primary weapon against grit and grime. Remove dust, pollen, and other debris and then wipe down with a soft (microfiber) cloth or sponge.
- Tougher cleaning: for more stubborn stains and spills, isopropyl alcohol mixed with water in a 1:1 ratio will be a formidable solution. Spray the solution onto the trouble spot, leave for up to 5 minutes, and then rinse and wipe with a soft (preferably microfiber) cloth.
- Deep cleaning: for the deepest cleaning, resist the temptation to try a high-power cleaner with harmful components that will cause long-term damage. Mixing baking soda and water (or a tiny bit of hydrogen peroxide) and let sit overnight.
Concrete countertops are known for their strength and durability. The following maintenance and cleaning program will go a long way toward keeping them looking like new:
- Cleaning: regular ol' soap and water will work best to get your concrete countertop clean. Apply the dish soap and water to a sponge, and give your counters a good scrubbing.
- Disinfecting: the second step in maintaining your concrete outdoor countertop is to disinfect it. Mix 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol with 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Spray your counters down, and wait 2-3 minutes.
Quartzite, of course not to be confused with man-made quartz, is an extremely durable material that can be preserved pretty simply with a regimen of cleaning stains and regular cleaning. In order to avoid staining, make sure to frequently seal the stone’s surface and clean spills immediately. Your best bet is to use a cleaner that was formulated specifically for countertops made of natural stone.
Make sure that you clean your countertops every day or at least whenever you cook. Take a damp cleaning pad, coat the cleaner evenly, and rinse. Avoid usage of products that come with rough surfaces, like scouring pads or cleaning brushes. Use a dry cloth or a paper towel to dry the surface.
By sealing your concrete countertop twice a year, you can ensure that your countertop looks as good as new.
Marble countertops are often preferred for indoor settings, which makes prevention critical to preserve your addition to your space. First things first, don't use your marble countertop until it has been properly sealed. Once it's sealed, invest in some sort of covering to keep your marble countertops away from the elements, including direct sunlight.
If you do get a stain on marble, you can rub on hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of ammonia to remove it. Ammonia is a weak acid, so don’t use more than a couple of drops, just enough to dissolve the stain. Clean the stain immediately after the hydrogen peroxide and ammonia scrub with warm soapy water and rinse afterward. Use just enough to dissolve the stain.