Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Keeping your Countertops Clean—How to Care for Granite

Granite counter tops in the kitchen are a great choice for the stylish and savvy homeowner. Not only does granite come in wide range of colors and patterns, each slab of stone is uniquely distinct from another—making it the ideal choice for someone looking to set their kitchen apart. But it is also extremely durable and able to resist heat and metal abrasion, making it equally as practical for your tough kitchen wear and tear. Because granite needs to be sealed, it is also stain resistant—perfect for the clean-conscious!

With all of these advantages, granite is known as a high-end counter top solution, and therefore adds value to your home. But proper care and maintenance is important to not only keep your kitchen looking its best, it’s also necessary in order to retain that added value. Here are few Do's and Don'ts when it comes to caring for and cleaning your granite counter tops.

Do's & Don'ts
The best way to keep your stone looking great is to avoid bad habits that may cause damage.

• Clean up spills immediately. Though granite is strong enough that it will not etch like marble, some liquids—particularly highly acidic substances like wine, coffee, fruit juices, tomato sauce and sodas--could potentially stain the surface, especially if the slab is due for another sealing.
• Don't over clean. Using a small amount of specially formulated stone cleaner is a best practice because it will protect your sealer; however, hot water and a very, very small amount of dish soap will do in a pitch. Be sure you only use a very small amount of soap, as excessive and repeated use could cause build-up and dull your counter top's shine.
• Use coasters under all glasses, bottles and cans. Though this is not an absolute necessity because of the strength of granite, using coasters is a good habit to protect all surfaces.
• Use trivets and hot pads under pots, pans and dinnerware. Though the granite will not be necessarily damaged by the heat, once you remove the hot pan from the surface, it will be very hot and may burn you. So use caution!
• Use cutting boards. Avoid the very small possibility of scratching the surface, but also protect your knives, which can be dulled and damaged very quickly by cutting on stone.
• Re-seal your counter tops every 3-5 years.

• Use common household or abrasive cleaners such as glass cleaners, degreasers or bleach. These products can contain chemicals that wear the granite sealer, leaving you stone more vulnerable to damage.
• Use vinegar, ammonia, lemon or orange as cleaners. Though natural cleaners and usually effective as a kitchen cleaning aid, these products are highly acidic, which again, can cause your sealant to wear more quickly than usually.
• Use bathroom, tub & tile or grout cleaners. These powders and creams cleansers are abrasive and will dull the surface, and could cause scratches with prolonged use.
• Sit or stand on your counter tops. Though this material is extremely hard, is it NOT flexible, unlink many other counter top materials. Too much weight in one spot could cause a crack.


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