How to Care for Your Granite Countertops

Natural stone countertops are known for their durability, some more than others, but they are mainly known for their natural beauty. To keep them looking great, they must be cleaned and well looked after. This guide will give you a general idea of how to care for your countertops and how to maintain their beauty. […]

BeckySue Becker, CMKBD, CAPS, CLIPP™

Published 02/17/2010

Natural stone countertops are known for their durability, some more than others, but they are mainly known for their natural beauty. To keep them looking great, they must be cleaned and well looked after.

This guide will give you a general idea of how to care for your countertops and how to maintain their beauty.

Granite Island Top

The easiest way to keep your stone looking great is to avoid bad habits that will damage it. All stones are different and their differences require varying degrees of maintenance, but if you use proper cleaning procedures and follow general stone care you’ll eliminate most potential problems.

Cleaning Granite: The Do’s

  • Clean up spills immediately. Wine, fruit juices, coffee, and sodas will leave stains if left alone for long periods of time. Cooking oils will also stain if not wiped up. Absorption of stains depends on the condition of your sealer.
  • Use hot water with a soft cloth or sponge for quick clean-ups. Soapy water will work but use a mild soapy water, as harsh detergents or oily dirty water can cause build up.
  • Use coasters under all beverages, bottles and cans. They will not scratch the surface and if using coasters on dense and/or properly sealed granite is not an absolute necessity but on marble it is critical. Coasters are just a good practice to protect all surfaces.
  • Use trivets and hot pads under hot pots and pans. It is impossible to burn or melt granite or marble countertops but the sealer can be damaged from excessive heat. Extreme heat can cause natural stone to crack or pieces to pop out.
  • Use cutting boards. This is more for the protection of your knives but also just to avoid the possibility of scratching the surface. Cutting on stone will dull your knives quickly. Heavy pressure on a good knife may mark the surface of granite and will mark marble.

Cleaning Granite: The Don’ts

  • Do not use bleaches, glass cleaners and degreasers contain acids that will harm your countertops over the course of time. It will also degrade the sealer leaving the stone more prone to staining.
  • Do not use bathroom, tub and tile or grout cleaners. The powders and even the “soft” creams have abrasives that will scratch and dull surfaces.
  • Do not place toiletry products directly on your countertops. They can stain or etch the polish (especially on marble) leaving a ring. Protect your countertop by placing these items on decorative protective tray.
  • Do not stand or sit on top of your countertops. Natural stone countertops are very hard but they do not have any flexibility, so too much weight in one spot may cause the stone to crack.
Granite Island Painted Blue Kitchen

To sum up, clean your countertops with hot water and a sponge to wipe up spills and debris. Use a stone cleaner in the most heavily used areas, which will adequately clean d protect your countertops.

On a weekly basis, use a stone cleaner over the entire surface. Good habits and general knowledge of how to care for your countertops are the best way to maintain and keep your counters looking great.

Seal your countertop annually to maintain the protection and to minimize the potential for stains. Sealer is easily applied at home and is available at most big box stores such as Lowes or Home Depot. Follow the directions on the container.

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About the Designer

BeckySue Becker, CMKBD, CAPS, CLIPP™

Becky Sue Becker is a Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer, Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist, and Certified Living-In-Place Professional™. She is an award-winning designer serving the greater Atlanta region.

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