What Is The Effect Of Oven Cleaner On Kitchen Countertops

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While oven cleaners can be great at getting stubborn stains and grease off your oven, they're not designed as general kitchen cleaners by any means. The chemicals in the oven cleaner can be very strong, toxic, and corrosive, so you shouldn't use oven cleaners on kitchen countertops.

Why not?

Well, using oven cleaners on kitchen counters can harm your countertop material and cause it to corrode, fade, lose color, or just become unusable entirely. There's more than just that though, and we discuss it all in this article while giving you alternative ways to clean the kitchen counters.

You can read more on how to get rid of tiny ants in kitchen for a super clean kitchen!

So, what is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops? Let's find out!

Dangerous Oven Cleaner Ingredients

Your oven goes through a lot of stress. There are oil and food splatters, greasy baking trays, and incredibly high temperatures that bake all of that grease and grime into the oven more and more with each use.


As such, oven cleaner chemicals need to be STRONG in order to clean those oven walls effectively. It's not a good idea to use these potentially toxic chemicals to clean kitchen surfaces, especially on countertops made from weaker materials like wood or laminate.

Oven Cleaner Chemicals to Avoid

So what exactly are these toxic chemicals in oven cleaners ? Here are some of the main ingredients to watch out for:

  • Turpentine
  • Degreasers
  • Foaming agents
  • Crystallization agents
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Butane
  • Monoethanolamine (MEA)
  • Monobutyl ether
  • Diethylene Glycol

As well as destroying your kitchen surface and fading the color away, these chemicals can pose health risks by getting into your food and causing food poisoning.

Leftover oven cleaner residue on your countertops can react with food you're preparing (when chopping vegetables etc.) and cause chemical reactions that eat away at the kitchen surface even more so.

The Effect Of Oven Cleaners On Different Countertop Materials

So, what is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops?

Well, it depends on the countertop material we're dealing with. Oven cleaners contain ingredients that react differently with different materials, so your surface could degrade or come out relatively unscatched depending on what it's made from.

Here we look at what is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops made from stone, tile, stainless steel, Formica, and wood!

Stone Countertops

Stone countertops are prone to tarnishing because of oven cleaner ingredients like sodium hydroxide, though they tend to survive the effect of oven cleaners much better than most surfaces.

This is because most stone kitchen counters are natural stones – stones that came from the Earth naturally. Granite countertops and marble countertops are examples of natural stones that are naturally inert and therefore difficult to discolor.

But that doesn't mean it's impossible!

However, quartz countertops are at the highest risk of degrading and color damage. This is because this kitchen counter style is an engineered stone or “manmade stone” that is put together artificially using specific pigments to add color.

These artificial colors are much more prone to color damage thanks to the harsh effects of oven cleaners. Natural rocks tend to be much tougher in these scenarios.

Stone Countertops

Instead, you should try this

Stone countertops require slightly different cleaning depending on the type of stone, so be sure to read up on your specific stone material (granite, marble, quartz, etc.) to see what you need to do to clean it.

Never assume – always check!

Nonetheless, you're usually okay to use mild dish soap and warm water on stone countertops. You can also get cleaning products designed to work with specific surfaces like marble and granite.

If you've got granite countertops, you should also seal them regularly with a granite sealer. This solution soaks into the stone and forms a protective barrier that makes the countertops much harder to stain.

Tile Countertops

While tile countertops aren't very common, many homeowners turn to oven cleaners when they're trying to clean these countertops because they get frustrated at the difficulty of cleaning the grout lines.

While it may seem like the chemicals in the oven cleaner could help clean your dirty grout, it's going to do more bad than good, trust us.

When you spray oven cleaners on this surface, it will eat away at the top finish and start to cause problems with the grout after a while.

When it comes to cleaning tile countertops, oven cleaners are not the answer.

Instead, you should try this

Instead, make a solution of warm water and dish soap in either a spray bottle or a small mixing bowl. With a sponge or cloth, clean the tiles vigorously until they look good as new.

For the grout, consider specialized grout cleaning tools or an old toothbrush or toothpick if you want to try a more DIY route.

You can also buy specialized tools that take the very top layer of the grout away, leaving you with a fresh new clean grout surface to keep clean going forward.

Stainless Steel Countertops

Stainless steel countertops are common in modern kitchens and professional kitchens for restaurants, but what happens if you attempt to clean them with oven cleaner spray?

Usually, the stainless steel will get stains from the chemicals in the oven cleaner, though it depends on the formulation.

Some steel counters may survive the spray, but it's not worth risking it and the chemicals can get into food prepared on the surface later on.

Instead, you should try this

Simply use some warm water and dish soap to clean these kitchen countertops regularly – it's that easy.

Stainless steel is an excellent kitchen countertops material because it's difficult to penetrate and stain, so cleaning it is usually pretty simple.

For tougher stains or deeper cleaning, try combining hot water and white vinegar in a spray bottle, allowing it to sit for a few minutes, and then cleaning it away with warm soapy water.

Formica Countertops

This laminate-esque kitchen countertop surface is one of the toughest surfaces you can get, but it's still vulnerable to the effect of oven cleaner.

No countertop is safe!

Formica countertops may fade and see damage to their color and finish if cleaned with oven cleaners, so it's not worth risking this expensive countertop's appearance.

Instead, you should try this

All-purpose kitchen cleaner usually works very well on Formica kitchen counter surfaces, as well as the old classic of mild dish soap and water.

The Formica corporation also recommends a few other cleaners for removing stubborn stains from their countertops, including:

  • Liquid Dish Soap
  • Formula 409
  • Original Formula Pine-Sol
  • Windex

So you should avoid using oven cleaners on kitchen countertops made from Formica, but Windex is fine. Go figure!

Wooden Countertops & Butcher's Blocks

DO NOT use oven cleaner on kitchen countertops made from wood, especially if the wood countertop has a thin laminate-style veneer covering the wooden surface.

This goes for wooden butcher's blocks too.

If used with these wooden countertops, you can get a bubbling reaction that turns the surface into a strange gummy paste that can ruin the wood countertops entirely.

You may need to carry out extensive repairs on your wood countertops if you clean with oven cleaner – don't take that chance.

Wooden Countertops in kitchen

Instead, you should try this

Use the classic trick of mild soap and warm water to clean your wooden countertops. Spray it on with a spray bottle and wipe it down with a clean cloth.

Leave to air dry or soak up the excess moisture with a clean paper towel.

NEVER submerge wooden countertops or butcher blocks in water – this can penetrate the wood too deep and cause issues with mold, moisture, and rotting.

Once your wood countertops are clean, consider using specialized wood oil to preserve the material and enhance the appearance.

What To Do If You've Used Oven Cleaner On Kitchen Countertops

Okay, so you didn't know about the effects of oven cleaners on kitchen countertops and now you've used it to clean them and you're panicking.

Don't worry – it's not the end of the world. There are some things we can do to help your kitchen countertops survive the oven cleaner.

Polish the Countertops

If your countertops are made from stone, tile, and basically anything that isn't wood, you should clean them with regular countertop cleaning products and then polish them thoroughly.

It's worth a try!

This doesn't always work, but polishing your kitchen countertop can help to bring back some of that intense color and finish that the oven cleaner may have eroded away.

Oil up the Wood

If you've got a wood countertop or butcher's block that's been cleaned with oven cleaner, be sure to clean the surface thoroughly with soapy water or specialist wooden countertop cleaner first.

After the surface is clean and dry, use specialized wood oil to help get the color back into the kitchen counter and make it look good as new.

How To Remove Stubborn Stains From Kitchen Counters (Without Oven Cleaner)

Okay, so you're desperate to remove some stubborn stains from your kitchen countertop but you now realize that the chemicals in oven cleaner products are not helping you.

What should you do?

Baking Soda Method

For stains that refuse to leave your kitchen countertops, look into the classic baking soda method:

  1. Combine equal amounts of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) & white vinegar in a small bowl
  2. Mix the 2 ingredients until they form a paste
  3. Apply liberally to your stained kitchen countertop
  4. Allow the mixture to sit on the stains for 24-48 hours

This mixture effectively soaks up the stains from the kitchen countertops, helping you to get rid of stains without the harsh chemicals used in oven cleaners.

Some homeowners also put plastic wrap over this mixture to help protect it and remove the stains even more effectively. This method works on most kitchen countertops regardless of material.

baking soda
Image credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

Bleach & Cotton Ball Method

Another common cleaning method people use for stains is the bleach and cotton ball method.

Simply take a cotton ball and dip it into mild bleach. Then rub the spot with the bleach on the cotton ball for a while, helping to gently bleach the stains out of the kitchen countertops.

Once you're done, clean the area as normal.

Don't use too much bleach and stop immediately if you see any discoloration – remember that bleach can strip color out of things, so it can be great for removing color stains but it can also go too far and remove the color from the countertop itself.

Good luck!

Bottom Line – Don't Use Oven Cleaners On Your Kitchen Countertop

Hopefully this article has shown you that oven cleaner on kitchen countertops is a no-go.

While the harsh chemicals in oven cleaners are great for all that baked-in grease and grime in your oven, the effect of oven cleaners on kitchen countertops can be devastating and may even ruin them entirely.

Obviously, we don't want that.

Most of the time, soapy water and a little elbow grease will do the trick. You should also try purpose-built countertop cleaning products and DIY solutions for stain removal like the baking soda and white vinegar trick.

However you clean your kitchen counters going forward, we hope we've convinced you that using oven cleaners on these household surfaces is a VERY bad idea!

Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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