Interior Kitchen & Dining Countertops

10 Ways You’re Accidentally Ruining Your Countertops

Perhaps the most important work surface in the home, the kitchen countertop is built to withstand food preparation, regular cleaning, pesky stains, and more. But despite their durability, countertops can suffer from costly damage whether they're made of laminate, marble, granite, or any other material. Here are 10 common ways homeowners unintentionally ruin their countertops, with tips on how to keep yours in tip-top shape for years to come.

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Excessive Weight

Many hard surfaces crack under pressure, and countertops are no exception. Placing heavy objects near unsupported edges or joints can cause cracks, ruptures, and fractures that are expensive and difficult to repair. You had better think twice before purchasing that extra-heavy microwave or standing on the countertop to reach a high shelf!

Related: 7 Countertop Materials You Can Actually Afford

Harsh Cleaning Supplies

Harsh cleaning products containing bleach or ammonia can cause stone and granite countertops to lose their luster. To prevent them from fading, stick with soap and hot water for daily cleanups.

Related: 8 Cleaning Mistakes Everyone Makes

Hot Appliances

Always check the countertop manufacturer’s recommendations before you put toaster ovens, slow cookers, and other heat-generating appliances on your countertop, because temperature changes can cause some materials to crack. When in doubt, place a trivet or cutting board between the appliance and the counter. 

Related: 9 Bad Habits That Are Killing Your Appliances

Acidic Foods

Because marble countertops are made of calcium carbonate, which is chemically a base, they’re especially sensitive to anything acidic. One simple splash of vinegar, wine, lemon juice, or tomato sauce will cause dull spots, known as etches, on the surface. If you spill anything acidic on your marble countertop, clean it up right away with water, then neutralize the stain by sprinkling baking soda onto it.

Related: 10 Unusual Tips for Your Cleanest Kitchen Ever

Water Buildup

Pools of water, especially mineral-rich hard tap water, can cause stains and white crusty buildup if left on the kitchen counter. After wiping up the spilled water, be sure to completely dry the countertop with a towel to prevent future problems.

Related: 8 Countertops You’d Never Believe Were Handmade

Cutting and Chopping

Chopping, slicing, and dicing directly on the kitchen countertop is a no-go—even if the surface is butcher block. Fine scratches can disrupt the waterproof sealant on most countertops, making them more susceptible to damage down the road.

Related: 9 Health Code Violations Hiding in Your Kitchen

Leaning on Edges

Splitting or peeling edges are common problems on laminate countertops. Reduce the stress on your counters by never leaning on the edges—and definitely don’t open a beer bottle on them!

Related: 7 Ways You May Be Ruining All Your Furniture

Hot Pots and Pans

Placing a hot pan directly on a countertop can cause discoloration or cracking. Use trivets or pot holders as a barrier, or risk creating a burn mark you’ll forever regret.

Related: 11 Ways You’re Accidentally Ruining Your Cookware


Everyone wants a sunny kitchen, but did you know that direct sunlight can cause laminate countertops to fade? Sunlight can also fade some sealants used on granite and wood countertops. Pull down a shade during peak daylight hours to minimize long-term damage.

Related: Lose the Drapes: 12 Better Ways to Dress a Window

Repetitive Motions

Do you always prepare food in the same spot? Over time, that section of the counter will suffer from scratches, etches, and other signs of wear and tear. If you have the space, try migrating to different parts of the counter regularly.

Related: 10 Gadgets for Every Lazy Cook’s Kitchen

Counter Those Bad Habits

After reading this consider what habits are contributing to the wear and tear of your countertops. While they’re made to be durable, you can help extend their life by practicing better cooking and cleaning practices.