Travertine is another soft stone that is easily stained, particularly in the small pits across the surface. Also consider limestone in the same category.

Concrete must be maintained and sealed carefully to resist stains. Lemon juice, vinegar and other acidic materials can compromise the sealer and leave the concrete exposed to stains.

Plastic laminate earns the worst rating on our list, though the failing grade may be a little unfair. Quality laminate countertops are quite stain-resistant. The problem is that stained laminate surfaces are more difficult to repair than nearly every other surface. There is little choice but to replace or resurface a stained, scratched or burned laminate countertop.