Rock On: Properly Caring for Your Granite Countertop

Granite Countertop

It might seem like one of the benefits of hard stone countertops is that they’re durable and poised for a long, beautiful life. But when it comes to granite, homeowners shouldn’t slack off on maintenance. While granite is a gorgeous and popular stone used for countertops in kitchens and bathrooms, it can be damaged over time through exposure to the wrong products and chemicals.

Without sealant, granite is a semi-porous stone and can be susceptible to wear and tear from certain elements. When it comes to cleaning the stone, you’ll want to do so in a way that doesn’t make matters worse. Read on for some basic granite maintenance tips that will help you preserve the quality of the stone well into the future.

Apply a proper seal to the stone

While many types of stone seem solid and impervious to water, grease and other elements. many—including granite—are actually semi-porous. This means granite is susceptible to damage from water, grease, oil and even certain cleaners. Food spills may also be soaked up by the stone if it’s left unprotected.

The best way to prevent this damage is to apply a proper layer of sealant to the countertop. This sealant will create a protective layer that keeps water and other liquids from soaking into the stone and creating a stain. Most granite countertops come already sealed, but this may not always be the case—especially if you purchase your slab from a stonecutter. And even if the countertop is sealed, it will need to be resealed every six to 12 months since scratches in the seal can expose the granite to liquids.

Sealants are found at any home improvement or hardware store. Make sure the one you choose is recommended for granite.

Use proper cleaners and scrubbers

Abrasive scrubbing products can leave scratches in sealant and wear away at granite. Similarly, overly acidic products can ruin your stone. When cleaning your granite surface, make sure you use non-abrasive cleaning chemicals and products specifically intended for use on granite and stone. Even mild abrasives can worsen the quality of your stone over time, so do some research before your countertop’s inaugural cleaning.

Spot-cleaning your granite

For daily cleanup of small spills and messes on your granite, use a soft sponge or dish cloth. Mix some non-abrasive detergent into water to create a mild cleaning solution. If you’re truly concerned about the quality of your granite, you can always go out and purchase a specialty granite cleaner to make sure you aren’t inadvertently damaging your stone. The same goes for removing stains: If you aren’t sure of the best approach, you can always opt for a stone-specific stain removal product to address the stain without damaging your countertop.

While we tend to think of stone as a very sturdy material, the reality is that even limited exposure to certain elements can negatively affect the condition of your granite. Don’t be fooled into thinking your countertops can withstand anything. With so much money on the line, you’ll be wise to protect your investment.