Granite is one of the toughest igneous rocks forged in the depths of the earth, so you’d think you could get away with just about anything on your granite countertops. Yes, granite is tougher than nails—but it’s not just the granite you need to worry about.
Understanding proper cleaning methods and what not to put on granite countertops will help them last longer. Avoid the following eight activities to keep your granite countertops in good condition:
1. Working With Raw Meat on a Granite Countertop
Although well-sealed granite should keep bacteria from working its way into microscopic crevices of the countertop, do you really want to play cross-contamination roulette with salmonella?
The meat certainly isn’t going to hurt the granite, but what’s left behind might hurt you if it ends up on another food item. Also, after working with things like raw meat, people often feel the need to cleanse the food prep surface using harsh disinfectants that are not appropriate for granite countertops.
Many of the most common grocery-store cleansers can dull and damage the sealant and potentially discolor the granite itself. So just use a cutting board and follow up with soapy water and a microfiber cloth.
2. Storing Acidic Things on Your Granite Countertop
Acidic substances can etch the surface of your countertops, causing them to stain more easily. Be careful with these common acidic household items that can damage the seal on your granite:
- Citrus fruits
- Soft drinks
- Nail polish
In the bathroom, put personal care products in a cabinet or a basket with a secure base that won’t leak in case of a spill. And in the kitchen, always use cutting boards for any food preparation and coasters for drinks.
3. Letting Spills Remain on a Granite Countertop
Accidents happen; something oily or acidic might splatter all over the countertop despite your precautions. In that case, quickly clean up with a mild, recommended cleanser or hot, soapy water.
If you let a spill sit, it can etch the seal and stain the granite.
4. Using Knives Directly on the Granite
Granite is tough and can withstand the blade of a knife. However, over time your countertops may develop scratches that will dull the appearance of the stone. Your knives will also be sorry you skipped a cutting board. Slicing knives across granite to cut food will quickly dull and damage their blades. A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one and can lead to accidental cuts. Protect your family and maintain a safe kitchen by using a cutting board.
5. Putting Hot Pans on Your Countertop
Can you set hot pans on granite? While granite is strong enough to withstand the heat of a hot pan without melting or cracking, it’s best to place a protective barrier in between.
Granite can handle the heat; it is an igneous rock, after all. Brief encounters with a hot pot will not hurt your countertops.
The sealants, however, can weaken from excessive heat. Sealants are necessary for preventing stains and other damage. Make sure to have trivets and potholders nearby when you’re cooking to extend the life of your countertops.
6. Sitting or Standing on Your Granite Countertop
Granite is a natural rock with fascinating fissures and stunning striations or veins. But these striations are vulnerable to cracking under excessive weight. So don’t climb or stand on the countertops to reach things, change light bulbs, paint or anything else.
Use a sturdy stool or step ladder; it’s safer anyway.
7. Using Your Undermount Kitchen Sink As a Bathtub for Children
Even though an undermount sink is attached securely to the bottom of the granite countertops, using kitchen sinks for bathing a child may cause loosening of the sink mounting. Gaps between the granite and your sink can allow water to seep through, harboring mold and damaging the cabinet underneath. Preserve the seal around your undermount sink so it stays firmly attached to your countertops.
Although bathing your child in the sink is a great photo opportunity, it’s best to use the actual tub to protect your kitchen surfaces.
8. Dropping Heavy Items on the Granite
Although granite is tough and durable, dropping a heavy item on your countertop can form chips or scratches. The edges and cutout near the sink are especially vulnerable to an impact.
Eliminate the risk of damaging your countertops by storing heavy cookware and large items in lower cabinets. You are more likely to drop an item lifting it down from a top cabinet than picking it up from below. Lift large items slowly and carefully onto your granite countertops to keep them looking brand new.
Granite Countertops Do’s and Don’ts
Granite combines strength and beauty in one to create the perfect countertop. The proper care techniques will extend the life of your granite countertops so you can enjoy them for a lifetime. To keep your granite sparkling like new, follow these proper cleaning techniques.
What you should do:
- Use cleaners formulated specifically for stone
- Use coasters under cups and wine glasses
- Use trivets and placemats under hot dishes
- Use soft cloths and sponges to blot up spills right away
- Use trays, bins and baskets underneath products that could spill
What you should not do:
- Use harsh chemicals for cleaning like bleach, ammonia or bathroom cleansers
- Use vinegar to clean your granite countertops
- Use gritty cleaners or soft scrubs that are abrasive
- Use rough scouring pads or metal scrubbers like steel wool
- Use your countertop to store liquid products that could leak
Protect Your Countertops With Arch City Granite & Marble
We offer the highest quality granite so your countertops will stand the test of time. Our experts at Arch City Granite & Marble have been doing business for over 13 years and have overseen hundreds of countertop installations. We understand granite and know what it takes to keep your stone looking polished for years to come.
If you have any questions about caring for your countertops, contact us here at Arch City Granite in St. Louis, Missouri or call us at 314-426-3100 for expert granite advice.