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We’ve all been there – a cup of coffee is just what you need in the morning but you’re a bit groggy before you’ve had your first sip, and oops! you spill it on your white countertop.

One of our readers writes in that she’s had success cleaning these coffee stains with bleach in the past, but now that’s not working. On top of this, her teenagers are adding orange juice spills to the mix.

What has probably happened is that repeated applications of bleach have damaged the countertop. Bleach can eat at the surface in a way that you may not even be able to see. It makes the surface rougher and rougher. These rough surfaces have millions of tiny crevices and grooves that trap stain makers like coffee and OJ, making it nearly impossible to remove. Ultimately, you’ll have to replace the countertop.

For those of you who have not yet resorted to bleach and begun damaging your countertops, there’s a lot more hope. Clean up spills with a white pad or steel wool along with Red Juice and hydrogen peroxide.

You may also think about preventative measures, such as protecting the countertop with a cutting board or a place mat over the area where your family pours juice and coffee. Then wipe up spills quickly before they can drip off the board and onto the countertop.

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