Granite countertops showcase some of the most beautiful stone that nature creates. If you want to keep that gorgeous granite looking great, you’ll need to clean it every now and then. However, what you use on your granite can make a huge difference to how long it keeps its lustre. Despite what you might think, you can’t just use any old cleaner on your granite countertops. Here’s how to clean your granite countertops safely and naturally so they stay sleek and shiny for longer.
Start with a sealant
If your granite wasn’t sealed when it was installed, buy some sealant pronto! Because granite is a very porous natural stone, if it isn’t sealed, it can absorb all kinds of liquids, from water to oil and even foods. This leads to discolouration and stains, definitely not what you want for beautiful countertops.
Most sealants only last about a year, so you’ll need to reapply sealant annually. Some lasts longer–check the manufacturer’s information when you apply it to find out how long you can safely go without topping up the sealant. Once your granite’s sealed up properly, you need to focus on cleaning without damaging that surface sealant.
Avoid harsh cleaners
You may think that you can only get your kitchen counters clean with a deep cleaner like bleach, but that’s a big no-no for granite. Harsh cleaners like bleach, ammonia, window cleaners, and citric acid can destroy the sealant on your granite, leaving scratches and etching in the surface. Even ‘polishes’ like Pledge can damage the shine on the surface of your granite.
Watch for some ‘natural’ dangers
If you clean with natural products, chances are you’ve used vinegar for just about everything in your home. Unfortunately, vinegaris terrible for granite. It’s very acidic, so it destroys the sealant fairly quickly and can leave etching in the surface of the stone. It can also leave discolouration on your granite.
Make your own granite cleaner
Start with an empty spray bottle. Combine one part isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, add three parts filtered water, then add in a teaspoon of Green Goddess Unscented Castile Soap. You can also add 8-10 drops of your favourite essential oil (lemon and tea tree oil are great for disinfecting) and mix gently. Spray the surface of your granite countertops, then wipe them clean with a dry cloth.
You only have to really ‘clean’ your countertops with this solution a few times per week. The rest of the time, just wipe the counters down with a clean cloth to remove moisture and food particles. Keep an eye out for any spills or stains that might appear between cleanings. The sooner you clean up spills, the less likely they’ll be to damage the granite.
Never use abrasive cleaners and never scrub your granite when you’re cleaning it. This will damage the surface of the granite, destroy the sealant, and leave the stone vulnerable to stains and etching.
Most surface damage to your granite countertops can be prevented with a few simple steps. First, never slide pans or pots across the surface of the granite. They won’t scratch the stone, but they may scrape off the sealant and leave the surface vulnerable to stains.
Use coasters and trivets regularly. Water rings from condensation can form very quickly and are difficult to remove. Trivets help prevent heat from the bottom of the pan from damaging the sealant.
Wipe up food spills immediately, especially if the food is acidic. Pasta sauce, tomatoes, pickles–anything with a high acid content will damage the sealant and could damage the minerals in the granite itself, removing the lovely shine permanently.
Use cutting boards on your countertops. While it’s true that granite is harder than most knife blades (you’ll dull your blades before you damage the granite), your knives could scratch the sealant off, leaving the surface vulnerable to stains from foods. By using a cutting board, you minimise the food’s contact with the granite and also make cleanup easier.
Granite is a gorgeous addition to any home, and if you use these tips, you can keep your granite looking great for years to come.
This post is written by guest blogger Scott Jenkins from Architypes.net