There’s nothing like a glossy slab of natural stone. Has your natural stone countertop lost its luster, or do you want to ensure it stays beautiful for years? If so, there are a few best practices we recommend following. There are many counterproductive internet tricks and life hacks for cleaning and maintaining natural stone. These tips include polishing countertops with cooking oil or using vinegar, which will only harm your countertop. There are some cleaning products you should never use on countertops. Today we’re here to set the record straight and tell you how to keep natural stone lustrous.
How to Clean Natural Stone the Correct Way
You can wipe down laminate or linoleum countertops with everyday household cleaners. However, you don’t want this approach with a granite, marble, or quartzite countertop. Vinegar, lemon juice, and citric acid will eat away at protective seals and chemically etch the stone’s surface. When this happens, you’ll notice what appears to be a hard water stain or general dulling.
Moreover, if acidic chemicals eat away at countertops, it will leave permanent physical damage that might require the costly help of a restoration specialist. The best way to clean a natural stone countertop is to use a cleaner made for a specific stone. For example, if you Google “granite cleaner,” you’ll see products by Granite Gold, Weiman, and Method.
Natural stone cleaners are pH neutral, safe for food-prep surfaces, and don’t degrade protective seals. Dish soap doesn’t cause severe problems. However, it can leave a film that leads to hazing, streaking, and a cloudy appearance over time.
Why Wiping Up Spills Immediately Matters
You can prevent staining, etching, and damaging a stone’s seal by wiping up food and drink stains immediately. Wine, coffee, soda, and citrus juice or fruits will cause the surface to etch if you leave a stain sitting. In addition, you should use coasters or placemats to avoid rings. Cooking oil can also be challenging to remove if you leave it sitting. Granite, marble, and quartzite are porous. Therefore, if you allow stains to sit on these surfaces and haven’t sealed your countertop in a while, this combination will leave a blemish that’s quite hard to lift.
How to Avoid Scratching Countertops
Too many scratches can also cause any surface to lose its luster. A material such as granite is durable, but that doesn’t mean it’s invincible. We recommend not dragging cutting boards, pizza stones, fine china, and ceramic dishes across the surface. You also don’t want to use brillo pads or steel wool to remove tough stains because these cleaning tools are too abrasive. Plus, they cause mini scratches that accumulate quickly over time and cause a dulling effect.
How to Seal and Polish Natural Stone Countertop
Your countertop installer will apply a sealer initially. However, if you want your granite, marble, or quartzite countertop to remain mirror-like, you must keep up with this process. Here are a few recommendations for sealing and polishing your countertop:
- Spray your sealer evenly in a few sections at a time.
- Immediately work the solution into the stone with a clean and dry microfiber cloth.
- Buff the surface with a fresh microfiber cloth until the surface is dry to the touch between applications (the drying process should take no more than 20 minutes for each section)
- Feel free to repeat this process a few times for the best seal.
- Please wait 24 hours after you seal your countertop to polish it, allowing it to cure
- Next, spray your polish on the surface and buff it to shine with a clean microfiber cloth or paper towel.
- Once dry, wipe the countertop dry with a fresh, lint-free cloth
We should also note that you only have to seal countertops every few years. When do you need to reseal? Perform the water test! Allow a small drop of water to sit on your countertop. Do you notice a dark mark or ring? If so, it’s time to seal!
QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW TO ENHANCE YOUR HOME WITH STONE?
If you have questions regarding countertop or fireplace trends, Rock Tops Fabrication is here to answer them. Our trained professionals are here to make sure that your new kitchen is designed and finished exactly the way you want it. We service Maryland, DC, and Virginia. Feel free to give us a call at 410-363-4257. For more information, tips, and tricks, and to see what we have been up to, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest, and Houzz.