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The Complete Kitchen & Bath Design Studio

Granite countertop maintenance

Understanding how to properly maintain granite countertops is crucial due to widespread misconceptions and incorrect practices. Misinformation often results from excessive generalizations, a lack of in-depth knowledge about granite and the application of care techniques. This confusion can lead to reluctance to maintain the countertop. This guide demystifies granite care, offering simple advice for effective maintenance without the need for professional services. It ensures that your granite surfaces remain immaculate, avoiding common pitfalls and potential damage, and underscoring granite’s durability, highlighting its ability to age gracefully and withstand time, just like historic stone structures.

Deciphering the Need for Sealing Granite Countertops

The common belief that all natural stones, including granite, require sealing for stain resistance is a myth. Not all granites need sealing and the need varies between different types. Performing a simple water absorption test on your countertop can reveal whether sealing is necessary, its frequency, and the type of sealer suitable for your granite. This test involves looking at how quickly the water is absorbed and whether it leaves stains, helping to determine the level of seal needed. The need for sealing depends on factors such as the color of the granite and the size of its pores, with lighter shades often requiring more frequent maintenance.


Best Practices for Maintaining Granite Countertops

The maintenance of granite countertops closely aligns with the care for most stone surfaces, simplifying their upkeep. By following established best practices, keeping your granite countertops in pristine condition becomes a straightforward task. These include regular cleaning, proper sealing, and avoiding harsh chemicals, ensuring longevity and preserving the natural beauty of your granite surfaces.

Blotting up spills immediately- Quickly addressing spills is crucial, especially with acidic substances like sauces or fruit juices, which, while not etching granite as they might marble, pose a risk of staining. This advice applies equally to cooking oils. Prompt action to clean these spills is essential to prevent them from marking the granite surface.

Use a soft cloth or sponge to clean the surface-For cleaning granite countertops, opt for a soft cloth or sponge and cleaners specifically formulated for stone surfaces to avoid harming the granite and its sealer. While hot water can be effective for quick cleanups, regular use of dish soap is not advised due to potential buildup and dulling of the granite’s shine.

Use coasters-Using coasters on granite countertops, while not strictly necessary, is a wise precaution to prevent any chance of surface etching. This simple habit ensures the longevity and pristine appearance of your countertops.

Do not keep hot pots or pans on granite surfaces-While granite is renowned for its durability and resistance to thermal shock, it’s advisable not to place hot pots or pans directly on the surface. Although rare, this can cause cracks, chips, or scratches. Additionally, the area under the hot item can become extremely hot, posing a risk of accidents.

Use cutting boards-Always use cutting boards when working on granite countertops to prevent scratches and protect your knives. Cutting directly on granite can dull knife blades and potentially damage the surface.

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Essential Precautions for Granite Countertop Care

There are specific actions to avoid when maintaining granite countertops. These include not using acidic or abrasive chemicals, avoiding steel wool or hard sponges that can scratch the surface, and not placing hot objects directly on the granite without protection. Simple precautions can prevent damage and ensure the beauty and longevity of your countertops.”

Opt for Specific Granite Cleaning Products- To save on long-term granite countertop maintenance, avoid using generic cleaning products. Common household cleaners like glass cleaner, bleach, and degreasers can damage granite, causing stains and affecting sealer integrity. The harsh chemicals, acids, and alkalis in these products are harmful to granite surfaces. Always choose cleaning products specifically designed for granite to preserve its beauty and integrity.

Avoid Using Acidic Substances for Cleaning-Utilizing acidic or alkaline substances like ammonia, vinegar, orange, or lemon juice is not advisable for cleaning granite surfaces due to their potential to harm the sealer and stone. Instead, warm water suffices for routine cleaning, and for more thorough cleanings, it’s best to use products specifically designed to be safe for granite. This approach ensures the longevity and preservation of your countertops without risking damage.

Steer Clear of Abrasive Cleaning Agents- It’s important to avoid using grout, bathroom tub, and tile cleaners on granite surfaces. These types of cleaners often contain abrasive particles that can scratch or dull the granite’s finish. Opting for gentler cleaning solutions designed for stone care is key to maintaining the natural luster and integrity of granite countertops.

Refrain from Putting Excessive Weight on Granite Countertops-While granite countertops boast significant durability and hardness, they are not designed to flex and typically lack plywood backing. Applying excessive weight to a single area can lead to cracking, underscoring the importance of treating these surfaces with care to avoid damage.

Prevent Stains by Avoiding Direct Contact with Toiletries and Liquids-Placing toiletries and liquid containers directly on granite countertops can lead to unnoticed leaks and eventual staining. Items such as cooking oil, perfumes, shampoos, or nail products might seep out slowly, causing long-term damage. To protect your countertops, consider using shelves or decorative trays for storing these items, ensuring both functionality and style while preserving the pristine condition of your granite surfaces.

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Best Practices for Polishing Granite Countertops

The brilliance observed on granite surfaces stems from extensive quarry processing, not from chemical treatments or sealing. This natural sheen, enhanced through friction and grinding, can be amplified with topical polishes, akin to waxing a car to boost its shine without repairing damage. Damage and dullness from misuse or harsh products accumulate over years but can be mitigated with timely, preventative care. For significant wear, professional restoration is advised to revive the granite’s inherent reflectiveness and beauty.

Understanding Granite Countertops Maintenance Routine

Daily Routines-For daily maintenance of granite countertops, simply wiping them with a sponge or cloth using hot water and applying granite-friendly cleaners on heavily used areas suffices. This routine ensures cleanliness, disinfection, and preservation of the countertops’ shine and beauty with minimal effort.

Weekly Routines-To ensure your granite countertops maintain their luster, first clear all items from the surface. Apply a granite-friendly cleaner liberally, covering both the surface and edges. Wiping thoroughly removes accumulated grease and dirt, particularly around items and edges, thus preserving the countertop’s radiant shine.

Monthly Routines-Periodically applying a temporary topical polish designed for granite can further enhance your countertop’s natural shine and luster. While this polish boosts the granite’s existing beauty, it’s not the source of the stone’s inherent shine. It also offers temporary protection but will diminish with regular cleaning and usage, necessitating reapplication to maintain the enhanced effect.

Yearly Routines-To ensure your granite countertop’s longevity, periodically testing for resealing necessity through water or lemon absorption tests is essential. This approach, rather than adhering to a generic 1-3 year resealing schedule, tailors maintenance to your granite’s specific needs. Observing water absorption, especially dark spots near sinks, signals the time for resealing, safeguarding the countertop’s durability and appearance.


Final Words

This guide equips you with the knowledge to meticulously maintain your granite countertops. It emphasizes prevention as the key to preserving your countertops’ condition, with practical solutions available for any damage that may occur. Adhering to the advised do’s and don’ts, along with the maintenance routine, ensures optimal care. Granite remains a top choice for kitchen surfaces, and for specialized assistance or repair, professional services are available to address all your granite-related needs, ensuring your countertops remain in prime condition.

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