Guide to Cleaning Stone Countertops
Follow these simple guidelines to care for your counterotps
For everyday cleaning on most stone materials – use a soft, clean towel with warm, soapy water. Make sure to use a mild dish soap because a soap that is too abrasive for hands will be too abrasive for countertops. A harsh soap can diminish the seal on the surface, which can increase the risk of staining. If anything is spilled on the countertops (such as wine or juice), do not wipe the area as this could spread the stain. Dab the area with a clean clothe/towel instead. MWMG recommends not using wax, bleach, Limeaway, or high-pH cleaners on any countertop surfaces.
Basic Maintenance & Cleaning Granite Countertops
For granite maintenance, Midwest Marble & Granite offers a cleaner/sealer called Supreme Surface. It is a granite solution that cleans, polishes, and seals the countertops. A recommended usage for this cleaner is every few days as needed to help preserve the seal on the surface as well as protect against stains. The solution is eco-friendly and safe to use around food, pets, and children; however, do NOT eat the solution. It smells so wonderful that you think, “I bet it would taste good too.” Please do not consume the solution.
Most granite comes pre-sealed with a resin from the processing company. There are maybe a handful of colors that will not be sealed through processing and a knowledgeable MWMG associate can provide information on which colors do not have a resin and which colors do in case there is a need for a low-maintenance countertop. A good test to do if there is a inkling that the countertops need to be sealed…simply take a wet finger and run it over the surface of the granite in various places, including next to the sink. If the water beads up, the countertops are still sealed. If it looks like the water is absorbed in to the stone, this could indicate that the tops are not sealed. If a sealer needs to be purchased, most local hardware stores will carry them. We recommend using DuPont Penetrating Impregnator Sealer or a similar product. Midwest Marble & Granite offers granite sealing as well at an affordable price that is based on the square footage of countertops space and type of granite (some colors soak up more sealer than others).
For granite stains that have already set-in – There are poultices that tackle a wide variety of stains. Please be advised that not ALL stains can be removed. Rust is an example of a difficult (if not impossible) stain to have removed. A resurfacing professional will need to be consulted if there is a rust stain on granite countertops. Please see our poultices blog on advice for different stain types.
Using granite as a cutting board – please be advised that it will not damage your countertops; however, it could diminish the surface polish if the same area is used for cutting. Also, the granite will significantly make the knives dull.
Basic Maintenance & Cleaning Quartz Countertops
For quartz maintenance – it is similar to granite. In most situations, just use soapy water and a paper towel or clean clothe. We recommend that once a spill is made, clean it up right way before the substance dries. It is recommended by Dupont that stubborn or dried spills should be cleaned with a scotch brite pad with Formula 409 Glass and Surface Cleaner.
Midwest Marble & Granite recommends to not use quartz countertops as a cutting board. Unlike granite, the countertops can/will scratch with the use of knives, so it is very important to use cutting boards. Also, we recommend using trivets for hot pots, pans, or any hot cooking dishes. Yes, quartz countertops can resist heat and scratches but they are not heat or scratch proof. Keep in mind that this type of countertop is somewhat man-made and there is a chance for staining, scratching, and heat marks.
Basic Maintenance & Cleaning Marble, Limestone, and Travertine Countertops
Cleaning marble, limestone, and travertine requires the same care because they are in the same family (for cleaning requirements anyway). These stones are more susceptible to certain chemicals, liquids, and foods. The most common way to clean these surfaces is simply using soapy water and a nonabrasive clothe, sponge, or paper towel. Some websites will say that they are high maintenance countertops while others will say they are low maintenance. MWMG recommends using coasters when possible, do not slide anything across the surface, try not to spill any acidic liquids, use trivets, and do not use any oil-based sealers/cleaners.
These materials have a tendency to stain, etch, and scratch easier than granite or quartz. If staining does occur, identify what type of stain is present….is it acidic, organic, ink-based, paint-based, etc. Clean up the stain by dabbing it immediately with a dry clothe, towel, or paper towel. Apply the area with mild soap and water several times. Dry thoroughly and repeat if necessary.
For extra precautions against staining – seal the stone to make it more stain resistant (notice how that doesn’t say stain proof). The most common practice for MWMG is to apply an impregnating sealer that will act as more of a repellent. Make sure any sealer that is used is water-based.
For more information on cleaning and getting to know these stones, please refer to the Marble Institute of America.