There is little that compares to the mirror-like finish on newly installed granite, marble or other natural stone countertops. Whether you are wanting to maintain the finish of your countertops, or needing to give your countertops a little TLC and get the shine back, here are a few best practices when caring for granite, marble or other natural stones.
You will see a lot of well-intended information online when you search “how to care for natural stone countertops”. Such as DIY and life-hacks that offer tips and tricks for cleaning and maintaining granite, marble or other natural stone, unfortunately, more often than not some of this information can actually damage your surface. So, we are going to be setting the record straight when it comes to caring for your natural stone countertops and explaining how to maintain the shine.
How To Properly Clean Natural Stone Countertops
You will want to avoid cleaning your granite, marble or other natural stone countertops with regular household cleaners, these can potentially dull or chemically etch the surface of your stone. Acid-based cleaners such as vinegar, lemon juice or citric acid will wear down the protective seal on your stone. This then leads to the breakdown and dissolve of the minerals on the surface. The result is what looks like a hard water stain or a general dulling of the stone. This is permanent physical damage that can require the expensive help of a stone restoration specialist to resolve.
Even some dish soap brands can lead to issues, although less severe. There are some substances that are included in many dish soaps that can lead to a film on the surface of your stone, causing streaking, hazing or a generally cloudy look over time. That’s why it’s important to use a cleaner that is formulated specifically for use on natural stone. At Onslow Stoneworks we recommend using Granite Gold. The Granite Gold Daily Cleaner has a pH neutral, non-toxic, safe for use on all food-prep surfaces and doesn’t damage the protective seal! You can find these approved natural stone cleaning products available at our showrooms, just ask our team!
Maintaining The Seal On Your Countertops
When your granite, marble or other natural stone countertops are installed, they are treated with a sealer. This sealer will protect the stone from damaging chemicals as well as liquids seeping beneath the surface, leaving a stain. It is important to know that this not a permanent solution and needs to be maintained and reapplied. If you have further questions on the sealing of natural stone countertops, ask the stone experts on our team and they will be happy to assist you.
How will you know when it is time to reseal your natural stone countertops? You can conduct the at-home water test or contact us at Onslow Stoneworks. The water test will help you determine the integrity of your seal. You can do this by pouring a small spot of water, around 3 inches in diameter, onto the stone in various locations, and letting it sit for 30 minutes before wiping away. If this leaves a dark mark or ring is visible in those locations, that means the water is penetrating the surface of your stone and needs to be resealed.
Clean Up Spills Immediately
Common household spills that come from wine, coffee, soda and citrus can cause etching in the surface if left to sit. In order to prevent stains and other damage to the stone’s seal, you should always be quick to clean up food and drink stains when they happen. You should also implement the use of a coaster or placemats, for this reason, this will help you avoid that dreaded ring under a glass that can leave a stain or damage.
Even something as innocent as cooking oil can leave a stain when left sitting too long and penetrates the surface. Unlike quartz which is a nonporous material, granite, marble and other natural stones are porous. If liquids sit on a stone that is poorly sealed, they will penetrate the surface, leaving a stain that can be difficult to lift.
Avoid Scratching Your Countertops
While granite is one of the most durable material options on the market, it isn’t invincible to chipping and scratching. It’s important to avoid dragging things across your countertop so you do not cause permanent damage. The number one tip here is to always use a cutting board and never cut directly on the surface of your stone.
It’s also important to not use abrasive cleaning materials such as brillo pads or steel wool, no matter how tough a stain might be. These materials can cause micro-scratches over time that accumulate to show themselves as a general dulling effect on the surface. They can also strip away and damage the stone’s seal.
Regularly Polish Your Countertops
A nice polish brings out its natural beauty in your countertops and also helps to reinforce the seal as well as protects against minor annoyances such as water spots and fingerprints. If you are interested in purchasing a stone polish we recommend the Granite Gold Polish which is available at our showrooms located in Swansboro, New Bern and Morehead City for purchase.
You can apply these tips to all natural-stone countertops, from granite and marble to quartzite and soapstone. If you are looking for more countertop information or design tips, check out our blog! Contact us today or visit one of our showrooms in North Carolina located in Swansboro, New Bern and Morehead City to get started on your next project!