What Are Granite Countertops?

Granite is a durable hard stone that is formed over time from volcanic magma. Granite has earned a reputation as a great building stone and is very popular in homes. It ranges in color but is known for how beautiful it is, especially for countertops.

Granite Countertops Pros

Granite countertops are gorgeous additions to a home, with each piece like a unique work of art. Because granite is available in so many colors, homeowners have many options to choose from. Granite is also very durable and resists heat.

Granite Countertops Cons

It's a common misconception that granite countertops are effortless. In reality, granite requires regular maintenance to keep it looking beautiful.

Granite Countertops Basic Cleaning

To keep granite countertops clean, use a microfiber cloth to dust off the surface. Often a microfiber cleaning cloth, even a dry one, is all that is needed for basic cleaning.

Granite Countertops Seasonal Maintenance

Sealing is a regular maintenance task for granite that cannot be ignored. There is a simple test that you can do to determine if your countertops need to be sealed again. Splash a little water on the surface of the countertop.  Watch to see if the water sits on the countertop in small bead-like shapes or flows freely. Inspect areas to make sure there is no cracking or shifting at the seams. Inspect for stains and scratches as well.

Today we wanna share you how to take care of your granite countertops. Here are the steps how to take care of a granite countertop:

Step 1: Sealing the Surface

Determine if you want to use a sealant. Most granite countertops do not require a sealant, but they may benefit from a quality sealer product. The sealant will give your countertops extra protection against spills by making a moisture-resistant surface even more moisture resistant.

Use a long-lasting, high quality, penetrating sealant. The sealer product should last ten to fifteen years and be oleophobic (resistant to water and oil or fat based stains). Find one that will penetrate the granite to seal any grooves or spaces in the stone, instead of sitting on the surface.

Ventilate your work area. Make sure your work area is well ventilated before you seal the countertop. Open windows, doors, and turn a fan on.

Clean the surface thoroughly. Wipe the granite down with a damp, soft cloth and a bit of dish soap, or multipurpose cleaner. Dry the surface with a dry, soft cloth and buff it as much as you can. If you don't know your countertop's history, like if it's used, consider using a commercial degreaser product first.

Apply sealant to completely dry stone. Your countertops must be bone dry, before you apply a sealant. Let them sit for 24 hours after you wipe them down and clean them. Use a fan to cut down on the drying time. The colors in granite should look less deep after it's completely dry.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions. After you purchase a high-quality sealant, make sure you follow their directions. Every manufacturer will have slightly different instructions for sealing the surface of granite.

Pour the sealer on the surface. Spread the sealer over the counter top with a paper towel, foam brush or rag. Allow the sealer to penetrate 5 to 10 minutes; if the sealer is completely absorbed in 5 minutes, add more. After 5 to 10 minutes, blot any remaining sealer.

Buff the stone to a high shine. Use a clean, dry terry cloth to buff the sealer left on the surface off. Wipe the stone using small, circular motions. Use a cordless, orbital buffer if you have one and want to get the job done quicker.

Steps 2: Maintaining the Surface Daily

Use a ph neutral cleanser and a soft cloth. Don't use harsh cleansers or scrubbers. While granite is very durable, acidic cleansers and sponges that can scratch will wear down a sealant. Use ph neutral soap to clean your countertops and steer clear of windex or vinegar. Stone cleaner works as well as simple dish soap.

Wipe the top down regularly. Keeping the surface free of dirt and grime will help preserve granite. Clean your countertop regularly with warm water and a few drops of dish or antibacterial detergent using a soft cloth. Rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.

Blot spills up immediately. If you spill something on the surface, blot with a paper towel or soft cloth right away. Do not wipe spilled liquids, like juice or milk, because this can spread them around your countertop.

Dry any spilled liquids with a dishcloth. Granite countertops and properly sealed stone will repel most stains if the spills are cleaned promptly. Use a dry, dishcloth to dry your granite after any spills, so moisture does not seep into the pores of the stone.

Do not put hot pots or pans on granite. Hot cooking pots will not damage the surface and granite can withstand high temperatures, but extreme or constant temperature changes can harm your stone. For instance, avoid leaving hot pans sitting on granite in a chilly room.

Use coasters under cups or liquid-filled pots. Protect your granite from moisture absorption by using coasters under anything filled with liquid. Be especially careful with dark colored liquids, like red wine or juice.

Steps 3: Cleaning Deeply and Disinfecting

Wipe properly sealed granite down thoroughly. If your granite countertops are properly sealed and maintained, you only need to wipe them down thoroughly with water, a rag and a gentle cleaner.

Use baking soda and water on oil marks. If you spill oil-based liquids on your granite, like milk or grease, you may need to remove some stains. Make a paste out of baking soda and water, slather it on the oil marks, cover it and let it sit for several hours or overnight.

Use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide on water-based marks. Coffee, juice and wine may leave marks if it's not cleaned up immediately and penetrates the stone. Add just enough hydrogen peroxide to baking soda to make a paste. Apply it to any water-based stains or marks, cover it and let it sit overnight.

Disinfect with water and alcohol. Granite naturally repels bacteria, but if you want to disinfect your countertops more than what soap and water can, use water and 91% isopropyl alcohol. Mix the solution up with a 50/50 ratio, spray it on the countertops, and let it sit for three to five minutes. Rinse with water and dry with a soft dishcloth.

Maybe someone will ask: I don't know how to maintain the charcoal-colored granite countertops in our kitchen. I've heard several conflicting suggestions. What would you do?

We have granite countertops in our kitchen and love them. They really don't take a lot of care. The first thing we did when they were installed was to wipe on a solvent-based sealer called an "impregnator" with a soft cloth. I put on one coat, then waited a day before applying a second coat. You'll probably hear various stories about how long this stuff lasts, but in our house we find it's good for about two years.

Just so you know, a sealer won't make the stone stainproof. It just gives you extra time to clean up whatever you do spill on the countertop. Acidic foods are the worst offenders. Don't use any acidic cleaning products, either, such as a vinegar-based window cleaner. We just wipe up a spill—no matter what it is—with a wet sponge right away, and our countertops look great.

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