Caring for Your Granite Kitchen Countertop
A granite countertop will last for decades, but it does need some periodic maintenance and you’ll want to use a little extra caution to protect it from damage. The maintenance and care you give your granite countertop will be similar to other natural stones like marble, travertine, or soapstone.
All you’ll need to keep your granite countertop clean on a daily basis is a soft rag and some hot water. To disinfect and protect the countertop, use a granite spray cleaner once per day. On a weekly basis, clean the countertop thoroughly; that is, clean under and behind appliances or other items kept on the countertop.
A granite countertop gets its shine during the fabrication process; our polishing machines create this shine in our workshop before the countertop is installed. To enhance the shine, you can periodically use a stone conditioning polish. Make sure any product you use is designed especially for use on granite.
There are a number of factors that determine how often a granite countertop needs to be re-sealed. It can be as often as yearly, or as rarely as, well, never. The frequency at which you need to apply a granite re-sealer depends on how porous your stone is; how well the stone was sealed during the fabrication process; the type of granite sealer previously used; and the products you regularly use to clean the countertop. Light granites may need sealing more often while dark colored granites may only need to be sealed every five or more years. If you do need to re-seal your countertop, it’s relatively simple procedure that you can do yourself or hire someone to do for you.
Any natural stone surface can be damaged, but avoiding damage is quite simple, and can often be repaired.
Best practices for caring for your granite countertop:
Clean up spills quickly
A granite countertop won’t be etched by acidic substances like citrus juices, tomato sauce, wine, coffee, and soda the way marble could be, but these liquids could stain the surface. Cooking oils could also stain a granite countertop, so be sure to clean up any spills right away.
Use a soft cloth or sponge and a granite cleaning spray
Definitely don’t use any abrasive cloth or substance to clean your granite countertop. It’s best to use a soft cloth or a sponge. A cleaning spray made to be used for granite is recommended to keep your countertop looking its best, but for simple cleaning, hot water will do the trick.
Dish soap is not recommended for cleaning granite because repeated use will cause a soapy build-up (even with thorough rinsing) that will dull the shine of your countertop. You should also refrain from using any generic or common household cleaning products such as bleach, glass cleaner, degreasers, bathroom, or grout cleaners. These products could reduce the effectiveness of the granite sealer leaving the countertop more vulnerable to stains
Use cutting boards
Don’t put meat directly on your countertop. It’s a good idea to use a cutting board to protect both your countertop and your knives. You’ll avoid the possibility of scratching the granite countertop, not to mention that cutting on stone is a good way to quickly dull the blades of your knives.
Also—granite is one of the hardest natural materials, second only in fact, to diamond. When cooking, take care to remove any large diamond rings as a slip of the hand and your wedding ring could scratch your countertop.
Don’t put hot pots or pans directly on the granite
Yes, granite is heat resistant, and in an emergency, you could put a hot pot on the countertop, but in the rare instance, the countertop could be cracked by what’s known as thermal shock. To be on the safe side, it’s best to keep a supply of trivets and hot pads around to use when you take hot pots and pans off the stove.
Granite is an extremely hard material that doesn’t chip easily. A damp water glass won’t harm your countertop, but it’s good practice to use coasters under glasses, bottles, and cans to keep your countertop looking its best.
Don’t sit or stand on a granite countertop
Granite, marble, and quartz countertops are extremely hard, but they are not flexible. With the advent of modern kitchen design and the desire by homeowners for a clean, homogenous look in their kitchens, many stone countertops are now installed directly onto the cabinets (built with a hard top), without a layer of plywood. You could crack your countertop by sitting or standing on it, placing too much weight in one spot.
Don’t store cooking oils or other liquids directly on the granite
There is a tendency to keep decorative bottles of olive oil and/or vinegar out in the open in the kitchen, but don’t store these bottles directly on the countertop. Keep them on a shelf or use a decorative tray to prevent leaks or drips from harming the granite surface. The same should be practiced in the bathroom, where many toiletry products may contain acids that could stain the granite.