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Use cutting boards on counter tops to avoid scratching and gouging the surface. Do not set knife rack displays directly onto surfaces; knives may be returned to improper slots and ding counter top surfaces. Place knife holders over a cutting board or folded kitchen towel to shield them from direct contact with the counter.
Blot up kitchen accidents quickly using a soft damp cloth to remove spills caused by juices, coffee and foods that can stain and etch the surface. Many cooking oils can yellow counter tops -- always clean up oil immediately with warm water and a mild cleaning agent recommended by your manufacturer.
Use coasters under glasses, cans and bottles, and always use hot pads or trivets under heated pots and pans.
Do not allow water to pool on counter tops; laminate and wood surfaces can warp, while water staining may occur on many hard stone surfaces.
Avoid using vinegar and other acidic substances to clean stains on marble or stone counter tops. Vinegar can also loosen glues used in wooden counter tops and cause cracks and splits to occur.