Stone Countertops: Dos And Don’ts
Installing stone countertops is a big investment in your home, and the last thing you want is for the stone surfaces to become accidentally damaged due to poor care habits. Natural stone surfaces made from granite, quartz, or marble all require varying degrees of care to maintain their durability and natural finish.
By following common maintenance and cleaning practices, you’ll be able to minimize any potential problems no matter what type of stone surface is in your home. Avoiding bad habits ensures that your countertops will retain their natural beauty for years to come, so follow these dos and don’ts to avoid potential costly repairs in the future.
Do Use Appropriate Cleaners
Natural stone and granite care begins by using cleaners that are properly pH balanced. A simple solution for this one you can buy at your local grocery store: blue Dawn dishwater soap. Simply mix a few drops of blue Dawn dishwater soap in a sprayer bottle and fill the balance with water (water should have just a slight blue tint).
This cleaning mixture will keep your countertops in the best condition without damaging the stone’s natural surface. Simply use this mixture by spraying on a light mist on the countertops and then wiping the surface clean with a soft cloth (microfiber or cotton) or a paper towel.
Don’t Use Abrasive Or Alkaline Cleaners
The number one mistake homeowners make is using the wrong cleaner on their stone countertops. Household cleaners, including bleach, ammonia, degreasers, vinegar, glass cleaners, or lemon will damage stone countertops with repetitive use.
Most household cleaners contain ingredients mentioned above or alkalis, acids, and other chemicals that can damage and etch natural stone. These can also decay any sealant that’s on natural stone, leaving your countertops more susceptible to staining.
Do Use Coasters, And Cutting Boards
It’s important to use coasters whenever setting bottles, glasses or stone cups on your stone countertop, especially those containing acidic beverages or alcohol. Cold glasses can leave condensation rings on the countertop, and acidic beverages may leak onto its surface. Both of these can potentially damage the stone.
You should also avoid using anything sharp on your stone countertop’s surface to avoid scratching. This includes cutting food on the stone surface, which will not only dull your knives, but scratch and scrape your countertop surface. Always use placemats under stone plates and cutting boards while preparing food.
Don’t Set Hot Or Wet Items On Stone Surfaces
Placing hot cookware or dishes directly onto natural stone can lead to thermal shock, potentially causing the stone to crack, break, or burn. There is also the possibility of grit, grease, and other food particles getting trapped between the countertop and the cookware, leading to surface scratching.
Never store liquids or other wet toiletries directly on top of stone countertops. Products like cooking oils, perfumes, colognes, haircare and nail items, creams, and lotions may leak. If spills from these products sit on the natural stone’s surface, the substance is likely to stain the countertop. Instead, store these products on decorative trays or shelving to prevent them from penetrating and staining your countertops.
Do Surface Clean
Cleaning your stone countertop will go a long way in preserving their quality, durability, and shiny appearance. Countertops should be dusted, cleaned, and disinfected regularly to ensure a long useful life in your home.
When cleaning your countertops, a mixture of blue Dawn dishwater soap in a spray bottle with water along with a soft cloth wiping cloth is sufficient to remove dust, crumbs and tougher spills. This cleaning procedure will also remove oils from your hands as the Dawn soap in a natural degreaser.
Don’t Let Spills Sit
Many food- and drink-related items can potentially stain natural stone countertops. These include acidic household cleaners, cooking oils, and liquids like coffee, fruit juices, wine, tomato sauce, salad dressing, and soft drinks. These substances have the potential to permanently stain natural stone if they remain on the stone’s surface for an extended period of time.
Spills should be wiped as quickly as possible to minimize the potential for damage to the countertop’s surface. Natural stones, like granite and marble, are porous and can absorb liquids if spills sit too long. Wiping away spills immediately will decrease the chance of staining.
Do Test The Countertop’s Seal
To protect your natural stone countertops, they should be properly sealed to reduce stain formation and slow down the rate at which spills absorb into the surface. Proper sealing of your countertops gives you more time to wipe up spills or messes before any potential permanent damage is done. There are two types of sealer, topical and impregnating. The topical is a product that provides a protective layer on top of the stone surface and requires maintenance every year or two, while the impregnating sealer is a longer term solution that lasts normally ten to fifteen years depending upon the porosity of the stone. Wise Stone Choice uses the latter to minimize ongoing maintenance for customers.
To find out if your stone countertops need to be sealed, a water drop test can be used by simply placing a drop of water on the surface. If after a few minutes, you notice the water drop widening from soaking into your countertop, it’s time to reseal. If the water drop size remains consistent the sealant is still in good condition.
Don’t Overseal The Stone
Excessive use of topical sealer can actually take away from the shine of your countertops, so always make sure you use the water test prior to moving forward with any resealing of countertops.
Additionally, it should be mentioned that man-made quartz does not require sealing.
So as you can see, with simple proactive maintenance and precautions you will be able to enjoy the beauty of your stone countertops for many years to come. If you have further questions, you can stop at our showroom at 5733 SR 930 East, Fort Wayne, IN 46803 or contact Wise Stone Choice at (260) 749-8062 and we would be glad to discuss in more detail.