The easiest way to keep your stone looking great is to avoid bad habits that may damage it. Granite, marble, travertine, limestone, soapstone, quartz and other solid surfaces are similar in many ways, but their differences mean there are varying degrees of maintenance. However, If you utilize the granite countertop care and cleaning procedures that follow for all your countertops you'll eliminate most potential problems without ever having to think about it or worry that you may be causing damage.
Do: Blot up spills immediately.
Acidic substances like wine, coffee, fruit juices, tomato sauce, and sodas will not etch granite like they do marble, but they could potentially stain the surface. Cooking oils may also leave a stain if not wiped up.
Do: Clean surfaces using a sponge or soft cloth.
Using a specially formulated stone cleaner is recommended to keep your tops in the best condition and protect the sealer, but hot water will do for quick clean-ups. Dish soap won't permanently damage your granite, but repeated use of soap will cause build-up (yes, even if you rinse) and dull your countertop's shine. So, using dish soap for regular granite countertop care is not recommended.
Do: Use coasters under all glasses, bottles, and cans.
Again, granite won't etch and using coasters on dense and/or properly sealed granite is not an absolute necessity like with marble, but using coasters is just a good practice to protect all surfaces.
Do: Use trivets and hot pads under pots & pans.
Yes, you can take a hot pot off the stove and put it right on granite countertops without any problems. It is possible for granite (or any stone or quartz) to suffer "thermal shock" and crack, but rare. You don't really want to put hot pans on any other surface except soapstone. Grit that gets trapped between the pot and the countertop surface may scratch the surface. Granite is very hard and can take tons of abuse without any significant damage, but it can develop light surface scratches or pit in high-use areas around the sink and cooktop. It is not common, but it is possible. Better safe than sorry.
If it does happen, don't fret too much. Most chips and scratches can be repaired, but it's best to avoid them by following the granite counter top care tips.
Do: Use cutting boards.
Again, avoid the possibility of scratching the surface and protect your knives. Cutting on the stone will dull and damage your knives' edges quickly.
Do: Dust mop your natural stone floors regularly.
Use a clean, dry, non-treated dust-mop. Some people choose to use a vacuum cleaner. But be real careful. Worn parts or grit jammed by the wheels may scratch the surface.
Do: Use door mats inside and out along with runners and area rugs.
Grit, dirt, and sand carried in by our shoes are abrasive and will wear and scratch the surface. Clean the rugs regularly.
The Don'ts of Granite Countertop Care
Don't: Use generic cleaning products such as bleach, glass cleaners, de-greasers or other common household cleaners.
These products that you buy at your local store contain acids, alkalis and other chemicals that will degrade the
granite sealer (and will etch marble) leaving the stone more vulnerable to staining. Trying to save money by using these chemicals only ensures that you'll spend a lot more time and money on your granite countertop care in the long-run.
Don't: Use vinegar, ammonia, lemon or orange as cleaners.
Again, most common and name-brand household products are not good for cleaning granite countertops (and definitely cannot be used for marble, travertine or most other stones)
Don't: Use the bathroom, tub & tile or grout cleaners.
The powders and even the "soft" creams contain abrasives that will scratch and dull surfaces.
Don't: Sit or stand on your countertops.
Unlike laminate countertops, granite, marble and quartz countertops are very hard, but not flexible and they DO
NOT have a plywood backing so too much weight in one spot could cause a crack.
Don't: Store toiletry products directly on your countertop surface.
Hair products, perfumes, colognes, nail products, creams, lotions, and potions have a tendency to spill or leak and go overlooked.
Even when sealed, a substance that remains on the surface for an extended period may stain granite (and etch marble and other stones). Practice proactive granite counter top care by storing these products on a shelf or decorative tray like they do in fancy hotels!
Recommended Cleaning Routine
Hot water and dish rag or sponge are all you need to clean spills and wipe away crumbs to keep your countertops clean and tidy throughout the day. At the end of the day, a quick spray and wipe of the most heavily used areas with a good stone cleaner are sufficient to clean, disinfect and protect your countertops and provide a streak-free shine.
Use the granite countertop cleaner over the entire surface and edges to remove all dust and debris from around countertop appliances, containers, etc. This also serves to condition the stone and maintain its overall luster.