We all want to have the cleanest kitchen possible, after all, who wants to eat food prepared in an unhygienic environment. Many of us are well aware of the cleaning power of oven cleaner in removing hard, baked on stains, so using the same oven cleaner to clean your kitchen countertop seems like a great decision, right? Wrong! Read on to find out why this is very much not right!

Oven cleaners are harsh and can damage the protective finish on your countertops, as well as seep into the material and weaken its structure, making them more susceptible to food contamination. It’s one of the worst things you can use to clean your kitchen countertops.

What is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops?, Zazzy Home

What happens if you use oven cleaner on kitchen countertops?

Oven cleaners are designed to clean ovens, not countertops. Therefore, they contain chemicals that can erode your countertop’s finish or texture. Upon contact with certain materials, these harsh chemicals will also corrode the surface beneath the countertop.

Oven cleaners contain powerful chemicals – lye or sodium hydroxide. The fumes from these can irritate both your nose and lungs, cause severe burns to the skin and eyes, and corrode countertop surfaces (source: poison.org).

In addition, oven cleaners are designed to dissolve grease and stuck-on food from oven walls, when used on a surface where there is no grease or food residue,  these chemicals will simply erode the top layer of the stone or tile. In the case of metal countertops, oven cleaner will create a chemical burn and cause the unit to rust away if you continue to use it.

As well as being hazardous for humans, many oven cleaners are dangerous for pets as well (source: pethealthnetwork.com). If you have any animals in your household (even if they stay outside 90% of the time), you should be very cautious about what cleaners you use around them – read labels carefully. Some oven cleaners also emit a strong odor that can attract your pets, so keep the product tightly closed and out of reach.

If oven cleaner comes into contact with material like plastic or glass, it will melt the surface. Additionally, if left on a surface for an extended period of time, oven cleaner will break down the material’s properties so that it cannot be used anymore.

The chemical reaction that takes place when oven cleaner comes into contact with these surfaces can cause both to be irreparably damaged. If this damage is ignored, the material becomes a health hazard to anyone who comes into contact with it

Additionally, material that has been corroded by oven cleaner could eventually break and fall apart if enough time passes, posing a risk of injury to any individuals in the area at the time.

What is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops?, Zazzy Home

Why Does Oven Cleaner Damage A Kitchen Countertop?

Oven cleaners contain harsh chemicals that may eat through the protective coating on certain surfaces. This chemical damage often resembles dull spots or stained areas where the cleaner came into contact with the countertop surface; the exact damage will depend upon the chemicals contained in the oven cleaner.

1. Lye

The majority of oven cleaners contain lye and alcohol. Lye is a paint stripper and a drain de-clogger. Even more shocking about oven cleaners is that they are used to decompose the carcasses of animals.

It is a powerful cleaner; however, when used on kitchen countertops, it will destroy the finish. This goes for countertops that are made out of wood or natural stone too. The lye is very powerful, and it will ruin the countertops, and it’s not recommended for use on them. 

2. Alcohol

There are two types of alcohol, ethanol, and MEA. Oven cleaners can contain one or both of these types of alcohol. They are very strong, and they will discolor the countertops, especially on Formica, Corian, or vinyl. Tile or stone countertops will show less damage, however, still don’t expect your once great looking stone countertops or formica countertops to be quite as attractive as it once was!

What is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops?, Zazzy Home

The result of using oven cleaner on granite/marble countertops.

Applying oven cleaner to either granite or marble countertops is asking for a whole world of pain.

At the very least the oven cleaner will cause the top, protective layer of the countertop to go soft and sticky, leading to permanent damage which is not only bad from a visual perspective but also from a health point of view. The cracks in the surface will become a breeding group for all types of germs and bacteria.

At worst, the oven cleaner will react so badly with the top layer of stone that it causes pitting. This is where the surface literally becomes pitted with small holes all over its surface.

Another problem with oven cleaner is that it tends to strip the surface of its protective wax coating. This means you’ll have to reseal the stone, which in turn means another layer of oven cleaner will need to be applied – and the cycle repeats itself ad infinitum.

The result of using oven cleaner on wooden countertops.

If you have wooden countertops, it is best not to use oven cleaner on them. Although oven cleaner may seem like it would be safe to use on hard surfaces like granite, it will actually melt the sealant layer of the wood and leave behind an ugly, sticky mess.

Once the goo eventually dries (it will take days to dry properly), the result will not be pretty to look it. At best it will dry into a series of sharp, ugly to look at cracks and, at worse, the varnish may never fully dry properly at all.

Ultimately you are left with a surface that is not only ugly to look at but is also potentially dangerous to use for food preparation. So, don’t use oven cleaner on wooden countertops!

The result of using oven cleaner on Corian countertops.

Corian is a solid surface polymer made by DuPont that’s come to be known as one of the most durable kitchen surfaces available today. You can cut directly on it, heat pots over it without damage, chop acidic foods like lemons or tomatoes right on top of it… But avoid cleaning products containing lye (sodium hydroxide) or bleach (calcium hydroxide).

Sodium and calcium hydroxide are extremely strong bases that will eat away at the surface of Corian. They can discolor it or even damage it, although we’ve never heard of a reported case of anyone permanently damaging their Corian counters by using oven cleaner with these ingredients. Note that we’re not saying oven cleaner will damage the surface… We’re just saying it’s possible.

The result of using oven cleaner on painted countertops.

Oven cleaner is known to be a harsh chemical that can quickly damage painted surfaces.

To give a clue as to how much damage oven cleaner will do to your painted countertops, oven cleaner is often used as a method to remove paint from wood when people are restoring items or repainting them.

Oven cleaner is known to be an extremely harsh chemical that removes paint very quickly if it is applied to surfaces like countertops. So don’t even think of using it, unless you are purposely looking to remove the paint!

What is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops?, Zazzy Home

The result of using oven cleaner on laminated countertops.

Laminate countertops are by far the most popular kitchen unit coverings, thanks to their affordability and nearly unlimited range of styles and designs. 

Despite their lower costs, they are probably the least harmed countertop if you use oven cleaner as a way to remove stains. That isn’t to say they get off scot-free, however!

While, unlike the previous tops, the surface is unlikely to melt into a gooey mess, using oven cleaner on a laminated countertop will lead to discoloration in the work surface and lots of unsightly yellow stains on your kitchen tops.

Although this isn’t nearly as harmful to health as the results of using oven cleaner on wooden or granite tops, it is not an attractive sight to see whenever you walk into your kitchen. So what should you do if stains land on your laminated kitchen countertops?

Well, don’t use oven cleaner!

It’s just not worth taking the risk and doing something that might cause so much damage to your home and family. Instead, try using a top-quality mild abrasive cleaner or an organic solvent cleaner to lift the oil-based stain off the worktop’s surface.

Since this kind of cleaning product is less harsh than oven cleaner, there are no worries about melting, discoloration, or yellow stains settling in for longer periods.

What is the effect of oven cleaner on kitchen countertops?, Zazzy Home

If You Used Oven Cleaner On Your Kitchen Countertops

If you did, you might have stains that it left on them. There are some things that you can do, but some stains are just too hard to get out, and they will permanently be there. Here are some tips on how to remove the stains so that your kitchen countertop can look great again:

1. Vinegar

Vinegar will slow down the damage that ly can cause. Clean the counters with vinegar. If you have had any oven cleaners, touch them.

2. Baking Soda

Use baking soda and water to get rid of the stains. Just pat it on the affected area and cover it with some plastic wrap. Leave this on for a few days. Or, you can mix the baking soda with dishwashing soap.

Using oven cleaner on different types of countertop will lead to different results, but none of them are good!


Oven cleaner is an easy solution to remove tough stains on countertops, but it can also be a disaster waiting to happen. If you want your granite or wood surfaces left in pristine condition for years of cooking and baking, avoid using oven cleaner!


When it comes to kitchen design and maintenance, nobody knows more than Shannon Frost. She's been blogging about her kitchen exploits for years, and has learned how to get the most out of even the smallest of spaces. Her tips and tricks are invaluable for anyone who wants to make the most of their cooking area. Shannon's posts are a treasure trove of information on everything from choosing the right appliances to maximizing storage space. She also has a wealth of advice on creating a functional and beautiful kitchen on a budget. No matter what your needs are, Shannon can help you make your dream kitchen a reality.

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