What is the Effect of Oven Cleaner on Kitchen Countertops? 

 February 16, 2021

By  Dale Keese

Food splatters, hardened grease, oil, and persistent stains are some of the things that you need to deal with when it comes to cleaning your kitchen. If these stains find their way onto your kitchen countertops, wiping them clean is not enough. You will need to do a lot more to get kitchen counters to look clean, shiny, and attractive.

Food Preparation

Often, when faced with grease, oil, and other stubborn stains, people turn to oven cleaners for help. However, before you decide to use an oven cleaner on kitchen countertops too, take note that this type of cleaner uses heavy chemicals to remove grease, dirt, and grime. Just stop and think: what is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops?

Most oven cleaners contain lye or sodium hydroxide, which is a very harsh and hazardous chemical. You can also find other chemicals such as turpentine, ethanol, or MEA (monoethanolamine), which is a combination of ethanol and ammonia. Some oven cleaners may also contain soda ash (sodium carbonate), which is an alkalizer that is commonly added in swimming pools.

The other ingredients present in oven cleaners may include emulsifiers, fragrances, and foaming agents, to name a few. Because of this, you need to think twice before you use an oven cleaner on kitchen countertops.

The resulting product from these cleaning ingredients is a spray foam oven cleaner which helps to soften the grease and dissolves the charred remains of the greasy leftovers that cling to the walls and surface of your oven. This allows you to scrape them off easily, making the job of cleaning your ovens a piece of cake.

How Do Oven Cleaners Work?

When the powerful chemicals present in the oven cleaner come in contact with the oil and grease in the oven, a bubbling reaction forms, which eats away the oil, grease, and dirt. This lets you clean the oven easily. However, keep in mind that the same principle does not apply when it comes to cleaning kitchen counters.

Rustic Kitchen Design

Dangers of Using an Oven Cleaner to Clean Kitchen Countertops

It is not surprising that cleaning with a mixture of harsh and dangerous chemicals in oven cleaners can be quite toxic. What is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen counters? The toxic chemicals in the oven cleaner can come in contact with your food and even cause food poisoning. Using an oven cleaner on kitchen countertops, which you use to prepare your food, can be hazardous to you and your family’s health.

Although your kitchen countertops have a protective layer, it is usually very thin. It can protect the kitchen countertop from minor bumps and scratches. However, the heavy-duty oven cleaner with its stew of chemicals can damage and penetrate the protective layer of the kitchen countertops. Finally, the kitchen countertops will be completely exposed and further damages on the kitchen counters will be permanent.

The toxic chemicals in an oven cleaner may be absorbed when you use it to clean your kitchen countertops. This poses a health risk to you and your family when you work in the kitchen. It also poses a risk to the food you prepare when you use the kitchen counter. Using an oven cleaner to clean your kitchen countertops frequently will cause leeching that will build up in the long run and become a serious health hazard.

The lye contained in oven cleaners can strip or cause damage to stone kitchen countertops, which are commonly sealed with polyurethane. The lye can also damage the grout sealer used on tiled kitchen countertops. If you do notice oven cleaner spilled on the kitchen countertop, wipe it off immediately. Cleaning the area with some vinegar (which is acidic) can help to neutralize any lye residue.

Ethanol or MEA is a powerful solvent, which can cause the surface of your kitchen countertop made from Corian, vinyl, or any other synthetic material to be discolored permanently, especially if a spill is left unattended on a kitchen countertop for hours.

Sodium hydroxide releases hydrogen gas, which is flammable when it reacts with aluminum. This causes the aluminum to be discolored permanently. So, you must take care never to spray oven cleaner on an aluminum kitchen countertop.

Effect of Oven Cleaner on Kitchen Countertops

While you may believe that the oven cleaner will help you remove grease and stubborn stains from your kitchen countertops easily, stop and think, what is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops? The toxic chemical in oven cleaners can cause permanent damage on kitchen counters. The chemicals in the oven cleaner easily penetrate and eat away the top layer of the kitchen countertop and damage the surface permanently.

Let us now take a look at what is the effect of oven cleaners on kitchen countertops made of different materials.

Cleaning Spray

On Wooden Kitchen Countertops

Wooden kitchen countertops that have a clear or varnish coat are most susceptible to damage when you use an oven cleaner. The chemicals in the oven cleaner easily penetrate through the top layer of the kitchen countertop and soften it, making it sticky and gummy. While some wooden kitchen countertops may harden again, others will not go back to their original look and you will have to refinish the surface of the kitchen counters.

On Tiled Kichen Countertops

If your kitchen countertop is tiled, then it is not a good idea to clean it using an oven cleaner. If you leave the oven cleaner on the tiled surface for too long, the top glaze will be eaten away by the chemicals in the oven cleaner and the kitchen countertop can get seriously damaged.

On Stone Kitchen Countertops

Kitchen countertops made from natural stones such as marble and granite may be tougher and may be able to withstand the harsh chemicals in the oven cleaner compared to other materials. However, cleaning with an oven cleaner on kitchen countertops made out of natural stone is still not recommended. While these kitchen counters may not be seriously damaged by the use of an oven cleaner, the finish will surely lose its sheen causing it to become dull and spotted.

On Formica Kitchen Countertops

Just like kitchen countertops made of stone, Formica kitchen countertops are at a lower risk of suffering damage if you clean them using an oven cleaner provided you rinse and wipe the kitchen countertop immediately. However, there is always a risk of color damage.

If you have been doing this without considering what is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops, your kitchen countertops may be damaged already. There is a chance of restoring the finish on a kitchen countertop by polishing it. Also, you can oil your butcher block and seal the kitchen countertop to prevent further damage. These measures will also keep your kitchen countertops clean and lessen your cleaning efforts.

Family Dinner

Choosing a Better Alternative

It is always safer and healthier to choose natural cleaners over a chemical-based oven cleaner. Cleaning stubborn grime and grease stains the natural way can seem to be a lot of work; however, there are very easy ways to do it.

Here is how you can make your own natural homemade kitchen countertop cleaner.

  1. 1
    In a spray bottle, take four parts (400 ml) of water. To this, add one part (100 ml) white vinegar.
  2. 2
    Add a few drops of dishwashing soap to the above mixture.
  3. 3
    Close the bottle and stir it gently. Take care not to shake the bottle.
  4. 4
    Spray the solution on your kitchen countertop and then wipe it clean using a microfiber cloth.

It is important to understand what effects an oven cleaner can have on your kitchen countertops because this is where you prepare your food. It is always a good idea to choose a natural and non-toxic cleaner to clean the dirt and grime off your kitchen countertop because it is a safer and healthier alternative for a clean and sparkling kitchen.

About the author

Hey, I'm Dale Keese.. thanks for reading.. hopefully this article can save you some time and trouble with your sealing job. I'm also in the process of making some video walk-throughs for youtube so check back soon! thanks

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