Granite countertops can add style, beauty and value to your home, but with them come some responsibility.
Formed deep down in the earth from magma that has been cooled, granite is most commonly mined or quarried from Brazil, the United States, Italy, India and China. Other than slicing it into slabs and polishing, it is a natural stone that has been unaltered for millions of years. Here are some tips on keeping your granite countertop free of stains.
- Clean spills immediately. Liquids that sit too long can still penetrate the seal and stain your granite. Common kitchen items such as lemon juice, lime juice, tomato juice, red wine, soda, vinegar, salad dressings, marinades, and raw meat juice should be wiped-up immediately to prevent stains from entering your new countertops. If you tend to keep a tidy kitchen, you’ll probably be fine.
- Apply a sealer annually. Sealing granite is something you, the homeowner, can do. It usually involves applying a sealer, waiting 20 minutes or so, and then wiping it off…much like waxing a car. There are many products on the market that are safe to use on your new countertops. Rock Doctor carries a line of products some of our customers have found effective for cleaning, polishing and sealing granite. See rockdoctor.net.
- Clean with mild soap & water. Unless you are using a product specifically labeled for cleaning granite (such as Rock Doctor listed above), mild dish soap and water work best. Be aware that too much soap can cause a buildup of residue and can dull the finish. Be sure to rinse your countertops thoroughly. Avoid using products containing ammonia, bleach, lemon juice, vinegar or other cleaners containing acid. Avoid using abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers. Acidic products and chemicals can permanently damage your granite.
- Use of coasters and hot mats. To avoid common stains, get into the habit of using coasters under drinks. If you leave a bottle of cooking oil on your countertop, the use of a coaster can help prevent a permanent oil ring. Although your new granite countertops can probably handle the heat of sitting hot pots directly on the surface, other materials like marble and quartz may dull over time. If you do place hot pots on your counters, you’ll want to re-seal that area more often than just annually to strengthen the seal.
- Use of cutting boards. Even though granite does not scratch as easily as laminate and Corian, repeated cutting and chopping can dull the appearance, wear away at your seal, and will probably dull your knives. Cutting boards are a simple and safe alternative.
With proper care, granite countertops can last a lifetime. For some people, the look and feel of natural stone out-weighs the maintenance issues. Others might prefer lower-maintenance, non-porous options such as quartz or quartzite countertops. More information on the care & maintenance of granite and other natural stones can be found at www.marble-institute.com.