A natural stone countertop is an investment which will give a lifetime of service to anyone’s home. Proper care and maintenance should keep it looking new for many years.
1. Countertops must be sealed with a high-quality stone impregnator during installation.
Application of a sealer protects the stone from damage and discoloration. This, however, does not provide an absolute impenetrable shield against staining. Sealing only increases the window period of blotting time, allowing easy removal of stains should it occur.
Keep in mind that before applying any sealer on your kitchen countertop, be sure that the solution is safe and non-toxic.
2. Wipe up spills immediately.
Blot the spill with a paper towel promptly to prevent the liquid from penetrating the surface. Don’t wipe the area, as it will spread the spill. Rinse with soapy water and repeat as necessary.
3. Use coasters or trays under all glasses, bottles, and cans.
Marble, onyx, and travertine are sensitive to acidic substances, such as wine, coffee, vinegar, and fruit juice. Contact with any of these products, and the like, may cause etching (dulling of the surface finish) or staining. Never allow containers to sit directly on the surface as they can leave a “ring.”
Granite, on the other hand, is safe from etching. But spills and drips could potentially stain its surface. Even if your granite is properly sealed, the use of coasters or trays is always a good practice. Protecting the surface eliminates the need for future restoration service.
4. Always use a cutting board when cutting or chopping.
Never cut directly on the surface or pound anything on it without the use of a cutting board.
Marble can be chipped or get scratched easily by accident or by improper use. Always treat marble as you would a fine wood.
Although it is possible to cut directly on a granite countertop, it’s really not advisable. Granite is scratch-resistant, but that does not mean it is scratch-proof. Moreover, the material is harder than your knife blades. Using your countertop as a cutting surface will dull them very quickly.
5. Do not place hot items right off a stove or out of an oven directly on your countertop.
While granites and marbles are generally heat-resistant, it is recommended to use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under china, ceramics, silver, or other objects that can scratch the surface.
6. Clean stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner or a mild dishwashing liquid.
Common household cleaners, like bleach, degreasers, glass cleaners, and hydrochloric acid, can ruin your countertop. These chemicals can degrade the sealer applied, thereby making the surface susceptible to staining.
Additionally, avoid using scouring pads, rough sponges, and steel wool on your stone. A clean, soft cloth should suffice.
7. Lastly, clean as you cook.
Always keep your countertops neat and dry after every kitchen preparation. It might just be the sparkling inspiration you need.