Although granite is among the strongest and most durable choices on the market when it comes to countertops, they still require proper maintenance to keep them looking shiny and beautiful. Before granite is made into a counter-top, it is cut, polished, and sealed. Because it occurs naturally in the earth, the flecks of color and pattern vary from stone to stone. In fact, many people shop at local granite suppliers so they can choose the exact slab they want to use for their kitchen or bathroom.
After spending this much time choosing the perfect product, it’s important to know just how to clean the countertop and keep it looking beautiful for years down the road. Here are some tips to get you started:
• If you choose to use a custom cleaner, be sure to ask your granite installer or the company you purchased it from for a sample of the cleaner. Then, test it on a very small area; perhaps the underside of the countertop. It’s best to use products that are designed specifically for cleaning granite countertops, but if that’s not possible, read the directions and follow them exactly.
• For daily care, use a non-acidic gentle cleanser mixed with water. Acid is one of the few substances that can damage granite, so you should try to avoid it at all costs, especially citrus and vinegar cleansers. Others recommend a solution of water and dish soap, but repeated use (even if you rinse the countertop afterward) can cause a build up and will eventually dull the shine.
• If you spill, mop it up quickly with a damp sponge or paper towel. Substances, especially acidic ones like coffee, fruit juices, and wine could potentially stain the surface. The same applies to certain types of cooking oil. Letting a substance settle or dry on the surface may leave a mark, so be sure to wipe it up immediately.
• Use a soft towel or rag when wiping off the countertop. Although granite is one of the toughest substances available, you should still take care and avoid harsh scrubbing sponges.
• Use a coaster under a bottle, can, or glass. If you’re drinking a beverage while cooking or spending time in your kitchen or bathroom, use a coaster for extra protection. Although it’s not a necessity, it’s a good practice to get into from the beginning.
• If you find a heavy stain, scratch or scorch, call a professional instead of using a repair kit yourself. Although this may work just fine, a professional knows just how to deal with large scrapes and scorch marks.
There are also many things you can keep in mind on a day-to-day basis to help ensure your granite countertops stay looking beautiful. For general maintenance, consider the following:
• When removing hot plates from the oven, put a hot plate or oven glove underneath them to protect the granite surface. In a worst-case scenario, the countertop may suffer a “thermal shock” and crack; other times, it may scorch the surface.
• If you have granite countertops in your bathroom, don’t store toiletries like cologne, nail products, lotions, and hair products directly on the surface. Instead, put them a decorative tray or shelf so they don’t stain the countertop.
• Seal your granite at least once a year. Although this is done before purchasing, sealing the granite on a regular basis can help prevent liquids from penetrating or staining the surface.
• Although granite is extremely durable, you should avoid placing heavy items on your countertop, and should definitely not sit or stand on the surface. It’s a rigid material and won’t give way under heavy weight like other countertops; instead, it may crack under pressure.
Keep the above in mind to help your granite countertops looking shiny and beautiful for years down the road.
Misty Matthews has worked and written in the home remodeling industry for many years. Finding the right
affordable granite is important for a successful outcome.