2020 has been, in a couple of words, a hot mess — but that doesn’t mean your counters have to be.
Time for some real talk: Counters are breeding grounds for all kinds of nasty germs. Just thinking about the foodborne and, well, poo-borne (the least popular installment, for reasons I cannot fathom, of the Bourne movies) germs that invade kitchen and bathroom counters make me shudder.
But that’s exactly why it’s so important to disinfect your kitchen and bathroom counters — because trust me, the toast crumbs that blend into your granite aren’t the only things that secretly live there. (*Cue dramatic dun, dun, dun*).
Can Preparing Food on a Dirty Kitchen Counter Make You Sick?
Okay, so I realize that the last couple of sentences in the paragraph above seemed pretty menacing, but the good news is that your counters are pretty easy to disinfect! And an added bonus? It doesn’t even take long! The bad news, though, is that food made on dirty counters definitely can make you sick.
In the University of Rochester’s Health Encyclopedia, they recorded, “Bacteria can spread anywhere in the kitchen . . . without you knowing it. If the bacteria get into food, they can cause foodborne illnesses.” They further went on to list countertops as one of the most common places illness is spread: “Most people use their countertops not only for food prep, but also for possibly contaminated items such as grocery bags, mail, or household objects.”
Because kitchen counters are used for so many things in addition to food, the likelihood of them housing germs is very high — but no need to worry, because armed with a rag and some disinfectant spray, you can get those counters germ-free in virtually no time.
What Products Won’t Cause Damage to My Kitchen and Bathroom Counters?
While some products like bleach are great for cleaning and getting rid of germs, depending on what your countertops are made of, they might not be the best option.
For example, granite countertops are typically made with a sealant to protect the stone — but that sealant can be weakened over time, especially when exposed to harsh chemicals.
To be safe, look up how to clean the specific material your countertops are made of — you can even get cleaners made especially for things like quartz, limestone, and granite. But if you’re feeling confused, remember that you can never go wrong with dish soap, hot water, and a hefty dose of elbow grease.
And if you don’t mind doing a little DIY, we have a fabulous solution for you that is perfect for disinfecting any countertop, including those made from stone! Here’s how to make it: In a 1-liter spray bottle, drop in about 4 tablespoons of isopropyl alcohol and 4 drops of dish soap. Next, fill the bottle with warm water and gently shake the solution. Voila! An amazing disinfectant made in less than a minute.
How to Prevent Extremely Dirty Countertops
The easiest and most effective way to prevent extremely dirty countertops is simply to clean them regularly — and if you’re wondering how to do that effectively, we have a few suggestions for you.
- Before using your cleaning solution, wipe off your counter with a microfiber cloth. (Depending on the material your countertop is made of, scrub pads might scratch its surface.) This will remove the various debris on your counter before you disinfect it.
- Allow the cleaning solution to sit for a few minutes (most cleaning solutions you buy from the store will you give you a set time) before wiping it down. This allows the disinfectant to have a chance to work its magic!
- If you’re looking to build a home or replace your countertops, you might consider selecting countertops that are less porous, like quartz, granite, and laminate and thereby less likely to harbor bacteria.
Our Top 5 Favorite Cleaning Products for Kitchen and Bathroom Countertops
While we love our suggested DIY disinfectant for treating both kitchen and bathroom countertops, there are also some great options you can get at the store (or order online). Here are our top five favorites for cleaning your kitchen and bathroom countertops:
1. Method Antibacterial All-Purpose Cleaner
Product Description: “This handy germ-buster is made with a formula that tough on grease and grime and easy on surfaces. Plus, you’ll be happy to know that it kills 99.9% of household germs—including influenza A flu virus, staphylococcus aureus, rhinovirus and salmonella enterica. So all that’s left behind is a fresh scent and a smile.”
2. Method Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner
Product Description: “If you’re not used to sweet-smelling essential oils + tough cleaning power in one, you’re in for a serious surprise. This patented disinfectant formula may smell like heaven, but it cleans like heck, and kills 99.9% of household germs (specifically: influenza A, staphylococcus aureus, salmonella enterica and E. coli). Made specially for the bathroom, this spray is optimized to target soap scum and hard water stains. Despite the tough guy routine, it’s gentle on hard non-porous surfaces. Surprises are nice. Unless you’re a germ.”
3. Honest Disinfectant Spray
Product Description: “A powerful antibacterial spray that kills 99.9% of the germs* your fam comes in contact with daily, and effectively fights against the cold + flu viruses. Made without harsh chemicals and chlorine bleach.”
4. Bona PowerPlus Antibacterial Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner
Product Description: “Clean without compromise. Bona's PowerPlus Antibacterial Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner cleans and disinfects with the power of hydrogen peroxide. This ready to use antibacterial cleaner kills 99.9% of household germs.”
Disinfecting your countertops can certainly feel like a chore, but it’s so important. By making sure your kitchen and bathroom countertops are germ-free, you seriously decrease your family’s risk of getting sick… and if any chore is worth it, that one certainly fits the bill.
What are your favorite cleaning products for disinfecting your bathroom and kitchen countertops? Tell us in the comments below!