How to Maintain Granite Countertops
There are so many great benefits to installing granite countertops into your home. They offer a classy and modern look, one that can help to elevate the worth of your kitchen and home. They are durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear without displaying signs of wearing down.
Despite this, they do still require some maintenance to make the most out of them. For most people, granite countertops are a significant investment (especially if you got solid granite and not just granite tile). It is worth investing a little time and effort into ensuring that they stay clean and maintained so that you can make the most of them.
Maintaining your granite countertops might be slightly more labor-intensive than other types of countertop materials, but once you get the hang of it, things will seem easy. It’s a small price to pay to keep your counters looking amazing.
Here are some important maintenance tips to remember, for cleaning and sealing your granite countertops:
Not all granite is the same
One of the great things about granite is that it is not as porous as marble. It is much harder for stains to sink into the stone, and a lot easier for you to clean them away without leaving a permanent mess. But there are differences between types of granite. Lighter-colored granite is far more porous than darker granite. This creates greater opportunities for substances to get into the granite and create stains. It is also unfortunate that with white/lighter granite, these stains are so much more obvious than in darker granite.
Cleaning your granite countertops
You need to ensure that you are regularly cleaning your countertops. This is usually just as simple as wiping it down after you have used it and making sure that all spills get cleaned up immediately. You don’t need fancy products to do this – in fact, harsh chemicals can actually damage your counters.
You don’t need to worry about specifically disinfecting your granite countertops
One of the benefits of sealed granite is that although it may be porous, bacteria cannot permeate the seal. You don’t need to go out of your way to disinfect your counter. All you need to do is clean it regularly, and that will be enough to disinfect it properly. All you need is soap, some warm water, and a soft cloth.
Using cleaning materials designed for granite
There are several products available on the market that specify that they are designed for use on granite surfaces, or they are safe to use on granite. While this may be true, it is also sometimes unnecessary. Often, these products are expensive and claim to do a better job than whatever generic cleaning materials you already have at home. Just know that you can achieve the same results with soap and water.
You can opt for DIY/natural cleaning solutions
If you prefer to keep your home free from any chemicals, you can still clean your granite countertops – all you need is a little bit of baking soda. Mix the baking soda with some warm water, and gently rub this across your counters. You shouldn’t need to exert too much effort for this task, but don’t be afraid to use some elbow grease on tougher spots.
If this still doesn’t work, make a thick paste out of baking soda and a little water. Apply this liberally to a stain, and leave it to dry (this may take a couple of days, but be patient). Once it has finished drying, gently scrape it away – this should have lifted the stain.
A little bit of cooking oil and a soft cloth can also be used to keep your granite tabletops looking clean and shiny. This also works slightly to help prevent some stains. While this is not recommended as a substitution to sealing your granite counters (proper sealant is far more superior), it can work for in-between seals.
Don’t use acidic chemicals
Regardless of whether you choose natural products or specifically-designed substances for cleaning granite countertops, there are some things that you should steer away from. Anything that is too acidic is going to stain your counter. This includes vinegar, lemon, or any other harsh chemicals.
General maintenance for your granite countertops
There are certain things that you should remember to help your granite countertops last as long as possible. Many of these are just common sense, such as not cutting anything directly onto your counter (always use a chopping board). Nicks and cuts in your granite will look unsightly, but they can also become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Even if you own a dark granite counter that is less susceptible to stains, it’s still good practice to wipe them up immediately. This relates to anything minor, as well as larger, more significant messes. It helps to develop the right practices, and it means that your counters stay clean and hygienic.
You don’t need to worry about heat-related issues
Another one of the benefits of granite countertops is that they can withstand heat. You can place a hot mug, a hot appliance, or even a pan that is hot out of the oven onto granite, and there will be no problems.
This does make maintaining your granite counter a lot easier, as you are less likely to find any heat-related damage. If you are still concerned about it, always use some form of a coaster, placemat, or trivet in between anything hot and your counter.
Sealing your granite countertop
You may have purchased a granite countertop that has been resin-treated at the factory. Generally, this lasts as long as the counter will, and will keep your granite in peak condition without any necessary treatments.
All other granite countertops will need to be resealed at some point in their life. When precisely, this needs to occur is going to depend on several factors and will vary for each different counter. Lighter granites are more porous, so you should reseal them more often than darker granites. This is because the more porous a material is, the greater chance there is of something getting inside of it and staining it or creating structural damage.
There are many different granite sealers widely available online for you to do the job yourself. Make sure that it is compatible with the type of granite that you have and that you have all of the right tools for the job. As long as you have the patience and dedication, you can do a decent enough job to ensure your counters are resealed correctly.
If you would just prefer to place the task in the hands of a professional, there are many tradespeople who can do it for you. Although it is likely to be slightly pricier, they are probably going to do a better job, and they will do it faster.
Know when to reseal your counters
There is one very widely-used method of testing to see if your granite counters need an application of sealer – the water test. This test can be used on many different stone surfaces such as marble, not just granite. Spill a tiny amount of water onto your counter, in an inconspicuous spot. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, but you don’t need to let it go for much longer than that. After you have let the spilled water sit, wipe it up. If it left a residual stain, this means that it managed to get into your sealant and the porous granite. It is time to reseal your counter.
On average, you need to reseal your granite countertops every 2 – 5 years. If this is something you know you want to deal with as minimal as possible, it is recommended that you opt for a darker granite. In some cases, darker granite doesn’t need to be resealed at all. Structurally, nothing will happen to your counter if you over seal it, but it can make the granite appear hazy, which can disrupt the special look of it. This is often difficult to get rid of once you have it.
Clean and seal your granite properly, and it will last a lifetime
As long as you maintain the proper upkeep of your granite countertops, you should be able to enjoy them for decades. All you need to do is practice daily cleaning and resealing whenever it is required.
All counters need to be wiped down. This is not unique to granite. Remember to use warm water, a mild soap/baking soda/a formula designed specifically for granite. These will not harm the granite, but harsher chemicals might. Ensure that you are wiping up any spills as they occur, even if you know they won’t stain, as it can help to prevent damage to your counter sealant.
Reseal your granite counter as often as needed (usually only every few years). This can be done professionally, or by you, if you have the right tools.