Since granite kitchen countertops represent a major investment, homeowners naturally want to know the facts about care of granite countertops. Granite is a harder stone than marble, and the care for it is generally more simple than it is for marble.
However, whichever stone is used for countertops, one of the most important principles of care of granite countertops is that you should always wipe spills immediately. Granite is somewhat absorbent, and can absorb stains if spills are left any length of time. Red wine, ink, dark fruit juices and vegetables like beets can be especially hard on your countertop.
A mild solution of dish washing liquid in warm water is fine for routine care of granite countertops. Using a soft cloth, give it a quick wipe every day. Stains are unlikely if the stone is sealed with a countertop sealant, but they can still happen. Never use harsh chemcial cleaners like tile cleaner or bathroom cleaners.
In severe cases, a stain may require a granite cleansing poultice. A poultice for care of granite countertops can be made by combining a tablespoon or two of dish soap with a cup of white flour and enough water to make a paste.
To use the paste, spread it over the stain, and lay plastic wrap over the paste. By letting this set overnight, the flour will have time to absorb the stain back out of the granite counter top surface.
Molding plaster can also be made into a poultice for care of granite countertops. Combine it with bleach and use the paste on stains that are not from greasy sources. Stains such as ink or wine might respond to this treatment. For oily stains, use water instead of bleach to make this poultice.
Hydrogen peroxide is safe to use for care of granite countertops and can be combined with ammonia to treat food stains like tea or coffee. Peroxide is more suited to light colored granite countertops, however, since it has something of a bleaching action. It can also be used with flour in place of dish soap to make a paste to clean greasy stains.
Coasters are a good idea under any drinks, and you should also be careful not to set hot pots directly on granite counters. Since granite counters are growing in popularity, it is possible to find special cleaners designed for care of granite countertops. It is also recommended that the countertop be resealed by the installing company every couple of years. The professional granite installer can also polish away scratches for you.
If you find yourself with a crack in your granite counter, maybe from a dropped pan or coffee mug, it can be fixed with a DIY granite repair kit. Available from local stone distributors, these usually contain some sort of epoxy compound that will fill the chip or crack. The damaage has to be reasonably small, though, other wise you may need to call in a pro.
Photo by Kyknoord, Creative Commons Attribution License