One worry with granite countertops is staining. Although granite is durable, it is also porous. This porosity means that granite can absorb foods and liquids, including water, and develop a stain. Proper cleaning and basic care, combined with regular sealing treatments, can prevent any lasting damage to your beautiful counters.
Regular daily cleaning is preferable to weekly deep cleaning because this means spills are sure to be caught before they have sat on the granite for a long time. You can use a pH neutral cleaner, also sometimes called a stone soap, to clean granite without any fear of damage. Simply apply the cleaner to the countertop and then wipe it off using a non-abrasive sponge or cloth. Finally, dry the entire counter with a lint-free towel so you can bring it to a deep shine.
Getting everyone in the home into a few regular daily habits will further ensure your granite continues to look like new. The following is a sampling of the necessary habits:
Wipe up spills as soon as they occur – even water spills. Even small spills can result in big stains, depending on what was spilled.
Use a cutting board. Small cuts and scratches in the main surface can collect dirt, eventually dulling your countertops. Juices, especially those from acidic items like tomatoes, can eat into the granite.
Avoid any type of abrasive cleaner or cloth. Much like cutting on granite, abrasives can result in scratches and dullness.
Only use cleaners made for use on granite or stone. Homemade cleaners, especially those containing lemon juice or vinegar, can etch and ruin your granite.
Use trivets and coasters beneath hot items or cups. This prevent heat discoloration or liquid stains on the counters.
The final key to keeping your granite beautiful is proper sealing. Sealers give you some leeway on your daily cleaning and habits because they provide a protective layer in case there is a spill. You have a choice of two types of sealers, topical or penetrating.
A topical sealer is applied over the surface of the counter but it doesn't seep in, resulting in increased shine. The benefit of this type of sealing is that it will fill any small scratches or abrasions on the counter. This type of sealer will require stripping off and reapplication once a year. You can do it yourself or have a granite technician perform an annual sealing.
Penetrating sealers soak into the stone. This means that they effectively protect the stone against many stains because they make the granite less porous. Another benefit is that they don't add additional shine to the granite so the natural look of the stone shows through. They do not require stripping, but you will need to reapply them annually.
For further assistance, contact a local outlet, such as Artisan Granite & Marble.