Keeping your stone free of dust and dry, sandy soil will minimize the scratches and wear-patterns that can develop from everyday use of some natural stone, such as granite, marble, limestone and sandstone. Sweep or dust all natural stone surface regularly to remove loose soil and dust.
Clean up spills immediately. This is the most important thing to keep in mind when caring for your granite. Always blot up the spills rather than wiping them up. Blot up the spill with paper towel, then wash the area with warm water, and finally, dry the area with a soft, dry cloth. Remember, the quicker you clean up a spill, the less chance of staining.
The safest way to clean your granite tops is to use products designed specifically for stone. Cleaners and disinfectants of this type are neutral on the acid scale, so they pose no risk of hurting the polish. Dish soap and water will work to clean your tops. Avoid anything that contains bleach or any wipe on cleaners that have grit in them. If you want to avoid water streaking while cleaning you must wipe your tops until they are completely dry. If lime build up occurs around your faucet do not uses lime removal products. Gently scraping the lime off with a straight razor is the best solution. Never use bleach and other chlorine based cleaners, acids, photographic development liquid, ammonia, alkalies (caustic soda) and concentrated disinfectants on the stone surfaces. If any of these substances come into contact with the stone, clean them off immediately, otherwise surface damage will occur. Avoid use of abrasive cleaning materials: scouring powders/pads course steel wool and metal brushes etc.
Strongly colored foodstuffs such as blackcurrant, beetroot etc should be avoided if possible or cleaned off the surface as soon as possible as these substances can stain natural Marble and Granite surfaces. Acidic foodstuffs such as citrus juices, vinegars, tomato sauce and cola may etch the stone surface and affect the gloss polish. While stains are rare, they are caused most frequently by cooking oil. Do not store bottles of cooking oil directly on your granite. When cooking with oil, wipe clean any of the countertops that came into contact with the oil when you are finished. Do not store metal pots and pans on your countertops either, as rust can stain the granite. The sealer is not a waterproofing agent. If your granite darkens when it is wet do not be alarmed. It will return to its original color when the water evaporates. Any material that is stuck on your granite, such as dried paint, glue, tape residue and dried food can be scraped off by using the flat side of a razor blade.
What to do when a spill occurs?
No matter how careful you are, spills are going to happen. A quick response and the right solutions can keep spills from damaging your stone or the sealer.
Etch Marks- Substances that are highly acidic, such as orange juice, coffee, vinegar, wine, tomato products, mustard and many soft drinks, will “etch” most marble, limestone and travertine – whether the stone is sealed or unsealed. Although sealing allows you time to wipe up a spill, it cannot stop the reaction that may leave a dull area or etch mark in the stone.
In addition, cleaners not specifically designed for natural stone are not recommended. These may etch away the polish, discolor the surface, scratch the stone or degrade the sealer.
Food Spills – Scoop up the food with a plastic spoon. Blot with dry, white cloth. Spray the area with a cleaner and wipe off excess with a clean cloth.
Liquid Spills – Blot away the excess with a clean, dry, white cloth; turning the cloth frequently. Spray the area with a cleaner.
Mud – Let the mud stain dry completely. Remove dried mud with a soft plastic or nylon brush. Spray affected area with a cleaner. Wipe dry with a clean cloth. If the stain remains, contact a professional cleaner.
Oily stains – if you identify the stain as having an oil base (from foods like salad and cooking oils, butter, or some cosmetic) you may be able to remove the stain using a poultice. We recommend StoneTech Professional Oil Stain Remover (www.stonetechpro.com). This easy-to-use poultice is designed to slowly remove oily stains from natural stone surfaces.
Do not sit or lean on weaker points in your countertop, such as the narrow area in front of the sink or cook top. Avoid standing or sitting on suspended tabletops such as breakfast bars or shelves. Granite can withstand very hot temperatures, however, rapid heat changes from cold to hot or vice versa could possibly crack your granite. If you have a seam in your countertop it is best to avoid setting hot materials on top of it. The epoxy in the seam is heat resistant, but can be melted if exposed to heat for an extended period.
Chips in granite are not a common occurrence and are most often caused by banging something into the edge of the countertop. Heavy pots and pans and the bottoms of large bottles do most of the damage. Take care when you handle them around your granite. If a chip does occur and you find the piece that chipped out, save it. Most of the times it can be glued back into place.
Granite is quartz based material and can therefore be scratched by quartz or anything harder. Knives will not scratch granite, although cutting on your countertops is not recommended as your knives will dull very quickly. Diamonds will scratch granite. Removing diamond rings before cooking is recommended. Certain stoneware dishes contain rough silica sand and pose a risk of scratching. Some pizza-stones will scratch granite if they are spun around while cutting the pizza. If you use a marble cutting board make sure the rubber or plastic feet remain secure. If the marble ends up rubbing on the granite this does pose a scratching risk.
Sealing your Stone
Natural stone has been formed over millions of years but improper care can ruin nature’s beauty. Although we usually think of stone as “hard”, it is a porous material that can absorb spills and stains if left untreated. Sealing your stone with a quality impregnating sealer will prevent most spills from damaging your investment.Prior to installation, your countertops were sealed. However, we still recommend applying extra layers of a stone sealer every 6 months after the granite is installed.
There are a wide variety of sealers available, so you need to select one for your specific needs and natural stone type. Impregnating sealers, with new, advanced fluorochemical technology, penetrate the stone and help protect it against that natural stone is best protected with a fluorochemical-based sealer.
Once sealed properly, your stone is protected against everyday dirt and spills. Proper cleaning will help the sealer last longer and keep your stone protected without damaging your stone’s natural beauty.