Most of us use some type of oven cleaner when our oven becomes greasy and dirty. This makes cleaning the oven a much easier job. But, should you use it for other areas of your kitchen? In fact, what is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops?
Firstly, let’s stress that oven cleaner is designed to help you clean your oven. And that’s it. It should never be used on other surfaces. In fact, if you read the label, oven cleaner manufacturers warn you not to use the cleaner on anything other than your oven or barbecue.
What Ingredients Are Contained In Oven Cleaners?
Most common oven cleaners contain ingredients that are corrosive and highly flammable. This should tell you immediately that they’re not suitable for cleaning kitchen countertops.
Here’s a list of ingredients that many oven cleaners contain:
- Sodium Hydroxide. This is a harsh and corrosive chemical that is designed to eat away and dissolve grease. It is also commonly used in paint strippers.
- Diethylene Glycol Alkyl Ether. This is a harsh solvent also designed to dissolve grease and other baked on stains.
- Monoethanolamine. A combination of ammonia and ethanol.
- Sodium Carbonate. An alkalizer commonly used in chlorine swimming pools.
- Turpentine. A solvent used to dissolve paint on brushes and other painting implements.
- Alcohol. A powerful solvent that will discolor many surfaces if left on too long.
When you apply this cleaner to your oven, a reaction happens as it comes into contact with the grease and grime. This reaction generally causes a bubbling as the chemicals in the cleaner eat away at the grease, oil and dirt.
When you think about this, why would you want to use it on your countertops?
The Ingredients In Oven Cleaners Are Toxic
Oven cleaners are considered toxic and harmful if swallowed or inhaled. So, if you were to use an oven cleaner on your countertops, there’s the danger of the food that you prepare coming into contact with the cleaner.
This is extremely dangerous for you and your family.
The harsh solvents in oven cleaners can also damage the surface of your counters, stripping away the protective layer. This then allows bacteria to lodge in the material your countertop is made from.
Oven cleaners affect different types of countertops in many different ways. Let’s explore the effects of using oven cleaner on various different surfaces.
The Effects Of Oven Cleaner On Timber Countertops
Most timber countertops have a sealer or varnish applied. This seals the timber and provides a smooth surface that is easy to maintain. It also makes the countertop non-porous. This means that bacteria and other food substances don’t get trapped in the fibers of the wood.
If you use oven cleaner on this type of surface, the solvents in the cleaner will penetrate the varnish and start to dissolve it. This will result in a gummy and sticky surface. The surface will then become porous and harmful bacteria can grow and thrive.
Once this happens, you’ll have to remove the varnish completely and then re-apply it to bring your counters back to their original finish.
The Effects Of Oven Cleaner On Tiled Countertops
Most tiled kitchen countertops will have a glaze applied to the top of the tiles. This helps to seal the tiles to make them impervious to bacteria and other particles. And, as you know, the tiles are joined using a grout.
If you happen to apply oven cleaner to your tiled surfaces, the solvents in the cleaner will eat away both the glaze and the grout. This is very damaging to your countertop, as you can imagine.
Plus, the grout is porous. This means that the oven cleaner will absorb into the grout and remain there. This exasperates the dangers of the oven cleaner coming into contact with the food that you prepare for your family.
Once this damage occurs, the tiles will need to be stripped and resealed. Plus, the grout will have to be removed and new grout applied. You can imagine that this would be quite an expensive exercise.
The Effects Of Oven Cleaner On Stone Countertops
If you have granite or marble countertops, you definitely shouldn’t use oven cleaner on these. Stone counters are generally slightly porous. This means that the cleaner will seep into the stone and remain there.
As you can imagine, having this toxic substance lodged in the stone can be quite harmful. In addition, if your granite countertop has a sealer applied, the oven cleaner will dissolve this. Generally, this will make the sealer soft and sticky.
In some cases, the sealer will harden again but you will end up with an uneven surface. In other cases though, the sealer will permanently remain sticky to the touch. This means it will have to be stripped right off and reapplied.
In addition, your glossy counter will lose it’s shine and become dull. The cleaner will also make your stone counters more porous once the sealer is damaged. This means it will stain much more readily. Plus, it will allow harmful bacteria to develop and grow within the stone.
The Effects Of Oven Cleaner On Formica & Laminate Countertops
Using oven cleaner on Formica countertops will have the least damaging effect compared to other surfaces. However, it’s still unwise to use the cleaner on these counters.
The solvents in the oven cleaner will damage the colors of your Formica. This will make your countertops dull and less impervious to staining.
The Effects Of Oven Cleaner On Stainless Steel Countertops
Oven cleaner is also not designed to be used on stainless steel countertops. The harsh chemicals in the cleaner will leave stains on your counters that will be impossible to remove.
Stainless steel counters usually contain a certain amount of aluminum. Sodium hydroxide (contained in most oven cleaners) is known to pit and discolor aluminum. This discoloration is bound to be permanent and your counters will never look the same.
The Effects Of Using Oven Cleaner On Quartz Countertops
As you know, quartz countertops are manufactured using crushed quartz and a resin. This makes them extremely tough and durable.
However, you should still refrain from using oven cleaner on your quartz countertops. The harsh chemicals in the cleaner will damage the resin, causing permanent discoloration.
How To Avoid Getting Oven Cleaner On Your Benchtops
Although we all have good intentions, sometimes accidents do happen. Here are some tips to help you avoid getting oven cleaner on your kitchen countertops accidentally:
- Never place you oven racks on your counter to spray them. Instead, take them outside and place them on some sheets of newspaper. Then spray them with the oven cleaner. Not only will this save your countertops but it’s also better to spray the cleaner in a well-ventilated area to avoid breathing in the fumes.
- If you’re using oven cleaner on your stainless steel pots or utensils, take them outside. Some stainless steel cooking pots and pans can benefit from using oven cleaner on them. But, don’t spray them on your kitchen benchtops. Instead, take them outside and place them on some newspaper before spraying.
- Don’t place the spray can on the bench after use. You should never place the can of oven cleaner on your countertop after you’ve just sprayed your oven. There’s always the risk of some chemicals spilling onto the outside of the can. This can run to the bottom and leave a nasty ring on your countertop.
If you follow these tips and vow to never spray oven cleaner on your kitchen countertops, your benchtops will reward you with many years of use.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does oven cleaner damage countertops?
Yes, oven cleaner is not intended for countertops due to the harsh chemicals in it.
What is the best way to clean kitchen countertops?
Warm soapy water and a soft cloth should be used to clean countertops, especially those made from natural materials like granite.
How do you remove oven cleaner from Granite?
Make up a mixture of baking soda and water and pat it on the affected areas. Don’t scrub with the baking soda as it’s an abrasive. Instead, cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight before rinsing off.
Oven cleaner is made for one purpose. That is to make oven cleaning easier and more effortless. It contains a concoction of harsh and corrosive chemicals that should never come into contact with your kitchen countertops.
It’s much better to use a gentle cleaner on your benchtops. You can buy specially made cleaners for all types of countertops. Alternatively, it’s easy to make your own cleaners from totally natural ingredients. You should also avoid using any type of abrasive material on your counters. Most of these will damage the surface or scratch the sealers.
Have you ever used oven cleaner on your benchtops without realizing the damage they would cause? How did you deal with it? Please feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments below.