Disinfecting Kitchen Countertops the Right Way

Young woman wearing a blue apron and gloves cleaning a dirty kitchen counter.

The kitchen is the heart of the home. Generations connect around the table, kitchen island, and countertop, discussing their days and tackling everything from homework to tough conversations. To keep your household healthy, make sure you properly clean surfaces before a meal and then disinfect your kitchen countertops after cooking.

How to Disinfect Kitchen Countertops with Supplies You Have at Home

While there are several specific countertop disinfectants on the market, you’ll probably find suitable options in your cleaning supplies cupboard. Both vinegar and bleach are effective cleaners.

Whether you’re cleaning with bleach, vinegar, or a dedicated disinfectant spray, we recommend that you start the same way. Before using your disinfectant, use a damp rag or paper towel to remove visible bits of food or sauce. If it’s your first timing use a new cleaning solution, consider testing it on a small part of the countertop to make sure it doesn’t stain. When you’re ready, spray the disinfectant on the entire surface, wait a few minutes, and wipe it clean with a textured cloth or sponge.

Those are the basics! Now, we’ll cover product-specific instructions.

How To Safely Disinfect Countertops with Bleach

Bleach is certainly a powerful chemical and should be used carefully around any surface where food is served. Still, when it comes to effectively disinfecting your cooking surfaces, it’s tough to beat bleach. Here’s how to use it.*

  • In a spray bottle or small container, mix 1/2 cup of regular bleach with 1 gallon of water.
  • Remove all countertop items, and then use a damp rag to wet the surface.
  • Wipe the counter with the bleach solution.
  • Wait five minutes. This gives the bleach time to disinfect the entire surface.
  • Use a damp rag to remove any solution left on the surface.
  • Allow the countertop to air dry before replacing items on the countertop.

*Note: Bleach is a harsh chemical and should be stored securely away from kids and pets.

How to Disinfect Countertops with Vinegar

White vinegar is a natural disinfectant. It contains acetic acid, which has antimicrobial properties and cuts through thin layers of grease.

The following solution and steps are equally useful for cleaning countertops*, tables, stovetops, and high touchpoints throughout your home:

  • In a clean spray bottle, combine equal parts white vinegar and water.
  • Wet the surface lightly with a damp rag to clean the worst of the mess.
  • Spray on your vinegar solution.
  • Wait five minutes.
  • Use a clean, damp rag to rinse the countertop.
  • Let the countertop air dry before replacing items on the disinfected surface.

One important note: Don’t use vinegar to clean granite or marble surfaces. Like bleach, the acid in vinegar (even when diluted) could damage these surfaces. Granite and marble countertops require a different care regimen.

What Is the Best Countertop Disinfectant?

Is there a substantial difference between natural cleaners like vinegar and chemicals like bleach or commercial disinfectants? Not much. No matter what you choose to clean with, you’ll always get the best results when you follow the instructions and give the cleaner plenty of time to disinfect the countertop surface.

A few additional tips:

  • When making your own solution, double-check that the vinegar or bleach ratio is strong enough to be effective.
  • Choose the solution that makes the most sense for your family’s available time. Some commercial cleaners only need to sit for 30 seconds before you wipe the counter. Others require a wait time of up to 10 minutes.
  • Consider researching how strong cleaning fumes may irritate some people’s skin or respiratory system. Vinegar is often the least intense product, but if you experiment with other cleaners, consider doing so with the windows open and always wear rubber gloves.
  • While you’re cleaning your countertop, consider cleaning glass surfaces too.

Keep Your Family Healthy with a Little Help

We all love a home-cooked meal. When you’re serving your family something delicious, don’t skimp on the cleanup. And while you tackle countertop disinfection, let Molly Maid take care of everything else. Trust us for recurring, occasional, or special event cleaning services that meet your specific needs and timetable. Schedule your estimate today.