Granite has been a staple in Canadian kitchens for more than twenty-years. It has gone from a rare luxury, to a must-have on the checklists of every would-be homeowner or renovator in North America.
Luxurious, durable, and available in many different styles and finishes, granite has also been known to intimidate some homeowners. Fear of staining, chipping, and dulling are typically high on the list of concerns that have erroneously pigeon-holed granite countertops in the high-maintenance category.
In reality, granite countertops are quite easy to maintain. You just need to understand the dos and don’ts and then get yourself into a cleaning routine. Here is an easy guide to help you keep your countertops lustrous and stain-free for years to come.
First, the Dos and Don’ts…
There are several basic rules around the care and cleaning of granite countertops that will help make your life with them much easier.
The Dos of Caring for Granite Countertops
- Do –Become a paper towel ninja. In other words, blot spills immediately
- Do –Always use a middleman. That is, protect granite from heat, scratches and condensation by ensuring that there is always something between hot pots, beverage, bottles, and anything that needs to be chopped. Trivets, coasters, and cutting boards are some of your strongest allies here.
- Do –Add granite sealing to your spring cleaning schedule.
Don’ts…things to stay away from
- Don’t clean granite with vinegar –While things like vinegar and lemon juice are generally seen as effective natural kitchen cleaners, they are a big no-no when it comes to cleaning granite. The acid in these products can easily deteriorate your granite sealer, making countertops more susceptible to scratches and stains. Additionally, over time, acidic products like vinegar and lemon juice can cause etching and permanently damage the structure of your countertops.
- Don’t use common household cleaners –Things like bleach, glass cleaner, and cleaning wipes contain chemicals that will deteriorate the sealer on your granite, leaving your countertops vulnerable to stains and scratches.
- Don’t be harsh – Abrasives should never be used to clean granite countertops. Even common cleaning creams that are purported to be scratch-free will scratch and dull granite.
Cleaning Your Granite
Knowing the general dos and don’ts makes cleaning your granite easy. The truth is that there really isn’t much that needs to be done, especially if you’re mindful of always using a “middleman” between your granite and anything hot, wet, or textured.
The easiest way to clean granite on a daily basis is to sop up any spills right after they happen, and then wipe down nightly with a specially formulated granite cleaner to keep the surface clean and glossy. We believe that it’s worth the cost of bottle of specialty cleaner to keep an investment like your granite countertops in good shape.
The experts suggest that daily cleaning following meal prep is absolutely essential, even if the countertops appear to be clean. The reasoning behind this is that even tiny particles can be abrasive, and as we’ve mentioned above, abrasives will eventually break down the protective seal on your stone.
Not all Granites are the Same
One of the most important facts to remember is that not all granite countertops are the same. For example, darker granites are less porous and generally less susceptible to staining.
The same can be said about the type of sealer that you use. There are long-lasting sealers on the market that may reduce the need for sealing every year. However, by the same token, some experts will say that you can’t over-seal your granite. So, if it makes your countertops look better (or even if it just makes you feel better), you can make it part of your yearly, quarterly, or monthly deep cleaning routine.