Sometimes the kids leave sticky cookie dough out on the counter, sometimes we just get lazy and forget to wipe down. But every once in awhile everyone gets some gross food stuck on the counter and the washcloth and your fingernails just aren't cutting it. You also want to be careful to not scratch up your gorgeous granite – so you can't break out the Brillo pad either. Here are some ways to get it off.

  1. Soak it. Mix 1 part dish soap and two parts water and leave a soaked washcloth over the offending spot. Come back a few hours later, and hopefully it has softened up enough to easily wipe off. This way you don't have to sit there scrubbing. The downside is, your counter is going to get pretty sudsy. Water and baking soda with vinegar is another good option. Letting it bubble will increase the strength for use on glass stove tops.
  2. Use a razor blade. A little razor blade used carefully, won't scratch your counter. But it will scratch off crusty food faster than you think. It's especially useful on glass-top stoves. This probably isn't a great option for laminate countertops, however, no matter how convincingly granite they look.
  3. Use a toothbrush. A toothbrush is tough enough to get in some good rubbing action but soft enough to not screw up your counters.
  4. If you've gotten something like wax on your countertop, it might be helpful to heat it up by ironing the spot through a piece of fabric and then you can wipe it away. Using hot water on any spot will be really helpful.
  5. Goo-gone or WD-40. Sometimes it's time to bring out the special chemicals. They cost money, and you might not like using chemicals in your home. But they will do the job quickly and effectively. This may be a last resort for some of you – but it's there.
  6. Just wipe down ahead of time. Cleaning while you cook is the way to go during any cooking project. If gives you something to do while waiting for the oven to heat up, it ensures nothing gets too gross and sticky, and you will always have a clean surface to work with.

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