Caring for Your Granite Countertops

Spice Pull-out One reason people like granite countertops is that they are bacteria resistant (as long as you keep them clean).  Granite is a very hard, semi-porous stone. When used as a countertop, the granite needs to be properly sealed. An unsealed granite countertop may absorb water, grease or other liquids, leaving a permanent stain. A sealant will drastically slow down the rate at which your countertop absorbs a liquid.

So what do you use to seal your countertop?

The company that installed your countertops probably already sealed them. But experts recommend you reseal the countertop every six months to a year. You can find granite sealer at any home improvement store — just make sure you choose one that’s water and oil resistant. Follow the directions on the product label. If you’re wary of chemical sealants, you can also seal your countertop with an eco-friendly wax.

How to Safely Clean Granite Countertops

Before we get into how to care for your granite countertops always test your cleaning product on an inconspicuous area first. Let it sit overnight to see whether a stain or discoloration develops.

Daily maintenance/cleaning of your granite countertops

This requires only a cloth and some warm water. Dry the counter thoroughly to avoid water stains. If something does spill, make sure you clean it up immediately. Never use anything abrasive because it can leave scratches. You really don’t need anything special, but there are specialty products designed specifically for granite countertops.

Here are a few things that will hurt your granite countertops:

  • Coffee or soda can dull the surface of the granite.
  • Although granite can withstand the heat of a pot or other cookware, use a trivet or coaster to avoid sliding the pan, which can cause scratching.
  • Don’t use  any vinegar, ammonia, citrus-based cleaners or window cleaners, because they’re too acidic and can dull the surface.
  • Don’t use bathroom, tub & tile or grout cleaners.  The powders and even the “soft” creams contain abrasives that will scratch and dull surfaces.
  • Don’t sit or stand on your countertops. They’re hard, but not flexible, and could crack if too much weight is applied in one spot.
  • Don’t store toiletry products directly on your countertop surface.  Hair products, perfumes, colognes, nail products, creams, lotions and potions have a tendency to spill or leak and go overlooked.  Even when sealed, a substance that      remains on the surface for an extended period may stain granite (and etch marble and other stones).

What if you miss a spill and it becomes a stain? Try this gentle baking soda solution. If your stain is water-based, add a little hydrogen peroxide to the baking soda. If your stain is oil-based, add water instead. Make your baking soda/liquid mixture into a paste. Spread it over the stain and let it sit overnight — or even a day or two for stubborn stains. Then, rinse off and dry the counter. You can also buy it premade at any home improvement store.

Sources: The Learning Channel

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Lake Stevens, Everett, Mount Vernon, Anacortes and surrounding areas

 

 

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