Beautiful calcium-based natural stones, also known as onyx crystals, are used to make onyx countertops. These countertops offer a striking focal point in your kitchen or bar area as well as bathrooms, showers, backsplashes, and even jewelry.
Onyx countertops are an expensive investment that will need your care to keep them in pristine shape. This means that you will need to make sure that you clean and maintain them well for longevity.
Keep reading to learn about how to clean and care for onyx countertops.
How To Clean Onyx Countertops
When installing or using onyx countertops, it would be a good idea to gather the following to have on hand at all times. You’ll be happy to have these nearby in the event of an unexpected spill.
What You’ll Need
- Soft cleaning cloths, preferably white
- Paper towels
- Neutral pH cleaner such as a mild hand dishwashing detergent or castile soap
- Two empty and clean spray bottles
- Large bowl or pot that you can pour liquids from
1. Immediately clean up any spills
Spilled liquids can seep into onyx since it is a porous material. Also, lighter-colored countertop counters will show stains more easily. Blot up spills by placing a paper towel or soft cloth on top of it.
Do not wipe, which will cause liquids to spread and rub into the pores. Blot only, using multiple paper towels or cloths as needed.
2. Spray clean water to remove debris
Fill a spray bottle with clean water. Once all spills are removed from the surface, spray down the countertop with water. Wipe down the surface with paper towels or soft cloths, removing any food debris, crumbs, and dust. It is okay to gently wipe since you are not using acidic or alkaline liquid.
You may wish to label this bottle with water so that you use the same clean bottle again in the future.
3. Create a mild soap solution for a deeper clean
Prepare a mixture of one cup of mild soap with 3 cups of water in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into a new clean spray bottle. (Label its contents for future use.) Spray onto the surface of the countertop. If you wish to have more control over the amount of cleaner on the countertop, spray it onto the cloth, and then apply with the cloth instead of directly from the spray bottle.
Use a cloth and the mixture to wipe down the surface again. Rinse the countertop clean by spraying on fresh water, removing any soap residue with the clean water, and more clean cloths.
4. Use clean cloths to dry the surface
Go over the surface with clean and dry cloths to absorb any remaining moisture. Since the surface is porous, try to remove as much moisture as you can to allow it to dry more quickly.
Choosing A Neutral pH Cleaner
Calcium-based surfaces, like onyx countertops, are porous (soft) and can react more easily to acids, such as those found in vinegar, lemon juice, wine, and coffee. Their porosity also allows them to absorb liquid more readily.
Regular and homemade cleaners can also be too acidic or abrasive for use on these kinds of countertops. Acidic liquids can cause etching on the surface which will result in a dulled appearance.
Cleaners with a neutral pH level are best for use on onyx countertops.
Chemicals are rated on a scale indicating if a substance is acidic or alkaline ranging from 0 to 14. A rating of 7 is neutral. It can be difficult to find a purely neutral cleaner, and generally, pH neutral cleaners have a rating between 6 and 8.
Here are a few examples showing pH ratings of common household cleaners:
|Vinegar: pH of 3||Mild Dish Soap: pH of 7-8||Chlorine Bleach: pH of 11-13|
|Lemon Juice: pH of 3||Stone Cleaner: pH of 7-10 (check the label before purchase)||Oven Cleaner: pH of 11-13|
|Toilet Bowl Cleaner: pH of 1-3||Baking Soda: pH of 8-9|
Mild hand dishwashing detergents or castile soap typically contain surfactants to dissolve grease and dirt. You can make a mild mixture with water by mixing one cup of soap with three cups of water or use a comparable ratio for more or less.
A neutral cleaner can be used and applied by putting the cleaner on a soft cloth and then using the cloth to clean the countertops. Do not pour or spray the cleaner directly onto the surface.
Soft cleaning cloths ensure you are not using an abrasive material. White is a good option to show when the cloth becomes dirty and to prevent any transfer of color to your countertops.
Maintaining Onyx Countertops
In addition to keeping your countertops clean and free from spills, there are other things you can do to promote longevity.
Apply A Sealant
Sealing onyx countertops should be done by a professional that knows how to use the right products. Sealing onyx is different from sealing granite or marble. A sealant may not make the countertop stain-resistant, but it will slow down the rate of absorption keeping it shiny and more durable.
Depending upon how often the countertops are used will affect the need for sealing. Generally, it should be done every one to three years.
This video shows a professional cleaning and sealing of stone countertops.
Polish To Remove Blemishes
A damaged onyx countertop is going to be costly to fix, so it is best to keep it in shape with excellent care. Any type of countertop is going to be prone to stains, scratches, and imperfections, but onyx can maintain its shine with regular polishing.
It is best to use a professional who knows how to remove scratches from onyx countertops using onyx polishing products. Or, research the correct products to use on this type of material to keep it smooth and shiny.
To help protect your countertop from scratches, use a cutting board on top of the surface for food prep. Be aware of how the countertop is being used and make sure the rest of your household takes the same onyx care and caution as you.
Generally, scratches are removed through the use of soft buffing tools, wax, polish, and sealing.
Pros and Cons of Onyx Countertops
This lavish and unique stone is popular, yet expensive and requires a higher level of care. You may wonder if it is worth it. Consider the following pros and cons to help you make a decision that is best for you and your home.
- Aesthetics: It looks amazing! It comes in a variety of colors such as blue, green, yellow, red, beige, and cream with unique vein and swirl patterns.
- Durability: If maintained well, these countertops can last up to 100 years.
- Translucence: Onyx is translucent making it a unique material for use with backlighting. It also reflects making a shiny surface that looks new and clean.
- Weight: Onyx is easier to handle and fabricate for creative uses in the home both vertically and horizontally as compared to traditional weights of stone.
- Cost: Costs for both the onyx material and the installation are higher. Professionals with experience with onyx are needed for installation.
- Interestingly, onyx is considered a rare stone since it is not found in the depths of the earth and is formed by water full of calcite as it sprouts from the earth and deposits minerals for its formation.
- Repairs and maintenance will cost more overall as well.
- Porosity: Onyx is porous and more fragile than other countertop materials. So, spills and misuse could result in scratches and blemishes and worse, cracking.
- Maintenance: Regular cleaning, sealing, and polishing must take place to promote longevity.
Read our full guide on the pros and cons of onyx countertops.
We hope this guide helped you in learning how to clean onyx countertops. If you put in the extra effort and investment to keep them in pristine shape, you will have a beautiful focal point in your home for many years of enjoyment.