Kitchen Cleaning Facts: What Is The Effect of an Oven Cleaner On Kitchen Countertops?


Countertops are designed to take a lot of wear and tear, especially your kitchen countertop. But that does not mean we can use any cleaning solution on the countertop. We have often seen many people using oven cleaner to clean their countertops. If you are one of them, then you are not cleaning your countertop; instead, you are corroding it. And here we will tell you why.

Why Should We Not Use Oven Cleaner On Kitchen Countertops?

Oven cleaners liquefy the protective finish of the countertop and get into the material, damaging the appearance. Additionally, they also weaken the structure and increases the risk of food contamination. Out of many harmful cleaners for your countertop, oven cleaner is the worst choice. 

Along with being bad for your countertop, oven cleaners also negatively impact your health. You may not directly come in contact with these products, but you use oven cleaners to clean the countertop where you make a meal for your family. In fact, some of the ingredients in them are categorized as carcinogens by the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) of the United States. So indirectly, you are coming in contact with harmful substances, which are also harmful.

This is why it is recommended to clean your countertop with mild dish soap. Ceaserstone has a detailed section on how to take care of and maintain your countertops. Oven cleaners generally contain alcohol and lye; both these substances are corrosive and harmful. 

Lye is a common ingredient found in oven cleaners, drain de-cloggers, paint strippers, etc. Moreover, it is also used for decomposing animal carcasses. It clearly signifies how powerful lye is as a corrosive agent. When used on the countertop, it can strip the paint and sealing. 

Alcohol in oven cleaners comes in two forms that include monoethanolamine and ethanol. So a product can have one or both types of alcohol. But both these forms are potent solvents that can lead to permanent discoloration on the countertop, which is made from synthetic materials. While the effect of alcohol is not visible on the tiles or stone, it does impact the finish that the wooden countertop holds. 

Which Are The Most Affected Countertops From Oven Cleaners?

Although oven cleaners affect all kinds of countertop materials, the following are the most affected materials:

Stone Worktops 

Stone worktop materials such as polished granite, marble, etc., have high durability in comparison to other materials in terms of cleaning. But they should not be cleaned with oven cleaners as there might be harmful consequences. Stones are naturally sourced materials, and when they interact with harmful chemicals, the results are not good. The ingredients in the cleaner can numb the finish and tarnish the upper layer.

Quartz material is at the highest risk of discoloration and degradation. This is because quartz is a manufactured stone created by using added colours and pigment. The artificial colours are more vulnerable to colour damage when exposed to chemicals from oven cleaners. 

Stainless Steel Countertops 

Stainless steel is a common countertop material in a contemporary kitchen. They are strong and easy to clean, which is why we see them in professional kitchens. However, using an oven cleaner is not the way to test the strength of this material. Cleaning the stainless steel countertop using oven cleaner will lead to stains on the counter surface. Moreover, the stains can interact with the food prepared on the surface. 

Tile Countertops 

Tiles are not a common countertop material that is known for their durability. However, it is not recommended to clean tile countertops with an oven cleaner. The harmful substances in the cleaner can ruin the top finish, thereby impacting its appearance. 

Wooden Countertop

Using an oven cleaner on a wooden kitchen countertop is not a safe step. You should especially refrain from using such harmful cleaning products if the wooden surface is covered with a laminate-style veneer. Moreover, you might see a bubbling reaction once the wood is exposed to the oven cleaner. It can entirely ruin your countertop, and you may have to carry out a lot of repair work. 

What To Do About The Stains That Oven Cleaner Cause On The Countertop?

If you have already used oven cleaner on your countertop and want to do some damage control, here are some options:

  • A mix of water and baking soda: If the stain is formed on a wooden or granite countertop, you can use a solution of water or baking soda. Baking soda is a coarse material, so you should never rub it over the countertop. Instead, apply the paste over the stain, cover it with plastic, and let it stay there for a couple of days. 
  • Beeswax: Oven cleaners must have left a white stain on the wooden and laminate worktop. You can remove that by gently buffing the stain with beeswax. It helps restore the countertop’s shine and adds a protective layer that does not let water and bacteria seep into the surface. You can use tinted polishing oils for the job if beeswax is not available.  
  • Vinegar: You can treat the stained kitchen counter with vinegar if you have used oven cleaners over it. The acidic nature of vinegar will help neutralize the lye and slow down the damage.
  • Baking soda and dish soap: It is a great home remedy to treat light stains. Gently rub the mixture over the stained area using a microfiber cloth. Move along the direction of the concerned grain for maximum benefit.

The Bottom Line 

The strong chemical in the oven cleaners is perfect for removing all the grease and grime in the oven. However, using the same solution to clean your kitchen countertop is never a good idea. While you may be trying your best to keep your kitchen surface away from stains and spills, there are milder and safer ways to do the same. 

You can generally clean the countertop using mild dish soap and a soft cloth. Ensure you dry the countertop after you are done cleaning so that moisture does not seep into the surface, and if you are using a cleaning product, make sure that it is safe to be used on the countertop.