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The countertops in your kitchen are not only for decoration, but also for functionality. You spent a lot of time picking out the perfect granite countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, so spending a small time on upkeep is well worth it. There are a few things you should be careful of when you have granite countertops. Follow this list of tips and tricks to keep your granite looking great and having the ability to endure years of use.
- Spills – Clean up all spills as they happen. If water is left on granite for an extended period of time it can leave a dark shadowy spot on the granite. The granite absorbs the moisture and it will dry out eventually, however it is always a good practice to wipe up any liquid as soon as possible. Be careful when you are having a glass of cranberry juice or wine, if spilled it can leave a stain on a lighter color of granite if not cleaned up immediately.
- Oil – Often when oil is used in cooking, some residual oil will leak down the bottle. This can stain your countertops and leave ugly stains. All bottles of oil and oily sauces should be kept in a cupboard.
- Fingernail Polish and Cosmetics – Many bathrooms have granite countertops, which can be beautiful, but some people make the mistake of leaving certain items on the countertop, which can damage it. Keep all cosmetics off the granite as most contain chemical residues that will damage your granite after long-term exposure. In addition, fingernail polish contains Acetone, which is great for removing fingernail polish and your granite sealant.
- Acids – Do not use cleaners with vinegar, lemon juice or ammonia on your countertops. These cleaners contain acids that will diminish the seal on your granite. Lemon juice specifically can damage your countertop permanently as it contains calcite, so if you are cooking with lemon be careful not to spill any on the countertop.
- Abrasives – You do not want to use scouring cleaning products in cream or powder form. You also do not want to use an S.O.S pad on it as the abrasives will slowly eat away at your sealant and leave your granite unprotected.
- Cutting on Granite – When cutting veggies or meat, always use a cutting board. Getting any contamination from your meat transferred to your granite can cause illness. Many chefs will attest that if you use your knife directly on the granite it will actually dull and damage your knife.
- Weight – Avoid putting a lot of weight directly on your countertops. The granite can handle your whole thanksgiving dinner on the countertops, but you do not ever want to stand or sit on the countertops. Granite is really hard to damage or crack, but why tempt fate.
- Heat – The verdict is still out on placing hot pots or pans on granite. If you have thick granite that is treated with a sealant that protects it from high heat, you can put your pan right on top of the countertop. However, if the sealant is wearing thin, or the granite is thinner it can crack the counter or leave a mark. Our recommendation is to use a potholder; it is better to be safe now than sorry later.
- Cleaning with Soap and Water – Some people like to use plain soap and water to clean their granite, this can be effective but could lead to an accumulation of soap. Any residual soapy build up can lead to undesirable murky looking granite. If you use soap and water make sure all of it is cleaned off when you are finished.
Kitchen remodeling can raise the value of your home as well as look rich and beautiful. Caring for your granite and treating it like the investment it is will go a long way in preserving it. Sealing your countertops when they are installed is a common practice; a great way to treat the sealant is clean it daily. When polishing your granite use specific granite cleaner and try to avoid cleaners with a scent. The cleaner should be biodegradable, mild and phosphate free.
You apply the cleaner then let it sit for a minute, when time is up wipe it completely off using a clean soft hand towel or cloth. If you do this often you will not have to replace the sealant as often. Once you clean the entire countertop, go back and rinse it completely off and dry it. Some cleaners have a sealer ingredient that will seal as you clean saving you time and money. If you do not clean your granite everyday make sure you dust it as often as possible. Finally, reseal your granite at least once a year. If you follow these few rules, you will be treated to beautiful countertops for years to come.