How To Take Care Of Your Kitchen Granite Countertops
There is a wide variety of materials to choose from when it comes to countertop finishes. Among what has now become a favorite for many is the granite countertop. One of its advantages is that it can last for years if subjected to the right care and maintenance.
Why Use Granite for Your Kitchen & Bathroom Countertops?
Granite is a type of highly compact stone formed from magma over time. Its hardness contributes to its durability as it doesn’t break easily. Builders recommend it as an excellent choice for home finishes, especially countertops. Besides, it comes in an array of colors that go a long way to add to the curb appeal of your countertops. It also adds value to your resale value of your home. Appraisers definitely notice this when inspecting & appraising a homes value! Granite also last a long time if maintained.
Cleaning and maintaining kitchen & bathroom granite countertops is effortless if you know how to go about it. If you want to protect your investment, you must know the do’s and don’ts of taking care of granite, and you’ll be good to go and properly maintain your home investment.
All these factors make for strong selling points when a prospective buyer is looking for a new home. However, it’s also worth noting that poor installation may subject granite to cracking. You can prevent this from happening by ensuring that an expert in the field only does the installation.
Granite Counters Maintenance Tips
The process of taking care of granite countertops falls into long and short-term categories. In the short-term, you want to ensure you’re in the routine of wiping the surface daily with a neutral cleaner especially if its in the kitchen and is subject to daily cooking spills and messes. It’s recommendable to avoid using harsh detergents since there’s nothing that sticks on granite that calls for the use of harsh products. After all, abrasive cleaners can scratch or etch the surface and eat away the countertop sealant, permanently damaging it.
What cleaners are safe for granite countertops?
Bleach, vinegar, lemon, Windex, 409, and other generic household cleaners are not safe for cleaning granite countertops. These cleaners are acidic, abrasive, and raise the chance of eating away the sealant on the granite. This sealant is the wall that protect your granite material. These cleaners are abrasive and the granite sealant is your friend so damaging it will result in a short granite life. Water, soap, and baking soda are great cleaners for your kitchen & bathroom granite countertops. Additionally, any formula made specifically for granite is also safe to use. Follow the process below to clean your granite countertops the correct way with common household items.
How To Get Rid Of Granite Watermarks & Waterstains
Granite is non-porous, which makes it resistant to most types of stains and absorbing liquids. Wiping away spills as soon as they happen is the best way to keep stains from forming. If you do have the problem of watermarks on your granite counters, use a damp cloth and a stone cleaner formulated for granite.
A cheaper way is to use a mixture of baking soda, and dish soap to clean the surface once a week for a more spotless clean result. Use a soft brush in a circular motion to get of the water stain. The mixture is a lot better than using soap alone since it doesn’t leave behind a greasy film like soap does. For the best results, add some water to the mixture to make some thick consistency. Use it to wipe away any stains and rinse with warm water, and dry the surface thoroughly. This is how you make the granite countertops shine and get rid of those pesky water stains!
In addition to cleaning your granite as part of its maintenance, there are other preventive measures you need to observe. They’ll help in keeping the stone in good shape and also reduce the amount of effort required in the long term maintenance process.
When using the surface, make it a habit to use a chopping board as opposed to cutting directly on the surface. Sharp knives and regular cutting will create cracks or cause chipping on the surface, damaging its aestheticism. Also cutting lines from the knife are common if you don’t use a cutting board.
Not wiping away water when it spills on granite will cause it to calcify. The result is that your granite will turn white around the fixtures and faucets. If you let it sit there long and with enough use, you’ll eventually need stone restoration and you will need to seal the stone again.
Long Term Maintenance
Here are some great long term cleaning tricks you’ll use that don’t necessarily apply in the daily cleaning process. Among the things you need to do is apply a sealer. If you want your countertop to last long, you can’t afford to avoid this regular maintenance task for granite surfaces.
You can determine if your granite needs sealing by conducting a small test. Pour a few drops of water and check to see if it forms a bead or flows freely. If the water doesn’t bead up, it’s an indication that sealing is long overdue. Perform the test on the areas that are most exposed to wear and tear.
How to Correctly Seal Your Granite Counter
Although most granite countertops don’t require sealing, you must give it that extra protection against moisture by making the surface more resistant. Remember that despite granite being hard, it’s surprisingly absorbent.
To get started, choose the right sealer for the type of granite you have. The market is brim full with varying kinds of sealants, and prices vary depending on the quality. A high-quality sealant should only have you use a few squirts of it to have the job thoroughly done. Go for one that can last between ten and fifteen years long without requiring replacement and another coat of granite sealant. Check also to see that it’s resistant to water or oil-based stains.
The best sealant will penetrate deep into the granite as opposed to sitting on the surface. Before applying the sealant, ensure you ventilate the area properly. Open the windows and door and turn on a fan if available as some granite sealants emit toxic gas and chemicals into the air.
Next, clean the granite using a damp but soft piece of cloth. Use a little bit of soap to get rid of grime that may not come off using water only. Dry the surface as much as possible as the sealant is best applied devoid of any moisture.
After application, leave it to sit for at least ten minutes before blotting out any excess sealer on the surface. Use a dry but clean cloth to buff the sealer and wipe the surface in circular motions. The color of the granite should look more pronounced after the sealant has dried off completely. If you want to take care of the sealant, avoid using improper cleaners. You may also want to keep the granite from direct sunlight if possible, as this causes oxidation and wearing off of the sealant at a slow rate. If you are not comfortable with how to seal your granite, contact us today for a free estimate.
Disinfecting the Countertop
As part of long-term maintenance, you need to disinfect your countertop. Using a paste made of baking soda helps remove oil marks. If you add hydrogen peroxide to the paste, you’ll be able to get rid of coffee, wine, and juice stains that have been left sitting on the granite for long. Cover the paste and leave it to sit overnight, and the stains will be gone.
Take your cleaning procedure further by disinfecting the surface. This you can achieve by using an alcohol-based product. For example, isopropyl alcohol mixed in a 50/50 ratio with water will do the trick. Spray the solution on the granite and leave it for five minutes. Rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth. Ideally use distilled water as it does not have any minerals in it like tap water does and does not leave behind a white streak of minerals like chlorine & fluoride.
Wrapping Everything Up
Granite countertops are a popular finishing product, aesthetically appealing, and easy to maintain. Using the right measures in cleaning can help it last for decades. Everyday care entails using water and soap to clean off any stains and to take care of light dirt. Avoid leaving spills to sit on granite for long as they penetrate and can form stains.
For long term maintenance of your granite, use more effective cleaning products that also disinfect the granite, look for products containing alcohol but which are specially made for cleaning stone. Avoid harsh products like bleach, and other abrasive household cleaning products which can corrode the surface and rip it off its aesthetic value.
Don’t forget to apply a sealant at least twice per year. This helps in keeping the granite less porous and having a great protective barrier for your granite kitchen & bathroom countertops. Remember that if it absorbs a lot of moisture, granite can calcify and lose its stone-like features.