Handyman: Cleaning your home’s countertops and floors


Countertops and flooring are two of your home’s surfaces that receive plenty of use and, often, abuse. That means they also require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep these horizontal surfaces looking their best. Unfortunately, there isn’t one cleaning product that will work on all surfaces.

“When cleaning countertops, it is important to use a cleaner that is made specifically for the type of surface you are cleaning,” said Gregg Laviolette, owner of Stone Restoration Services, (248) 220-1672, ( Laviolette said surfaces like marble, granite, limestone, quartz or slate need a cleaner with the proper pH balance so it doesn’t damage the surface, such as Aquamix from Customer Building Products, ( Another company is Stone Care International, ( Conversely, he said a more generic cleaner like Simple Green, ( can be used to clean Corian or Formica.

Laviolette said it is also important to prevent permanent damage, such as blotting up spills quickly, avoiding scratching the surface with dishes or utensils, and using coasters under glasses, particularly those with acidic liquids like wine or orange juice that can damage the surface if spilled.

One kitchen surface that often gets overlooked is the glass cooktop on a stove. To clean it, I recommend using Hope’s Perfect Cooktop cleaner ( or Cerama Bryte ( to remove those annoying burnt-on stains.

Just like countertops, your floors also need to be cleaned using the appropriate product. For tile or stone floors, both Armstrong’s Once ’n Done ( and Quick Shine Floor Cleaner from Holloway House ( are good general cleaners. For products that are specifically developed for stone or tile, consider DuPont Stone & Tile Floor Cleaner, ( or Marbalex from Stone Care International.

If you have ceramic floors with sanded grout, you may need more than just basic cleaning products to bring it back to its original look. Laviolette said SRS uses commercial hot-water extraction equipment to clean sanded grout flooring, and the process can usually get it looking almost as good as the day it was installed.

SRS has a Stone and Tile Care Guide that you can download from their website that provides tips on maintaining and cleaning all your home’s countertop and flooring surfaces.

For vinyl or linoleum flooring that has lost its luster, a good deep-cleaning with Armstrong New Beginning vinyl floor stripper followed with a coat of Armstrong Shine Keeper or Holloway House Quick Shine to restore the gloss.

While ceramic tile, stone surfaces, vinyl and linoleum are very popular in homes today, many people also have hard wood and laminate flooring that needs cleaning. For hardwood floors that are dull, use a quality floor cleaning system such as Bruce Hardwood and Laminate floor cleaner ( or the Bona Pro Series Hardwood Refresher ( to restore the shine.

You can also get professional hardwood cleaning products at Crandall Worthington in Ferndale, (248) 398-8118.

For laminate flooring such as Pergo, the flooring companies usually recommend sponge-mopping the floor with a mixture of 1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon warm water. However, do not use soap or detergent based cleaners, wax-based products or any type of polish on laminate floors as they leave a dull, filmy residue. If you don’t want to mix your own cleaning solution, you can use floor cleaners like Bruce Hardwood and Laminate floor cleaner or Quick Shine Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner from Holloway House.

Because countertops and floors are such dominate features in a home, it makes sense to keep them looking good. Make sure to use the right products to clean them properly and not damage them.

For more home improvement advice, call “The Handyman Show with Glenn Haege” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can also be heard on more than 135 radio stations nationwide.