It’s safe to say granite countertops have transcended trend status. They’ve been a staple in high-end kitchens for decades and their composition is extremely strong and durable. In addition to being timelessly stylish, granite is less porous than its marble or ceramic counterparts. This doesn’t mean you should use any old polish methods you want on it, however. Granite may look solid as a rock but it’s actually a stain-sensitive material – particularly the more lightly colored versions.
Nowadays, it seems like everybody has their own opinion about granite care options, but maintenance is really not as difficult as you might think. In fact, chances are you already have everything you need to fully maintain your countertops’ one-of-a-kind, fresh-from-the-quarry shine.
(1.) Daily Disinfecting
Like most natural materials, granite doesn’t work well with harsh cleansers such as bleach, glass cleaners, ammonia or vinegar. Repeat use of these solvents can dissolve the outermost layers of your counter making it duller and more vulnerable to staining. For regular cleaning, it’s best to use a simple wash cloth (rather than an abrasive sponge) and a mild dish soap solution. Since a well-sealed granite countertop is relatively impervious to bacteria, warm water and dish soap work fine for daily sanitizing. If stronger disinfection power is desired, you could also mix up a half water, half isopropyl alcohol solution, spray it on, let it sit for a few minutes and rinse. To avoid streaks after cleaning or disinfecting, dry off your granite with an absorbent towel, buffing it as you go along.
(Specially formulated granite cleaners are out there and many come highly recommended by the so-called granite experts. These are definitely safe for your counters, so feel free to invest in some! Just know that household soaps and alcohol mixtures certainly suffice as well.)
(2.) Stopping Stains Before They Set
Accidents happen – especially in kitchens. Your countertops are in direct line of fire for most of the splattering, splashing and spilling that will occur in your home. To avoid permanent damage, prevention and quick response are crucial. Spills should be addressed ASAP with the same cleaning method we described for day-to-day maintenance. With a damp cloth, sop up the mess, rinse the cloth and apply some soap and water. Acidic liquids such as soft drinks and fruit juices can etch the granite’s finish so the faster you can clean these things up, the better. If they do leave a mark behind, don’t panic. It may be possible to undo the damage with an overnight baking soda soak.
(3.) A Word on Protective Sealants
Unsealed granite stone will soak up spills and oils. Fortunately, conventional granite counters are always protected by a healthy layer of sealant. If it seems like your counter is staining more easily, your sealant may have been compromised. In situations where faulty or worn out sealant is to blame for a mucky counter, stains can become impossible to remove on your own. When this happens, the smartest move you can make is enlisting the help of a professional to clean and properly reseal your counters. A well-sealed, well-cared-for counter is a happy counter!