Are granite countertops hard to care for? This question is frequently posed, especially by homeowners whose kitchens have granite countertops. While it may seem daunting to take care of it properly, caring for your granite is somewhat easy. All you need to do is follow some simple steps to ensure your countertop looks new for several years to come. The steps include:
- Daily maintenance
- Heavy duty cleaning
- Stain removal
- Sealing the granite
Although granite is extremely hard, it is slightly porous. As such, anything acidic can etch the glossy surface and oil can soak into the unsealed top. With this in mind, spills such as oil, wine, chemicals, mustard, or citrus should be cleaned as quickly as possible. While cleaning, you need to use the following:
- A soft cloth, warm water and a few drops of antibacterial detergent or dishwashing detergent to clean the countertop.
- Clean water to rinse the surface thoroughly, and then a soft cloth to dry it
In the event that you spill something on your granite countertop, you need to consider the following steps:
- Bloat the spill with a soft cloth or a white paper immediately. Do not wipe the area because this can spread the spill
- Before rinsing thoroughly, flush the spill with warm water and detergent
- Use a soft cloth to dry the area
Heavy duty cleaning
The easiest way to clean granite is to use warm water and mild, phosphate-free, biodegradable liquid dish soap, preferably light-colored and has no aromatics. Avoid using plain soap and water, as this can lead to soap build up and over time, will dull the glossy finish of the polished granite. You can also use heavy-duty stone and degreaser to remove grime, dirt and grease effectively. After cleaning, you should rinse the granite countertops thoroughly and use a cotton cloth to dry it up. Avoid using the following for cleaning the countertops:
- Powdered cleanser; they contain pumice, which is an abrasive
- Acidic cleansers, especially the ones with ammonia
Sometimes, your granite countertop can have a stain that you cannot remove. When this happens, consider the following ideas:
- Use a Poultice: Stone poultice is a fine, non-acid, absorptive clay cleaning powder that removes grease, light cement grout haze and deep-set oil stains from both polished and unpolished natural stone. Considering its characteristics, stone poultice can be used to pull the stain from the granite countertops. The only drawback of a poultice is that it can dull the shine of a polished stone. Nevertheless, if this happens, you will need to use a marble polish to restore the natural shine.
- Consider Acetone or Lacquer Thinner: Acetone or lacquer thinner is mostly used to remove marker stains. Ideally, it works best on dark granite colors. If you have a light color granite, then hydrogen peroxide would be the best bet.
Sealing the Granite
According to the advice of most home remodeling experts, sealing a granite countertop is the best care you can provide to your granite. However, knowing when to use a sealer is highly important because not all granite countertops need a sealer, according to Marble Institute of America. More than a few manufacturers place a resin treatment on granite at factory; hence, it may be needless to use a sealer.
While good sealers last for 10-15 years, it is imperative to check the state of your sealer regularly. One effective way to do this is to sprinkle some water on your granite countertop. If the water fails to bead up but soaks into the stone, you need to re-seal it. Re-sealing can be done once a year or as necessary. Applying the granite sealer is as easy as using a soft cotton cloth to wipe it on. The sealer is normally absorbed into the granite’s microscopic pores and it is safe for food handling.
Many homeowners prefer using granite to remodel their kitchen because of its aesthetic countertop style. The fact that it is durable and enhances the looks of a kitchen also makes it popular among many. However, most people do not know how to care for their granite countertops because they think it is hard to take care of them. This is untrue, as granite requires less maintenance, implying it is easy and simple to care for.