Granite counters are one of the most beautiful and durable options available to the residential
homeowner for use as a kitchen countertop. While not the least expensive option available, they do
add a tremendous amount of value to a home. In addition, this natural stone material will probably
outlast the rest of the house but only if it is properly cared for. Here is a quick rundown on the most
important things you should know about maintaining and cleaning granite:
By and large, granite countertops have a thin but extremely effective sealant applied to them before
they leave the factory. This coating helps keep liquids from penetrating and then staining the
countertop. Still, the sealant is not completely impermeable so it important to clean up any spills as
soon as possible. Keep a clean cloth and some dish soap handy, use them expeditiously and the
occasional spill will have no effect on your counter. For more regular, deep down cleaning, it is
preferable to purchase a specifically formulated granite cleaner at any of the big box hardware stores.
Some stone care dos and don'ts
Caring for granite countertops is a relatively simple process. Wipe it down as needed with a soft
cloth and an appropriate stone cleaner available at any home and garden or hardware store. There is no
need to polish granite as the sealant has a life expectancy of looking good for a decade or more. One
caveat – never use abrasive cleaners on stone surfaces even if you notice a stain. It is
counterproductive as you will only damage the patina of the stone. In addition, the stain will eventually
fade on its own as the liquid contained in the stone evaporates back out through the sealant. If you want
a faster solution, however, determine whether the sealant on your countertop is water- or oil-based. You
can contact the manufacturer for this info if necessary. If the sealant is water-based, a mixture of baking
soda and hydrogen peroxide can be used for stain removal. If it is oil-based, make a paste of baking
soda and water to aid in the process.
Heat and it effect on stone surfaces
If granite has one failing, it is its tendency to crack. A sharp blow from even a relatively light object
can cause a slight crack that will grow over time. Still, this is not the main worry when it comes to
cracking in granite countertops. Instead, the danger of thermal shock is far more worrisome. Granite
countertops can withstand direct high heat from a hot pot or pan quite well over a short period of time.
Nevertheless, it is best to remove the utensil as soon as possible and return it to the stove or oven.
However, it is not a good idea to place a crockpot directly on the countertop for extended periods of
time unless you add a layer of insulation between the two pot and the counter such as a cutting board or
As mentioned before, the vast majority of granite countertops are sealed by the original manufacturer,
These sealants are wonders of modern technology but they do wear out after a decade or so. For this
reason, granite countertops will require sealing several times during the course of their useful life. Of
course, you can hire a professional do the job but is really a quite simple process that the average home
handyman can accomplish. You simply pour the sealant onto the counter, spread it around as directed in
the instructions, remove the excess and let it dry for several hours.