Granite Countertop Care & Maintenance
Kitchen Countertops in Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC and Beyond
Granite is a natural stone product and has a certain degree of porosity. Therefore, after installation, it must be cleaned and sealed. On a daily basis, hot water and a sponge is sufficient to wipe up spills and debris and keep your countertops clean and tidy throughout the day. At the end of the day, a quick spray and wipe of the most heavily used areas with a stone cleaner will adequately clean, disinfect and protect your countertops.
There are companies that specialize in granite countertop cleaning and sealing products. A simple weekly cleaning over the entire surface with a natural stone cleaner will keep your countertops in top condition and makes taking care of your countertops very easy. Polishers, revitalizers and color-enhancers can also be used periodically for the ultimate in natural stone and granite counter top maintenance.
Annual re-sealing is a good idea although the frequency for proper granite counter top care really depends on the type of stone (porous or dense) and the quality of the sealant. It’s a very easy job and unless you have a stone that really shouldn’t be sealed (i.e. some black granites), then re-sealing every year will only ensure that your countertops are well protected against staining. It’s a must for marble, travertine and limestone.
Overall, just use common sense. Keep in mind Sealers give you extra time to get a spill cleaned up and less time for the spill to possibly stain the granite, marble, quartz or natural type stone. This is not meant to scare you into thinking that granite would be hard to maintain, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Use this care guide as an example to follow. The best advise to keep in mind is against using any harsh or abrasive cleaners for clean up because it will break down your sealer over a period of time alot faster than if you had not used. We advise our customers to just use a soft cloth and water it’s that simple to clean.
Countertops and Vanities
Use a neutral, pH-balanced cleaner that is specially formulated to be used on stone on a regular basis to remove residues from cooking oils and everyday food spills, as well as hairspray or other cosmetics. Be careful with common foods and drinks that contain acids that may etch or dull your stone’s surface. Also, some common toiletries (i.e., perfume, toothpaste, mouthwash, hairspray) contain acids and other ingredients that may damage the stone surface or degrade the sealer.
We recommend that you frequently dust mop or sweep interior floors using a clean, non-treated, dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the potential damage from these particles. In addition, be careful when using a vacuum cleaner as the metal or plastic attachments or wheels may scratch the surface. Damp mop the stone floor with a diluted solution of a neutral cleaner designed for stone. Be careful to stay off floor until it is completely dry, as wet stone floors may be slippery.
Bath and Other Wet Areas
Periodic use of a neutral stone cleaner will remove any soap scum or hard water deposits that may have formed. In the bath, or other wet areas, using a squeegee after each use can minimize soap scum and hard water deposit buildup. Around the sink, spilled water may leave deposits. This is why it is important to use a sealer at least once every 12-18 months as it will protect your stone from permanent damage from these abrasive minerals. Then, simply clean on a regular basis to keep stone looking new and full of luster.
What to Do When a Spill Occurs
Accidents and spills are a fact of life, no matter how careful you are. A quick response and the right solutions can keep spills from damaging your stone or degrading the sealer. Always try to blot the spill and be careful not to spread it around as you wipe up the spill. Use a granite cleaner as soon as you have removed the spill. And, remember to seal your stone surface at least once every 12-18 months. This will help keep spills from turning into stains.
Highly acidic substances such as orange juice, coffee, vinegar, wine, tomato products, mustard, urine and many soft drinks will “etch” most marble, limestone and travertine. Sealing allows you time to wipe up a spill, but it cannot stop the chemical reaction that may leave a dull mark. General household cleaners not specifically designed for natural stone are not recommended. These may etch away the polish, discolor the surface, scratch the stone or degrade the sealer. Professional refinishing is the best way to permanently remove etch marks and restore your natural stone’s even finish.
Scoop up the food with a plastic spoon. Try not to spread it around with a towel but rather blot with dry, white cloth. Spray the area with a neutral stone cleaner and wipe off excess with a clean cloth.
Blot away the excess with a clean, dry, white cloth while turning the cloth frequently. Spray the area with a neutral stone cleaner and wipe off excess with a clean cloth.
Let the mud stain dry completely. Remove dried mud with a soft plastic or nylon brush. Spray affected area with a neutral stone cleaner. Wipe dry with a clean cloth. If the stain remains, contact a professional cleaner.
If you identify the stain as having an oil base (from foods like salad, cooking oils, butter or some cosmetics) you may be able to remove the stain using a poultice. A poultice will wick up the stain from deep within the stone. Follow the directions on the label.
“DO’S AND DONT’S”
- Do use coasters under glasses, especially if they contain alcohol or citrus juices.
- Do use trivets or mats under hot dishes or cookware.
- Do use place mats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that may scratch your stone’s surface.
- Do place a small rug or mat at entryways to trap dirt and sand from normal foot traffic.
- Do dust countertops, islands, vanities and floors frequently.
- Do blot up spills immediately to minimize permanent damage to the stone.
- Do clean surfaces by wiping with clean water or spraying with StoneTech Professional Revitalizer cleaner, then wiping dry with a clean cloth.
- Don’t use vinegar, bleach, ammonia or other general-purpose cleaners.
- Don’t use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub and tile cleaners.
- Don’t use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
- Don’t use alkaline cleaners, not specifically formulated for natural stone.