Countertop Do’ Don’ts Cleaning Granite: Care Maintenance Instruction
You’ll have it down in no time and confidently keep all your countertops looking fabulous for decades. Beware of all the conflicting advice about granite countertop care floating around out there. Stone countertops and floors are very durable, resilient and age beautifully. Special talents or an army of professionals aren’t required to protect, clean, and keep your granite countertops looking brilliant and beautiful for a lifetime. Cooking oils may also leave a stain if not wiped up. Dish soap won’t permanently damage your granite, but repeated use of soap will cause build-up (yes, even if you rinse) and dull your countertop’s shine.So, using dish soap for regular granite counter top care is not recommended. Again, granite won’t etch and using coasters on dense and/or properly sealed granite is not an absolute necessity like with marble, but using coasters is just a good practice to protect all bath and kitchen countertop surfaces. It is possible for granite (or any stone or quartz) to suffer “thermal shock” and crack, but rare. You don’t really want to put hot pans on any other surface save soapstone. Grit that gets trapped between the pot and the countertop surface may scratch the surface–even granite countertops. Also , once you remove the hot pan from the countertop the surface will be very hot and may burn.
Cleaning, Sealing, Care And Maintenance For Granite Countertops
How to maintain your granite countertops so they last a lifetime. Again, avoid the possibility of scratching the surface and protect your knives. Cutting on stone will dull and damage your knives’ edges quickly. Some people choose to use a vacuum cleaner. Worn parts or grit jammed by the wheels may scratch the surface. Grit, dirt, and sand carried in by our shoes are abrasive and will wear down and scratch the surface. Don’t: use generic cleaning products such as bleach, glass cleaners, de-greasers or other common household cleaners. These products that you buy at your local store contain acids, alkalis and other chemicals that will degrade the granite sealer (and will etch marble) leaving the stone more vulnerable to staining. Trying to save money by using these chemicals only ensures that you’ll spend a lot more time and money on granite countertop care in the long-run. Don’t: use vinegar, ammonia, lemon or orange as cleaners. The powders and even the “soft” creams contain abrasives that will scratch and dull surfaces. Don’t: sit or stand on your countertops. Don’t: store liquids or toiletry products directly on your countertop surface. Even when sealed, a substance that remains on the surface for an extended period may stain granite (and etch marble and other stones). This also serves to condition the stone and maintain its overall luster. For kitchen countertops especially you don’t want a stone that is too absorbent (there are some) or a stone that will etch like marble. Of course, you should also perform the water test upon installation (if you didn’t do it while shopping) to determine if your natural stone even needs sealing (many do not and cannot be sealed). The surface “finish” is created at the factory or quarry where granite slabs are cut and processed. Huge machines utilize intense grinding and friction to smooth the surface so much that it becomes reflective and shiny. This shiny finish is called a “polished” finish because it has been “polished” to a shine not because a “granite polish” (product) has been applied. Using a glass cleaner does not make a mirror reflective. Applying a product does not make it reflective and shiny. Dull granite countertops are most often the result of some film (like soap film) on the surface. Granite is so hard that even years of normal use will not wear away the finish. It must either be chemically or physically damaged or covered up by a film.
However, repeated use of harsh cleaning products (common household cleaners) or regular exposure to acidic foods and drinks (say spills around a coffee maker) can potentially dull the finish. If your granite countertops have become dull for some reason, you will most likely need to consult a granite restoration professional. Stains are always dark spots in the granite. However, this issue is easily controlled or prevented in most cases by applying a granite sealer. And most stains are relatively easy to remove with a granite poultice. Darker granite colors (brown, blue, black) will be less porous and staining is less likely. Some granite colors (like most black granite countertops) are so dense that they are nearly impossible to stain and do not need sealing. Lighter colors and in particular white granite countertops will be the most porous and the easiest to stain. Some are completely bogus and others are good for only a certain type of stain. These are greenish-blue-gray stains that appear immediately after installation of a new granite countertop caused by a reaction of the installation adhesive with the granite. Some granites never get pits and others may chip or pit easily. So you may never see a pit in your granite countertop or you may have many over the years. Granite chip repair is often done by filling the hole with a color-matched epoxy. A better method is to fill the pits or chips with a clear acrylic for a repair that is nearly invisible. Granite crack repair is no easy task but depends on the type of crack. Hairline cracks often can be left alone, won’t cause problems, and won’t get worse. An experienced stone repair specialist can repair a crack and refinish the granite so the repaired crack is essentially invisible. A dye is applied to black granite slabs while at the factory to make them a darker black which commands a higher price. This is a fraudulent practice but doctored slabs can be difficult to detect and easily make it into the marketplace.
The problem here is that the dye can cause the granite to have an etching or discoloration issue where acidic foods, drinks, or cleaners create dull, chalky spots on the granite. Granite is not naturally reactive to acids and will not etch except in extreme circumstances with exposure to potent acids or repeated exposure to acids.
A doctored granite countertop is a real pain because there’s no easy fix. Simple washing and rinsing reduce bacteria counts on granite 9 times better than stainless steel. Just like regularly washing your hands dramatically minimizes the chance of contracting a virus or developing an infection, if you wipe away all foods and spills throughout the day and then wash and rinse the surface (or use a granite cleaner) daily you’ll keep your kitchen countertops more or less safe and sanitized. My husband laid a gas tank top from a lawn mower on the counter in two areas.
The perks of the stone are that it’s durable, beautiful and does not require much maintenance. However, granite does require minimal care to ensure that it stays in great condition, including removing stains, and sealing and wiping down the surface. Most granite countertops do not require a sealant, but they may benefit from a quality sealer product. The sealer product should last ten to fifteen years and be oleophobic (resistant to water and oil or fat based stains). Make sure your work area is well ventilated before you seal the countertop.Wipe the granite down with a damp, soft cloth and a bit of dish soap, or multipurpose cleaner. If you don’t know your countertop’s history, like if it’s used, consider using a commercial degreaser product first. Your countertops must be bone dry, before you apply a sealant. Let them sit for 24 hours after you wipe them down and clean them. The colors in granite should look less deep after it’s completely dry. Every manufacturer will have slightly different instructions for sealing the surface of granite.
How To Take Care Of Granite Countertops With Pictures
How To Seal Your Granite And Marble Countertops
You should seal your granite or marble countertops once every year. Instructions for sealing granite counter top the right way are … Spread the sealer over the counter top with a paper towel, foam brush or rag. Allow the sealer to penetrate 5 to 10 minutes; if the sealer is completely absorbed in 5 minutes, add more. After 5 to 10 minutes, blot any remaining sealer. Use a clean, dry terry cloth to buff the sealer left on the surface off. Wipe the stone using small, circular motions. Use a cordless, orbital buffer if you have one and want to get the job done quicker. Granite countertops are delicate and require sealant for long-term protection. If you bought your home new, the countertops probably aren’t sealed yet. Make sure your countertops aren’t sealed before you apply sealant to them. You won’t ever have to worry about spills ruining your counters again. If you haven’t resealed your countertop in the past 4-5 years, the sealant has probably worn off by now. After applying sealant you shouldn’t need to reseal your countertops for another 10-15 years. While granite is very durable, acidic cleansers and sponges that can scratch will wear down a sealant.Use ph neutral soap to clean your countertops and steer clear of windex or vinegar. Keeping the surface free of dirt and grime will help preserve granite. Clean your countertop regularly with warm water and a few drops of dish or antibacterial detergent using a soft cloth. Rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth. If you spill something on the surface, blot with a paper towel or soft cloth right away. Do not wipe spilled liquids, like juice or milk, because this can spread them around your countertop. Dry any spilled liquids with a dishcloth. Granite countertops and properly sealed stone will repel most stains if the spills are cleaned promptly. Use a dry, dishcloth to dry your granite after any spills, so moisture does not seep into the pores of the stone. Hot cooking pots will not damage the surface and granite can withstand high temperatures, but extreme or constant temperature changes can harm your stone. For instance, avoid leaving hot pans sitting on granite in a chilly room. Use coasters under cups or liquid-filled pots. Protect your granite from moisture absorption by using coasters under anything filled with liquid. Granite countertops have fragile surfaces. That said, your countertops aren’t indestructible either. The acidity can eat away at the sealant protecting your countertops. The washcloths you use to wipe down the counter tend to spread the mess across its surface. If your granite countertops are properly sealed and maintained, you only need to wipe them down thoroughly with water, a rag and a gentle cleaner. If you spill oil-based liquids on your granite, like milk or grease, you may need to remove some stains.
Make a paste out of baking soda and water, slather it on the oil marks, cover it and let it sit for several hours or overnight. Use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide on water-based marks.
Coffee, juice and wine may leave marks if it’s not cleaned up immediately and penetrates the stone. Add just enough hydrogen peroxide to baking soda to make a paste. Apply it to any water-based stains or marks, cover it and let it sit overnight. Granite naturally repels bacteria, but if you want to disinfect your countertops more than what soap and water can, use water and 91% isopropyl alcohol. Mix the solution up with a 50/50 ratio, spray it on the countertops, and let it sit for three to five minutes.
Rinse with water and dry with a soft dishcloth. If your countertops are properly sealed and regularly maintained, a thorough wipedown with water and soap may be all you need for a deep clean. Other cleaning solutions are simply too harsh. Sometimes you may find that an alcohol-based solution necessary to disinfect your counters.
A baking-soda solution will help you remove any stains in the event. Sealant makes regular maintenance unnecessary. But you still need to do regular cleaning and upkeep on a daily basis to keep them in top condition. Tape off the area using sellotape and apply just enough glue to fill the chip and rise just slightly above the surface of the stone. Once the glue cures and the tape is removed, use a razor to scrape off the excess for a smooth finish. In order to remove a stain, you need to ensure that it is indeed a stain and not damage to the stone. Next, you need to determine what caused the stain so that you can apply the correct materials to remove it. It is easy to see when granite tops need sealer. If water or other liquids are being absorbed in the stone and not sitting on top of the stone, then the tops need to be resealed. I have owned my granite counter top for 5 years.
The sections that are used daily for food prep have gotten darker then the rest of the counter top. We have been told to wipe around faucets or the granite could turn green. They will deep clean and seal if necessary. Do not use ammonia, vinegar, lemon or orange cleaning agents, bleach or any abrasive cleaning powders or cleaning pads.
Avoid coffee or carbonated beverage spills.Afterwards, rinse thoroughly with water and dry with paper towels or a soft cloth. If you spill something on the surface, blot it right away with a paper towel and dry with a dishcloth to prevent moisture from seeping into the pores.
For oil-based liquids like milk or grease, cover the spill with a paste of baking soda and water, and let it sit for several hours before wiping with a clean rag. Also, finding out the best cupboard cleaners, rather than having to go buy one of everything to do what you’ve already done for me. We just wanted to make sure we understood how we should clean/care for them. This was a great article that told us all we needed to know. Gives all the needed information in a structured and easy to understand way. Pictures are a good addition to break the routine of reading.
Granite Countertop Care