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How To Put A Fresh Shine On Old Countertops

Bathroom, DIY, Kitchen
By Katie Carlson on Oct 17, 2016
How To Put A Fresh Shine On Old Countertops

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Countertops are the foundation of your kitchen. The cleaner and shinier the better, however, there isn’t a universal method for putting a fresh shine on your countertops. This is why it’s important to not only learn general cleaning techniques, but also instructions for cleaning your specific type of counter.  

The cleaning method you use to make them shine depends upon the materials in the countertop. From laminate to granite countertops, applying the right cleaning techniques will give your countertops back their shine. See tips for putting a fresh shine on old countertops and instantly improve the look of your kitchen.

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Solid Surface

Solid Surface

Solid surface is typically available in matte, semigloss and gloss finishes. These countertops do require a bit of extra care and maintenance and, depending on the quality of materials, can cost more than other countertops. See below for shining specifics depending on the surface type.


  • Clean the surface with soapy water and an ammonia-based cleaner (i.e. Softscrub, and avoid cleaners that leave behind residues.)
  • For extra shine, clean with an abrasive household cleanser like Ajax or Comet and apply gently with a sponge. The bleach in them doesn't hurt solid surfacing, but it does take five or six wipe-downs to get rid of the residue.
  • Do this once a month to maintain the original level of gloss.


  • Increase the frequency of cleanings with an abrasive cleanser and sponge.
  • It’s a process that’ll take time and repetition to reach a higher gloss.

If you want a super polished gleam, your counter will have to be refinished. This isn't an easy job, but it's usually easier and cheaper than replacing the countertop. If you're not willing to maintain a glossy surface, maybe you're better off leaving it matte or semigloss. If you’re looking for something quicker and shiner, then hire a professional countertop fabricator who can bring the surface to a high polish for you. This typically includes sanding and thorough polishing.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic Tiles

Tile countertops are popular in kitchens and baths alike. Keeping your tiles clean will not only make them look brand new, but also keep them sanitary. Bacteria and microorganisms get into the grout, which is a porous material. This has the potential to make your countertops unfit for hosting food.

Get rid of dirt and germs and avoid staining by wiping down your countertops after every use. You should do a deep clean two or three times a year. Follow these steps provided by DIY Network on how to clean ceramic tile countertops.

  1. Remove the day-to-day dirt by wiping off the countertop with a commercially prepared tile cleaner, or make your own cleaner.
  2. Start with the grout because it’s the dirtiest part of the tile counter. Tile doesn’t stain easily but grout does. Spray the grout with a grout cleaner. You can also use a mild bleach solution. It’s a good idea to wear gloves when using these types of products. They contain strong cleaning agents that could irritate your skin. 
  3. For deep stains, allow the cleaner to sit for 10 minutes. Use a toothbrush or other small scrub brush to brush the grout. This is where much of the dirt from daily use and, often, mildew accumulates. 
  4. Start at one corner of the counter and work your way across the surface, cleaning all the grout lines. Don’t scrub the tile itself with the brush because it could scratch the tiles. 
  5. Let the grout air dry, then seal with a commercial grout sealer. This will protect your grout from coming out and help it resist stains and dirt. 
  6. Should you seal the tile? If you have glazed ceramic tiles, you won’t need to seal it. Unglazed tile countertops will need to be sealed with a commercially prepared tile sealer to protect it and make it stain-resistant. 
  7. Finally, rinse the counter and grout with hot water. This will make a tile kitchen counter food-safe, and a bathroom counter germ-free. 

Knowing how to clean ceramic tile will keep your counters beautiful and germ-free. If you’re ready to replace your countertops, be sure to review the advantages and disadvantages and set a proper budget for installation before staring the process.

Painted Laminate


I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but the answer is, yes, you can paint laminate countertops. In fact, Giani makes stone paints for your countertops so you can get the look without having to spend the money to install new granite countertops. Efficiently add a new shine to your countertops using paint or purchase a countertop redo kit. Laminate isn’t as strong as other countertop surfaces, but they’re less expensive and can be protected from damage using the right prevention methods.

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Never cut directly on the surface. You should use a cutting board to protect your countertops. Clean the surface with a few squirts of mild detergent mixed in a bowl of warm water, then wipe down with a clean cloth. Rinse with another cloth and wipe it dry. Don’t let water flood the surface of laminate or get near seams, as this can cause the material to swell. Also, don’t use over-the-counter cleaners that contain residues, as these can leave a streaked finish on the surface.

Natural Soapstone Marble

Natural Stone

The most common natural stones used to make countertops include granite, soapstone and slate. Soapstone counters are highly stain and bacteria resistant and, unlike other natural stones, it doesn't require yearly sealing. It does require regular applications of mineral oil which will help to disguise any surface scratches, add shine and deepen the stone's color over time. Just apply a little Topical Stone Polish on the surface, wipe around and buff to a shine. It’s quick, easy and will last quite a while (depending on usage of the countertop), but does not build up, discolor or need stripping.

You may be able to restore the shine to dull granite countertops by removing the layer of soap film that builds up, instead of investing in a full kitchen remodel. Don’t clean your granite, limestone countertops, or marble daily with dish soap, or you’re bound to get dull granite counters, edges, and dull granite around the sink.

Your countertops lose their shine as well as their natural beauty. Avoid homemade concoctions and other cleaners that may have a harmful effect on your granite, marble or limestone. Your best bet to restore granite shine is to remove soap film with a commercially available, professional quality product made specifically for the purpose and use on natural stone surfaces!

Wood Countertops


Wood, or butcher-block-style, countertops are best for food prep and highly heat-resistant. They’re also easily susceptible to absorbing liquids and dirt. The best method for treating and caring for a wood countertop is to follow a few simple steps for bringing back their shine. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to restore the shine in your countertops than to replace them. Wash wood countertops immediately after using, especially when it comes to moisture containing stains, scraps and spills.

To get shiny wood countertops, start by removing stains with a fresh lemon. Wipe down and clean your countertop with a sponge and a non-toxic cleaner. After it’s dry, sand the surface lightly (with the grain) thoroughly with 120 grit sandpaper. Sand again with 180 grit sandpaper until the wood is smooth. Drizzle food-grade mineral oil liberally onto the counters and rub in well with an old cotton rag. Allow the wood to soak in for 20-25 minutes and then wipe clean.

Clean Countertops The Right Way

No matter what type of countertops you own, there are a few maintenance tips everyone should use for shiny counters. If something is spilled on your countertop, wipe it immediately. This habit will make your cleaning very easy in the long run. Remember that most spills can be easily cleaned with water and if not, then you can use detergent.

Use dry and wet clothes to clean fresh spills on the kitchen counter. A plastic or steel scrubber works well for removing tough spills. Don’t scrub too harshly on the surface of the countertop. You can clean countertops easily with dishwashing liquid and wipe it with a sponge to give the perfect finish to your counters. Kitchen countertop maintenance is really very easy, and obviously the better quality countertop material that’s installed in your kitchen, the easier it is to maintain.


Putting a new shine on your old countertops is a fairly simple task that’ll make a big difference in your kitchen. The most important takeaway is to use the proper techniques and cleaners for your specific type of counter. You don’t want to create more damage by using improper cleaning practices. Although it takes some time and a few resources, you won’t regret maintaining the look of your kitchen counters.

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