Granite is a popular choice for kitchen countertops and work surfaces. It’s a natural igneous stone formed through the heat of volcanic activity over a very long period of time. The result is a countertop that is exceptionally strong and available in a wide variety of different colors based on the composition of different minerals present in an individual slab of the stone.
Granite is composed of different amounts of feldspar, mica, and quartz stone. Because it is not made of one thing, granite is very porous, meaning it has small holes throughout its surface. This is not a problem though because professionally sold and installed granite countertop slabs have been treated with a sealant.
It is important to clean and care for granite in a specific way so as not to damage it. An investment in granite countertops today will add value to the price of your home down the line as long as it is still looking its very best. Taking the right steps to clean and care for your granite is the best way to protect your investment and be able to enjoy your kitchen countertops for many years to come.
Granite is relatively strong but that does not mean that you should clean it using rough and abrasive materials such as a steel wool sponge or with harshly acidic cleaners like vinegar.
When cleaning granite, it is important to choose a very mild dish soap, warm water, and a soft microfiber or terry cloth. These are all very light cleaning mediums that will not scratch or damage your countertop or its sealant.
Clean your granite with the combination of water, soap, and a soft cloth. Be sure not to let excess water sit on top of the surface. When you are finished, dry the entire countertop with an absorbent cloth material.
Baking soda is a really wonderful ingredient that is extremely useful for removing stains from granite without damaging the surface with harsh and abrasive chemicals. To make a baking soda paste for cleaning oil-based stains, mix baking soda and water. To make a baking soda paste for cleaning water-based stains, mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
You will only need a very small amount of each ingredient to take care of most stains. Apply your paste and then clean it up using the same mild dish soap and water solution that we recommend for cleaning granite. If your stain is resistant, you can try applying the solution and covering it with a piece of plastic wrap.
Leave the paste and plastic wrap in place for 24-48 hours with its edges taped down. After 24-48 hours remove the plastic and you will be very likely to find a clean and stain-free surface underneath. Follow up by cleaning the granite surface as needed to remove any excess paste.
Did you know granite countertops can last for up to 100 years if properly cared for? The secret to maintaining and caring for granite is to clean it in a gentle and mild way as described above. Beyond that, it is important that your counter is resealed with granite sealant every two to four years depending on how much you and your family are using it.
If you are unsure about whether or not it is time to reseal your granite, there is a simple and handy test that you can use. Simply apply water to your counter and see how long it takes to absorb:
- If water absorbs into your counter instantly: it is time to apply sealer now and you might consider repeating this test in about a year to see if an additional layer is needed.
- If water absorbs into your surface but it takes 4-5 minutes to do so, your counter is well sealed but you can test again in 2-4 years to be sure an additional layer is not needed.
- If water absorbs after 10 minutes: your counter is well sealed and probably will not need an additional layer of sealant for 5-10 years or even longer.
- If water absorbs but it takes up to 30 minutes: your counter is amazingly well sealed and will probably not require additional sealant for more than 20-30 years.
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