When we think of kitchen and bathroom “workhorses,” thoughts turn to the dishwasher, oven, refrigerator, or our toilets and sinks. There’s one workhorse, however, that is often overlooked, frequently beaten up, unceremoniously spat on and routinely ignored: your backsplash.
The backsplash has evolved over the years into a major design consideration and the subject of anxious debate in kitchen and bathroom design centers. But at its heart, a backsplash is functional as much as it is a design accent. The backsplash you select needs to protect against water infiltration caused by splashes of liquid—be that water, splattered spaghetti sauce or the spewings of an unruly blender—while still looking fantastic.
Because a backsplash is both an important design feature and a utilitarian laborer, keeping it clean is essential to preserving the kitchen and bathroom you’ve come to love. While making sure your backsplash is free of coffee stains, grease and other residue is important, no one wants to spend any more time than necessary cleaning it.
To help you keep your backsplash sparkling and fresh, Marble Doctor offers these four backsplash cleaning tips that are sure to make your kitchen and bathroom shine.
Use a Traditional, All-Purpose Cleaner
This is the most basic approach to cleaning your backsplash and one that’s probably employed by most homeowners. These cleaners can be picked up at your local grocery store or Home Depot, and sprayed liberally on your backsplash. They generally do a decent job cleaning most backsplash residue with minimal effort on the part of the homeowner. Some all-purpose cleaner and a few paper towels will help you achieve the most basic level of backsplash cleanliness.
Tackle Grease with a Homemade Mixture
If you find that grease is a major culprit, creating a do-it-yourself mixture of baking soda and water can do the trick in no time. Mixing these two ingredients will form a thicker paste that you can then apply to the backsplash tiles; let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes and then wipe the tiles down with a wet sponge to remove the grease. It’s as easy as that!
If you have a stone backsplash, you’ll need to take a slightly different approach so that you avoid damaging the stone in the process. Grease can penetrate slate or stone if it isn’t sealed so be mindful when selecting these natural stone materials for your backsplash. To remove grease from natural stone, mix dish soap and warm water and apply it to the stone in an out-of-the-way spot first. (If it stains, no one will see it!) Then, after waiting a bit, scrub away the mixture with a gentle brush. Always be cautious when cleaning natural stone products. Better safe than sorry.
Vinegar Can Help Keep that Backsplash Sparkling
Using a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle can also help remove residue and grease. This is particularly helpful if you choose to avoid chemical products and want to take a greener, more natural approach to backsplash maintenance. Spray down the backsplash tiles, wait just a bit and then wipe them down. Keep a premixed spray bottle under the sink so that you can use this cleaning method every few days to avoid grease and stain buildup.
Cleaning Grout, the Dreaded Task
Dirty grout is the bane of any homeowner’s existence. It looks awful and it’s even more awful to clean. If you were smart enough to seal your grout lines, good for you! For most of us, unsealed grout lines mean tedious but rewarding cleaning work.
There are a variety of methods for cleaning grout, including applying baking soda and water paste, vinegar and lemon juice. You can apply any of these mixtures, wait for a bit and then gently scrub away, wiping down the lines with a wet cloth after the scrubbing is done. While this is labor intensive and boring, the reward is that your backsplash will look close to brand new, returning your kitchen and bathroom to its original, freshly finished splendor.
Cleaning your backsplash can be tedious but it is not a thankless job. Regular cleaning using products that are material-appropriate and effective can be very satisfying, as it restores the backsplash’s functionality while enhancing its role as a design accent and feature.
And if you’re too busy to keep your backsplash shining, Marble Doctor is always here to help. We offer a host of residential services, including grout and surface cleaning, stain removal, stone refinishing and stone repair, that will keep your backsplash and other surfaces in your home looking great year-round. Reach out to us today to learn more.