Caring for Granite Countertops

Granite countertops can bring luxurious style into a kitchen’s décor. But unlike other kitchen surfaces, they require special care and maintenance to look their best. Although they are manufactured from a strong, dependable material, they are not impervious to damage or staining that can lessen its appearance. Careful cleaning and preservation can keep a granite countertop looking beautiful for years to come.

Daily Cleaning

The leading cause of discolored or damaged granite countertops is the lack of daily maintenance. Spills should be addressed quickly and the counter should be cleaned after each use to avoid leftover dirt from accumulating. This is especially true for liquids that can easily stain a surface such as juices or wines and cooking oil. Generally a wet cloth is sufficient, but these counters should also be cleaned regularly with a solution that is specially formulated as a granite cleanser. These cleaners are designed to have a minimal amount of acidic ingredients which can scratch or leave behind marks on the counters service. Never use cleaners containing bleach, vinegar or ammonia on a granite surface. Although common dish soaps can be used occasionally, over time continued use can leave behind a film that cause the counter to become dull.

Sealing Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are made of a stone which is naturally porous. If it is not sealed properly, liquids and other dirt or grime can infiltrate the stone’s surface leaving behind stains and discoloration. Although the countertop may have been sealed upon installation, it may require additional applications. A simple test can be performed to determine whether or not the granite requires this treatment. If a wet paper towel or white cloth is allowed to sit on the counter for about 5 minutes and leaves behind a dark or discolored area, the surface needs to have a sealant applied. It is recommended that the countertop be sealed twice a year to maintain its durability and appearance. This can be done using a sealant that is available at most any home improvement retailer. Be sure to follow the instructions provided with the sealant being used as some require more than one coat.

Preventing Cracks and Scratches

Not only do granite countertops require cleaning and sealing to maintain their durability and luster, it is also important to avoid unnecessary damage to the surface to keep it looking great. Cracks and scratches in a granite counter create an ugly double-edged sword. They not only take away from the smooth and shiny surface, but they also invite food particles, grime and other kitchen dirt to settle and further dull the surface. The best way to avoid cracks is to never place a hot pan or pot directly on the granite surface. Although granite is very durable, the extreme temperature can crack the surface. Always use pot holders or hot pads under hot pans when placing them on a granite surface. It is also important to avoid bearing heavy weight on a granite countertop. They are a hard, durable surface but are not designed to be sat on or stood on. They have no wooden backing and could crack from uneven weight distribution.

Scratching the surface of a granite countertop is one of the most common ways the surface is damaged. This can easily be avoided by taking precautions when cooking and preparing food. Although it is good practice for any countertop, always use a cutting board. Even the lightest slice can create a scratch. When placing any objects on the counter, be sure that the bottom of the item is free from grit that can scratch the counter surface as it’s moved around on the counter. Image Credit.

Author’s Bio: David Smith writes on behalf of Granite Transformations. Looking to transform the look of your kitchen without turning your living space into a disaster zone? Visit us .