Removing Stains From Kitchen Counters

(Originally published in March, 2007)

Here's an easy, non-toxic way to remove stains from kitchen counters!

In the past, I would scour my kitchen sink and use scouring powder on the counters. There would still be stains on the counters, so I did what my mom always did: put some bleach on the counter, then wipe and rinse. I disliked using bleach, since it has such awful fumes and I felt I had to rinse and rinse and rinse to get it all off the counter after the stains had faded.

So, here is my new, non-toxic method for removing stains from my counters. This idea was from 200 Fabulous Frugal Uses for Baking Soda by Vicki Lansky, which is also where I found my wonderful homemade scouring powder recipe.

First, here is a small section of my kitchen counter, prior to being cleaned using this method. These are tea and cooking stains.

Step 1: Pour or squeeze lemon juice over the stains. Supposedly a fresh lemon works best, but I save a little money by using the lemon juice from concentrate, and still get great results!

Step 2: After the lemon juice has soaked on the stains for a few minutes, sprinkle baking soda over the lemon juice. Wait another minute or so, while it stops fizzing. :)

Step 3: Using an old dish cloth or rag, gently rub the baking soda and lemon juice into any remaining stains. Stains should easily wipe off. Rinse your rag and counter top.

Ready to try it? Let me know how it works for you! :)

Note: Having never had granite counter tops, I'm not sure that lemon juice is safe for use on granite. While this method most likely won't harm your counter top, please test in a small area before you do an entire counter, just to be safe. :)

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I will try this! I have an evil, evil stain right next to my stovetop. And I actually have fresh lemons. Thanks!

Nikki from

I will definitely want to try this. Love the inexpensive, natural, effective approach. Thanks for sharing!

Okay, I'm going to have to try this! I have a lemon tree growing in my back yard so fresh lemon juice shouldn't be a problem. Thanks for the advice.

Thanks so much for this tip! I have to try this on a stain on my bathroom counter.


I will have to try that. I also use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It gets tea, coffee, and kool-aid stains out of my cabinets. But sometimes I'm out of them and forget...I always have those 2 things on hand! Thanks!

I use baking soda and hot water to remove the dark tea stains from my mugs/teacups. I place a mug/cup in the sink, add 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda into mug/cup, add hot water to fill and let it fizz - if the mug is in the sink it doesn't matter if it overflows a bit. I let it fizz and steep for a while, then "wash" the mug with bit of rubbing... And then wash it as I normally would.

I usually use Soft Scrub on my sink but I just don't think that stuff is the safest stuff around. I just use it because it seems to be able to clean everything, which is really nice. So glad there is a safer rememedy. Thank you!

I will have to give this a try, my white countertops have so many juice stains from the kids. In fact this would be a cool way to get the kids involved in cleaning up their own messes. I love the fact that it is chemical free.


Oh THANK YOU so very much! Nothing seems to work for me...I can hardly wait to try this!

I just use the magic eraser on our counter tops, but this is great for one I don't have one on hand. Thanks for sharing.

Today is 'clean the kitchen day' and I have lots of countertop stains, I will give this a try. Thanks for the tip.


Plus it leaves a nice, lemony-fresh scent that bleach or a harsh chemical just can't match. :)

What a great idea! I use soda for many things...but have never heard of pairing it with lemon for scouring!

Thanks for the tip!

That's great! I use Soft Scrub on counters but would prefer this.

Barbara H. @ Stray Thoughts

Great non-toxic tips for the kitchen! I use a scrubbing powder with bleach, and I worry about getting residue in the food even though I rinse well.

I will try this on my rust stains inside my kitchen sink, maybe it will work... I've tried comet with bleach but that doesn't seem to do it. Thanks :)

I think I have that same book. I don't know what I would do without vinegar, baking soda, and good old lemon juice!

My counters are starting to look like yours did.I am going to try it and I hope I have as good of luck as you did.


I use baking soda in my kitchen and bathroom almost daily.
In my kitchen: I use it to get stains out of my countertop... I've never tried the lemon/lemon juice... I'll have to try it. I clean my stove (inside/outside), my sink, really dirty dishes, stainless steel pots. I also use it for cleaning my microwave and my refrigerator... I also keep a small container of it inside to keep any odors out.
In my bathroom: I clean my bathtub, sink, and toilet with it.
Its great stuff!

Thanks for sharing, everyone! :) I never thought to use baking soda on a tough pan/cooking pot, but I have one soaking in my kitchen sink right now, and I think I may have to try some baking soda. :) If it works, that'd be so much better (for the pan!) than using a Brillo pad. I dislike Brillo pads BUT I get them for free and sometimes it's the only thing I can get to work. :|

On my kitchen window sill I keep a recycled glass jar that I have filled with baking soda for all my cleaning needs. I spray painted the metal lid and punched some nail holes in the top to create a shaker style opening. I use this on everything including my bathtub.In the kitchen I just wet my pan a little and shake on some baking soda and then do something else for a little while while the baking soda does its stuff. Then I just wash away the stuck on stuff with very little difficulty. I dislike harsh cleaners for health reasons and this is so very effective and cost effective. I love baking soda!! By the way, I really enjoy your site and all the useful information you have posted here. I hope this will also help. Take care...Staci

Thanks, Staci! I'm actually soaking a pan right now... I made cream of wheat for breakfast and the milk scorched a little... soaking in plain water doesn't really help that much (it's a stainless steel pan), so we'll see! :) I used to use plain baking soda for scouring, but now I use a scouring powder mixture that has baking soda in it, and it seems to work even better! :)

I will need to use this method on my counter after my cookie frosting party. We always have stains from the food coloring.

I am working on a series of homemade cleaning and toiletries items. I will have to link back to this. Mr Linky is down at my site as well. I think they are having some major issues. I hope it is fixed soon. I was planning to link to my post on Dutch pancakes and cleaning supply recipes.

Now, if only you can tell me how to remove Super Glue from my counter tops! *smile*

Joy @ Five J's

I have used finger nail polish remover with some success. This Halloween someone thought it was fun to super glue a penny to our car window, nail polish remover did the trick on getting it off. :)

Hi Tammy,

Great idea! Although I don't care for bleach, I end up using it for stubborn stains because I feel like there aren't any other alternatives.

I can't wait to give the lemon juice a try!

Take Care,


No Mr. Linky, (he is down at other sites today as well) so I'll leave my link for Spinach Artichoke Hot Dip here.

Great tip! :)

Mine is Real Food Grocery Budgeting:

Here's my Kitchen Tip Tuesday contribution...great to have you back, Tammy!!!!

My tip is a recipe for hot & sour soup with dulse chips.

Great tips,

Great Tip I love baking Soad for cleaning.
Here is my tip

Mr. Linky seems spotty, so I'm going to post here, too. I am making buffalo chicken dip this week. It's here:

Hi Tammy...I know it is many days after Tuesday but I kept forgetting to come back and comment. Thanks for the baking soda and lemon juice tip! Like many others, I've never used them together, though I do use baking soda for most cleaning needs. I'll have to try the hot water/baking soda trick for some stains in my pots and pans and mugs, too!

I really wanted to tell you that for nearly two years I've been making bread using your recipe. Until about a year ago I made it with regular unbleached flour and it was delicious but not so healthy. I switched to whole wheat flour and tried making it without any of the dough conditioners for a while. Not the greatest. So I started adding gluten, which was ok but very dense. A while ago, maybe this summer, I looked up your recipe again and tried squirting lime juice in with my liquids and omitting the gluten. It works beautifully! I seldom have fresh limes on hand, so I use the little concentrate limes from the produce section and give it a good squeeze (i really should measure how much i use) and the bread almost always comes out very nearly the same as with regular, processed flour. It's very good!

I just thought I'd let you know :)

Awesome tip will need to try that on my counters soon.

Thank you so much for posting an article about removing stains. Your method will cause less scratching than using the old stand by comet cleaner. the nail polish remover to get super glue off i will have to try.

Works GREAT! (and I tried everything). Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!!!!!! Strawberry stains gone!


I tried this on my counter stains and it didn't lift them. The stains are from packaging from a bread bag, superimposed into the counter.

This happened to my counter top once and I used the Soft Scrub Gell Cleanser, the stains came out within minutes.

Sounds like it'll work well! Anyone have any clue as to how to get old stains off of painted wooden cupboards?

I used the lemon and baking soda advice and it worked like a charm. Thank you!

This really worked! Thank you! :D

Worked great - took 3 minutes

Ed Lee

Worked great, a little concentrate lemon juice and sprinkle baking soda, three minutes later, rubs off with a cloth.

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