Granite has a reputation as one of the most beautiful and durable materials for use in the kitchen. Used as a way to bring nature into the home, granite is an igneous rock, meaning that it’s been formed from cooled lava. Not only does it look great, granite is also among the most durable of kitchen countertop options.
Granite worktops will serve you for decades when maintained properly, but caution should be taken when cleaning. Like all natural stones, granite is porous, meaning that unless a proper sealant is applied, it will be ready and waiting to absorb any liquids or oils it comes into contact with.
Products and techniques perfectly suitable for other surfaces can damage granite or degrade the surface sealant, and eventually lead to stains or scratches. The good news is that the cleaning techniques best used on granite are both simple and easy.
Keeping your granite countertops clean on a daily basis is as simple as using a bit of soap and water with a damp cloth. Dish detergent is perfect for cleaning up common messes. To disinfect, use a 50:50 solution of rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol and water; this will also remove residue from soap.
It’s both unnecessary and undesirable to use harsh cleaning products on your granite surfaces, as these can eat away at the layer of protective sealing. While granite, unlike marble, is acid resistant, it’s a good idea to avoid exposure to acidic substances which can also degrade the sealant. Vinegar, lemon and other acidic cleaning products should be used sparingly and acidic foods should not be left on the countertop where they can cause stains.
Specialist cleaning products
A few cleaning products on the market have been designed specific to clean granite worktops. You don’t actually need to buy special products to keep your granite clean and in good condition, but you may wish to use one every so often for a deeper clean or a bit of a spruce up.
Stains and Stain removal
Stains on granite are generally a sign that your worktop is inadequately sealed. The best stain prevention method is to maintain the surface by reapplying sealant at the recommended time.
Water and other liquids can eventually seep into the stone if left to sit, so make sure to wipe up spills immediately. If you do happen to get a water stain on your counter, try applying a paste made of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, then leaving it overnight as a poultice to absorb the stain.
If you live in an area with hard water, you may find that water marks and limescale residue build up on your countertops. Vinegar or lemon juice are both good ways to cut through this mineral residue, but should be used extremely sparingly on granite due to their acidic nature. Other options include scrubbing with fine steel wool or a pumice stone, but take care because it is possible to cause scratches.
Granite, especially black varieties, is sought after for its high sheen and polished appearance. However, it can also be unforgiving when it comes to smudges and smears. If you’re frustrated by cleaning your worktops only to come back a few minutes later to find a series of unsightly smears, try using a clean cloth to buff away marks after cleaning. After your counters have dried, rub a dry cloth in circular motions over any smeared areas until they shine.
Granite isn’t naturally waterproof, so it does tend to stain if not properly maintained. The best way to avoid stains is to seal your worktops on a regular basis.
Sealing your granite
As a natural stone, granite contains pores which soak up substances and is therefore susceptible to stains. To prevent stains, granite needs to be regularly waterproofed with a sealant. This can be performed by a professional or by yourself, with a specialty stone-sealing product.
Estimates on how often to seal your worktop vary from once every six months to every three years. Once per year is a sensible interval for sealing your counters, but you should follow the recommendations given on the product you choose, or the professional you hire to do the job.
Granite countertops are a great way to bring some shine to your kitchen without sacrificing durability or practicality. Day to day cleaning is a piece of cake, and your granite countertops should keep their natural sparkle for decades as long as you take the extra step to maintain them every few months or years.