granite countertop in kitchen with 'granite countertop care' in orange overlayed circle

Granite Countertop Care: A Complete Guide

Purchasing a granite countertop is a lot like purchasing a car; It requires some maintenance, and failure to provide granite countertop care in a timely matter can make the issue even worse. You’re in luck though–not only do we provide some of the highest quality granite countertops in Kansas City, but we also want to make sure your product maintains it’s new-look whether you’ve had it for 10 days or 10 years. In this post, we’ll cover:

  1. When to Seal
  2. Cleaning/Care Best Practices
  3. Maintenance Tips
  4. How to Fix Stains, Chips and Cracks

1. When to Seal Your Granite Countertop

One of the best ways to preserve your granite countertop is by applying an impregnating sealer. This product doesn’t alter the natural look of your granite, but it does form an invisible barrier that  protects your countertop from moisture and stains (while still allowing vapor to escape). This barrier not only protects the granite, but also gives it a nice shine. The sealer should be applied when the granite is completely dry, and it should be buffed with a rough cloth afterward.

511 impregnator sealer bottle in blue

You can check to see whether your granite countertop has already been sealed by leaving a few drops of water on the surface. If the water beads up, you’re fine. If it’s soaked into the granite, it’s time to re-seal.

It’s important to note though that not all countertops require this application. Oftentimes, careful maintenance alone will do the trick. Here’s a quick video walkthrough of the process if you’d like to complete granite countertop care on your own:

2. Cleaning/Care Best Practices

  • Cleaning Spills: Clean up spills quickly to prevent surface penetration (especially oil spills). Since granite can be absorbent, it’s best to nip spills in the bud. Spills can be cleaned with gentle dish soap and warm water. If you really want to treat your granite countertop, do daily cleans with a microfiber cloth.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: While you want to be clean, there’s a healthy balance. Do NOT use regular cleaning chemicals on your countertop. This will strip the seal and expose the porous surface. Chemicals to avoid include: Windex, acidic substances (ie: vinegar), or bleach-based products.
  • Homemade Solution: The great thing about granite countertops is that they’re pretty impervious to bacteria when sealed correctly. However, if you think it could do with something a little extra, you can mix together a 50:50 solution of water and 91% isopropyl alcohol. Spray, let site for 5 minutes, then rinse with water & dry. Voila!
CVS bottle of 91% isopropyl alcohol

  • Meat, Glasses and Countainters: Avoid putting certain things directly on your granite countertop, including meat (contaminants can transfer) and glasses that may sweat. Use a coaster when you can, and remember not to leave wet containers on the surface for very long. If, for example, you leave olive oil bottles on your countertop, make sure there isn’t any residue on the bottom of the bottle that may discolor the granite.
  • Don’t cut on the stone: This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s imperative that you avoid cutting directing on your quartz countertop. Failure to abide by this rule will result in cuts on the stone AND dull/damaged knives. JUST BUY A CUTTING BOARD!
  • Use trivets and hot pads: Though one of the perks of granite is that you can place hot pans directly on the surface, you should exercise this ability with caution (see thermal shock). To avoid potential cracks and scratches caused by grit trapped between the pan and countertop, use hot pads! Hot pads also prevent the surface from being hot once the pan is removed.
  • Don’t stand on the countertop: This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s important that you avoid putting unnecessary strain on your granite countertop. Though these surfaces are tough, they don’t have plywood backing. Too much weight on the surface could cause a crack, and we don’t want that!

3. Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your granite countertop with the proper care is actually really simple. We’ll go through the steps you can take on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to ensure your countertop stays in tip-top condition with regular maintenance.

Every day, you should be mopping up spills with hot water and a dish rag and keeping the surface crumb-free. If you want to go the extra mile, whip out some Granite and Marble Spray Cleaner and give the surface a few sprays to keep your countertops clean.  

bottle of stone and more granite and marble cleaner

On a weekly basis, you should do a full wipe-down with a soft cloth. This means setting aside everything on the counter and using your granite cleaner to pick up dust and debris that makes its way into the corners and edges of your granite countertop. This is the best way to ensure your counters maintain the same luster as the day you bought them.

Each month, it’s best to use a topical conditioning stone polish to enhance the shine of your granite countertop. The Simple Green Stone Polish offers both shine and protection using a non-toxic formula (great if you have children and pets!).

bottle of simple green stone polish

Each year, you should test to make sure your sealant is still holding up. You can use the water drop test that we mentioned above. Simply pour ¼ cup of water on your granite countertop and record how long it takes for the water to be absorbed into the granite (indicated by darkening). You can use this chart from The Granite Guy to determine what your recorded time indicates.

chart showing the water test for granite countertop care

Frequency for re-sealing varies, so be sure to use the test! After all, there’s no use wasting money on something that doesn’t need fixing. Bonus tip: If the water around you sink is darkening the stone, that’s a sign that re-sealing may be necessary,

Polishing

An interesting thing about granite countertops is that they actually have a natural shine. Applying a product doesn’t really make a difference on the shine or reflectiveness of the granite, and it won’t solve the problem if you have a dull finish.

If your granite countertop has a dull look, it’s most likely because of film on the surface. It takes several years for the finish to wear off, since granite is such a hard material. If you’re using harsh products to clean your countertop on a regular basis or exposing your countertop to acidic foods, expect consequences.

In the case that the natural polished look of your countertop has faded, you’ll need to reach out to a granite restoration professional that will know how to treat the material properly.

How to Fix Stains, Chips and Cracks

  • Stains: Because granite is naturally porous, staining is oftentimes inevitable. Stains present themselves as dark spots, but can easily be prevented by sealing. If your countertop is already stained, use a granite poultice as a stain removal. A simple, homemade poultice recipe can be made by mixing baking soda and water until the mixture reaches the same consistency as sour cream. Once you’ve created the mixture, apply it to the stain and cover with plastic wrap. Leave for 24 hours, then remove the poultice and wash the area.
  • Chips: Chips & pits are more common near the sink area, and they’re created when small bits of minerals break loose or are knocked out. To repair chips in your granite countertop, you can fill the hole with a color-matches epoxy (pictured below) or fill in the pits with clear acrylic to ensure the repair is nearly invisible.
universal color epoxy bottles lined up

Here’s a quick video tutorial if you want to fix a chip or pit on your own:

  • Cracks: Though it may feel like the end of the world, a crack in your granite countertop can be remedied with the proper care. Hairline cracks may not be worth fixing, since they don’t typical get worse and won’t cause any problems. However, separated cracks need immediate attention. When not repaired well, the crack will still be visible. Call in an experienced stone repair specialist to ensure the job is done right the first time.
crack in granite countertop

Contact Us

If you’re looking for granite countertops in Kansas City, you’ve come to the right place. All testing for our granite countertops is done through the Marble Institute of America to ensure your product has high stain, heat and absorption resistance. Not only do we want you to be satisfied with your purchase, but we also want you to be able to care for our high-quality products. Contact us with any additional questions, or to purchase your new countertop in Kansas City!

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