Protecting your granite countertops involves more than just admiring them, but you probably want to keep them looking new for as long as possible, so you can continue to relish their useful beauty. Though granite is low in upkeep because of its hardness and resistance to heat, scratches, dings, and dents, it does require some care to remain pristine. Caring for granite is really pretty straightforward and involves a few easy do-it-yourself steps, and here are 7 ways that you can DIY.
Just ordinary cleaning can go a long way in protecting your granite countertops. There are professional products out there that are specifically designed for granite, (both cleaners and polishes) but if you don’t want to go the specialty cleaning route, here are a few simple steps to do it on your own. One thing to remember, if possible, is to quickly take care of any spills. Blot the area as opposed to scrubbing it. Scrubbing can cause etching and you want to prevent that.
Supplies and Process:
- Dish detergent, paper towels/soft cloths and hot water
For actual cleaning, apply a few drops of dish soap to a wet (hot water) paper towel or cloth. Lather well and wipe over the countertop areas. Once clean, dry the countertops with paper towels or a soft cloth.
Supplies and Process:
- Alcohol (isopropyl), dish detergent, spray bottle, soft cloth and water
Another way to protect your granite countertops is through disinfecting them after a thorough cleaning. You want to get rid of any remaining bacteria or viral material on countertop surfaces. Just use the spray bottle filled halfway with the alcohol, add a few drops of detergent and fill the remaining half with water. Spray on the already dry counter tops and allow the mixture to remain for 3-5 minutes and then wipe the sections dry with paper towels or a soft cloth.
3. What Not to Use for Cleaning Granite
Granite countertops can’t tolerate cleaning products like vinegar, bleach, wipes infused with bleach, scratchy pads, powdered cleansers, ammonia-based cleaners, and brand name products like 409, CLR and Windex. When in doubt with any cleaner, think soap and water, soft cloths, specific granite cleaners and the alcohol (isopropyl)for disinfecting.
With granite being a porous natural stone, it can absorb any number of food-related items that are often found in a kitchen area. If granite countertops haven’t been correctly sealed, stains can appear. There are DIY stain removers that you can make to help remove those stains, and one simple and old-fashioned device is a poultice made from flour, along with an absorbing agent to pull out the stain.
Food, Oil and Hard Water Stains
- For food stains, make a thick paste of flour and peroxide and apply as a poultice.
- For oil stains, combine flour and dish detergent in a paste and apply as a poultice.
- For hard water stains, simply use mild dish detergent with a soft brush.
Whatever poultice blend you choose to use on granite stains, you’ll want to make any poultice approximately 1/4 inch in thickness and spread it a little beyond the stain. Cover the area with plastic wrap, puncture the plastic in a few spots and anchor the area with blue painter’s tape. This process will allow for slower drying time and will give the poultice time to absorb the stain. Allow it to remain overnight or up to 24 hours before removing the paste. Repeat the process if the stain is not completely removed.
Sealing your granite countertops is pretty much a necessity because of the porosity of granite. You can leave your countertops unprotected but that can eventually lead to all sorts of unforeseen stains and more complicated problems. A good sealer will prevent spills from coming in contact with the granite and will establish a protective shield.
Sealing counter tops involves the use of different types of sealing products. A regular topical or coating sealer is made to be removed easily and reapplied on an intermittent basis (every six months). Other sealants, such as penetrating sealants are more permanent and require application at longer intervals (once a year or longer). They are meant to penetrate deep into the granite and cover any areas that are unseen. Enhancing sealers are another sealant type that gives granite more of a darker and wetter look that highlights the coloration and patterns of the stone.
Before applying a sealant, clean your countertops then apply the sealant. Sealers or sealants can be in a spray, polish or liquid form and applied through a spray bottle, foam brush or cloth. Consult with a granite expert as to which sealant type is best for your countertops and your situation before purchasing one. There are varying sealers to consider.
Protecting your granite countertops from chips is important as any open area leaves granite susceptible to staining, plus your sealant protection has been compromised. Chips can be repaired through an epoxy resin, which can be found through home or hardware stores. Any chips should be pinpointed and blue painter’s tape applied to identify the area. Combine the epoxy resin and the hardener and place it on the chipped area with a spackle or flat knife. Smooth out the area and get rid of any excess. Allow the spot to harden. Once dried, reseal the area.
7. Kits for Repair
Repair kits made for granite are handy to have around when dealing with chips, cracks, breaks and related problems. A number of kits utilize epoxy resins that are activated by light, which helps to set the epoxy quickly and is good for smaller cracks and chips. Following instructions with any kit, no matter how they are activated, is extremely important. Your granite countertops will only be aggravated by a poor application that will result in unprotected areas that will be subject to stains and further damage.
Do-it-yourself ideas to protect granite countertops are useful; however, there are likely to be more involved problems with granite counter tops that show deep scratches, gouges, chips, breaks and associated issues. At that point, it is somewhat risky to tackle these more involved problems on your own. If that is your situation, or you just have questions, complete the contact form and a granite specialist will get back to you with solutions for protecting your granite countertops.