SoapstoneFor a surface that's soft and nonporous, soapstone is durable, won't show stains because of its dark appearance, and is beloved by people who cook because the surface is an excellent heat insulator. According to AJD Interiors, soapstone, although more expensive, makes for a beautiful surface alternative to granite due to its silky look and appearance. Soapstone upkeep is simple: Just wipe the surface with a soft sponge or cloth and a few drops of dishwashing liquid or all-purpose cleanser and warm water. During the first year of installation, it's recommended that you rub the soapstone surface with mineral oil every couple of weeks to help the stone oxidize (darken) evenly; oil can be applied every two months after that for maintenance. For tough stains: Soapstone resists water, chemicals and acids, so staining isn't as problematic as scratches. Soapstone scratches and nicks can be removed with fine sandpaper. Stay away from: Scouring and abrasive cleansers, because they will scratch the soapstone surface, and alkaline cleaners not specifically formulated for stone.