Five Tips For Maintaining Pristine Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are a popular choice for the kitchen and the bathroom because their elegant looks work with a variety of decorative styles. Caring for them, though, is often confusing; there is a lot of conflicting information on how to clean and maintain them. So if you want to keep your counters looking like new, these surefire tips can help you maintain the stone for as long as you own it.

Seal It

Granite is hard and not as porous as other types of natural stone, but it's still a good idea to treat your counter with a sealer. While the sealer won't make the surface stain-resistant, it'll give you some extra time to clean up spills, drips, and other messes so they don't stain. You'll need to re-seal periodically, so read the instructions on the sealer product carefully to determine how often you should do it.

Clean Up Quickly

When you spill or drip anything on your granite countertops, clean it up as quickly as possible. Some substances, such as fruit juices, soda, oils, coffee, and wine, can stain the stone if they're allowed to sit on it too long - so as soon as you notice a spill, wipe it away to prevent damage.

Be Gentle

When you're cleaning your granite countertops, always be as gentle as possible. That means avoiding harsh cleansing products like abrasive cleansers, ammonia, or bleach. Even acidic natural cleansers, such as vinegar or lemon juice, can weaken the seal and damage the stone. Instead, use warm water, mild dish soap, and a soft sponge, rag, or microfiber cloth to clean it. Use a coaster when you're setting down a glass, cup, or bottle. Even though granite is an extremely hard, durable stone, always use a cutting board if you're chopping food on its surface. Don't use it as a step stool by sitting or standing on it to reach items either.

Protect It From Heat

While the stone is very strong, the surface may crack if it's exposed to too much heat. Protect it by always using a trivet or heat pad under a pot or pan that's hot. Placing cookware directly on countertop can also cause scratches and pitting in areas that see heavy use, because debris can become trapped between the pot and the surface. Scratches can be repaired, but it's best to prevent them in the first place.

Watch What You Store

Whether your granite surface is in your kitchen or bathroom, it may be convenient to store items on it so they're within easy reach - but you should be careful about what you keep on it. In the kitchen, don't store oil or vinegar bottles on the stone. In the bathroom, avoid perfumes, hair styling products, nail polish, and body lotions. These types of products are prone to leaks, and the substances can stain and otherwise damage the surface.