Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Caring For Your New Countertop

Most countertops can get by with consistent basic cleaning. But there are some types that need very specific care and maintenance. Additionally, some countertops have substances that should not be spilled or allowed to set on them for any extended period. Vinegar is great for cleaning a laminate countertop, but terrible for marble and granite countertops.

The Basic Daily Care:
Dust and dirt will wear on countertop surfaces. Spills that set for too long on many countertops can become very difficult to remove. For this reason, a daily routine for your countertops becomes very important. A dry wipe down with a soft clean cloth is all that is needed on a day when the counters haven't been used. If more extensive cleaning is needed, water and a soft cloth can do the trick for most routine cleaning.

Wipe Up Spills Right Away:
Spills have the potential to stain and mark most countertop surfaces. Porous stones that are in need of resealing will soak up spills, and discolor their surface. Even laminate countertops can discolor from spills. Removing spills immediately will protect your countertops over time.

Keep Cleaning Simple:
Even big messes can be cleaned thoroughly using very basic methods. To protect your countertops, start with the basic methods of dry dusting and/or cleaning with water. Only move on to special cleaners, or dish soap depending on countertop type, if it is needed. There are specialty cleaners out there that are great for occasional use, but generally, work from the easiest cleaning method, moving to more advanced methods only if the countertop needs extra care and cleaning. Granite is a very durable stone. Granite itself is approximately 95-98% stain resistant, but we also use a special sealant on all of our natural stone products. This will insure lasting life and beauty. Polished granite should receive the same cleaning care as polished marble, preferably using specially formulated cleaners or using a mild phosphate-free, biodegradable liquid dish-soap, followed by a thorough rinsing and drying with cotton-flannel or chamois. If you are going to go with just plain soap and water, keep in mind that this can lead to soap build up. This, in turn, will dull your countertop's finish significantly which you do not desire. When using a granite cleaner, let it set for about 30 seconds and then wipe it off well using a soft cloth.

Know Your Maintenance Requirements:
Knowing your responsibilities for maintenance will keep you from having any unpleasant surprises with your countertops. Most stone countertops need to be sealed every six months to a year depending on use and type of stone. Sealing keeps the countertops strong and useable. Find out the requirements for your countertops and keep up with their maintenance schedule.

Call In The Professionals:
One of your best resources for caring for countertops should come when they are installed. The professionals who install your countertops know all the ins and outs of keeping them looking nice. Manufacturer's websites often have answers to common care questions as well. If damage does happen to your countertops, don't be afraid to call a professional for advice on how to repair the damaged portion.

For more information on this and other frequently asked questions, please visit our site at