In Consumer Reports latest countertop tests, we included some new materials—bamboo, recycled glass and soapstone. The results were decidedly mixed. The bamboo scorched and one brand of glass cracked when we put a hot pot on it. The soapstone was easily scratched, sliced and nicked.
This year we also toughed our stain tests by applying 20 foods and other products known to stain and let them stand overnight. If any stains remained after cleaning, the counter didn’t earn an excellent score.
Which stains were the hardest to remove? You might expect mustard and grape juice in a lineup of worst offenders, but food coloring and permanent marker were actually the toughest products to wash away. Many things stained bamboo. Almost as many stained limestone and butcher block with an oil-rubbed finish.
—Mary H.J. Farrell