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What is the Effect of Oven Cleaner on Kitchen Countertops?

You may have a stubborn stain, grease spot, or food deposit that seems nearly impossible to remove from your kitchen countertop. After trying a number of cleaning options, you may have wondered whether the oven cleaner in your cleaning supply closet might be the answer. It seems logical enough. Oven cleaners seem to be able to remove the most caked or baked on deposits inside your oven. It makes sense that they could tackle anything your countertops have to offer. However, using oven cleaners on your kitchen counter surfaces is not a wise decision.

Most oven cleaners rely on lye, or sodium hydroxide. Some may contain potassium carbonate and a detergent compound. These chemicals are well suited for loosening and dissolving baked on food deposits and other accumulated grime inside your oven, but that doesn’t mean they can be used for other purposes. Oven interiors are coated with chemically resistant surface materials that are specifically engineered for cleaning with somewhat harsh, heavy-duty cleaning solutions. That is not true of most kitchen countertops.

Oven cleaners rely on acidic reactions to break down grease and grime. That same chemical reaction can seriously damage many kitchen counter surfaces. So, what then are the effects of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops?

Laminated, composite countertops easily absorb harsh chemicals such as oven cleaning solutions. The absorbed materials become embedded in the countertop surface and easily penetrate into the wood composite material that is typically found beneath laminate countertops. From there, oven cleaner chemicals quickly erode both wood and glue beneath the counter surface, leading to a disintegration of material below the surface and eventual deterioration of the entire counter structure.

Oven cleaners have similar effects on varnished wood countertops. Lye or other heavy-duty cleaning agents easily penetrate the laminate or varnish coating on wooden counters and quickly erode the wood fibers that make up the counter’s structure.

Polished stone, such as quartz or granite, fairs only slightly better. Such surfaces partially repel harsh cleaning chemicals, but their ability to do so is diminished over time if oven cleaners are repeatedly used. Eventually, the outer protective coating on a polished stone surface is compromised, and the cleaning chemicals are absorbed into the underlying stone material. Once this occurs, a relatively rapid destruction of the counter can occur.

So, we see that the effects of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops is never positive. It is much wiser to use gentle, environmentally sensitive all-purpose cleaners or a cleaner designed specifically for your type of countertop surface. Many such products are available. Make the wise choice and do not use oven cleaners on your kitchen counters.

Check out which type of counter tops are best suited for you and your home here.