Selecting the Easiest-to-Clean Backsplash – A 2023 Guide

A backsplash is an essential part of any kitchen design, protecting walls from spills and splatters. However, not all backsplash materials are created equal when it comes to cleanup and maintenance. Understanding which backsplash options are the easiest to clean can save you time and frustration in keeping your kitchen looking its best. In this guide, we’ll compare the most popular backsplash choices and their cleanability. Read on for tips on selecting a fuss-free, easy-to-clean backsplash for your home.

What Makes a Backsplash Easy to Clean?

When evaluating how easy a backsplash will be to clean, the most important factors to consider are:

  • Material – Certain materials like glass, metal and ceramic tile are very smooth and non-porous, so they don’t absorb stains and residues. Materials like unsealed natural stone are more prone to absorbing liquids and requiring extra scrubbing.
  • Grout lines – Smaller grout lines mean less area for grime to get trapped. Larger grout lines typically require more frequent cleaning.
  • Texture – Smooth backsplash finishes are quicker to wipe down than heavily textured or patterned surfaces.
  • Finish – Glossy, polished finishes repel water, oil and grease much better than matte finishes.

Keeping these factors in mind, below are the backsplash materials that rate as the absolute easiest to keep clean.

Easiest to Clean: Glass Tile

Glass tile backsplashes offer a sleek, modern look while being extremely low-maintenance. The glass material is non-porous, so liquids don’t soak in or stain. The typically small grout lines don’t accumulate much dirt. Glass tiles have an impervious smooth finish that wipes clean with minimal effort.

For these reasons, glass backsplashes are arguably the easiest kitchen backsplash type to clean. A quick wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth or paper towel easily removes most dust and grease. Occasional disinfecting with a glass cleaner keeps it looking like new.

Glass tile backsplashes are available in endless colors, finishes and patterns. Though pricier than ceramic, their durability and fuss-free maintenance make them a great option for low-maintenance kitchens.

Also Very Easy to Clean: Ceramic Tile

Glazed ceramic and porcelain backsplash tiles are another excellent easy-clean option. Like glass, ceramic tile is non-porous and has a smooth, impervious finish. As long as the grout lines are narrow, ceramic tile backsplashes resist absorbing stains or liquids.

Ceramic tiles are very affordable, mass-produced, and come in endless style options. A damp microfiber cloth easily wipes up everyday kitchen messes on ceramic backsplashes. For disinfecting, non-abrasive cleaners work well.

Compared to glass tile, ceramic has a couple more maintenance considerations. The grout between tiles needs occasional scrubbing and sealing to prevent buildup and stains. Glossy ceramic finishes are easier to keep clean than matte ones. Still, among backsplash materials, ceramic tiles rate very high for cleanability.

Well-Sealed Natural Stone

Natural stone like marble, granite, and travertine make beautiful backsplashes when properly sealed. Unsealed, stone is porous and will soak up spills, resulting in stubborn stains. However, with regular applications of a quality stone sealer, stone backsplashes can resist staining and become easy to wipe down.

Thoroughly sealed stone has a smooth, water-resistant finish. Daily or weekly wiping with a damp microfiber cloth removes most dust and grease buildup. Stone-safe cleaners can tackle cooked-on messes. Resealing every 1-2 years is key to prevent porosity and deterioration of the stone surface.

With its lustrous shine and luxury appeal, natural stone has definite backsplash advantages if maintained properly. Sealing and avoiding abrasive cleaners is essential for easy, low-maintenance stone backsplash care.

More Challenging to Clean: Wood

Wood backsplashes impart a warm, natural aesthetic to kitchens. However, wood is quite porous and prone to absorbing liquids, odors and grime. The textured surface also makes thorough cleaning more difficult compared to smooth backsplash materials.

Unfinished wood requires oiling and sealing initially to repel some moisture and staining. But even sealed wood backsplashes need frequent, gentle cleaning to limit absorption. Quick wipe-downs after each use prevents buildup. Mild soap and water works better than harsh cleaners that could deteriorate the finish.

For homeowners who love the look of wood despite the maintenance, a wood backsplash can be a good choice. Just anticipate a higher degree of regular cleaning compared to other materials. Proper sealing and gentle cleaning methods keep wood backsplashes looking their best.

Backsplash Cleaning Tips

  • Clean backsplashes frequently – don’t allow grease or food residue to accumulate. Quick wipe-downs prevent buildup.
  • Use soft, non-abrasive cleaning materials like microfiber cloths to avoid scratching finishes.
  • Clean spills promptly to prevent absorption and staining.
  • Use only cleaners specifically formulated for each material to prevent deterioration.
  • For grout lines, scrub gently with a stiff-bristled brush and grout cleaner periodically.
  • Reseal natural stone and wood backsplashes as directed to maintain a protective barrier.


When selecting a kitchen backsplash, cleanability is an important consideration. Glass, ceramic tile and well-sealed natural stone are among the easiest-to-clean options. Unsealed porous materials like wood require more frequent and gentle cleaning methods. Following material-specific cleaning recommendations keeps any backsplash looking pristine and extends its lifespan. With the right maintenance approach, you can enjoy a gorgeous, mess-resistant backsplash design for years of cooking and entertaining.

Frequently Asked Questions About Easy-Clean Backsplashes

What is the best backsplash for low maintenance?

Glass and ceramic tile backsplashes are the lowest maintenance options. Their non-porous, smooth surfaces easily wipe clean with minimal effort.

Should I seal a natural stone backsplash?

Definitely – sealing is essential for natural stone backsplashes like marble or travertine. Sealing fills the porous surface to prevent liquid absorption and staining. Reapply sealer every 1-2 years.

Can you use Windex to clean a glass backsplash?

Yes, Windex and other commercial glass cleaners work very well for routine cleaning of glass tile backsplashes. Avoid abrasive scouring powders.

How do you clean a ceramic tile backsplash?

Ceramic tile backsplashes only need a simple wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth and mild dish soap for daily cleaning. Disinfect periodically with a non-abrasive tile cleaner.

What’s better for kitchen backsplashes – matte or glossy tile?

Glossy ceramic, glass or stone tiles resist grease and water better than matte. Their ultra-smooth finish makes wipe-downs much easier.