Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Stone

Keep Your Stone Looking Great

The easiest way to keep your stone looking great is to avoid bad habits that may damage it. Granite, marble, travertine, limestone, soapstone, quartz countertops and other solid surfaces like these are similar in many ways, but their differences require varying degrees of maintenance.

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 natural stone and granite cleaner is recommended to keep your countertops in the best condition while also protecting the sealer. However, hot water will do for quick clean-ups. Dish soap won’t permanently damage your stone, but repeated use of soapy water will cause build-up (yes, even if you rinse) and dull your countertop’s shine. So, regularly using dish soap for cleaning granite countertops is not recommended.

Do: Use Coasters Under all Glasses, Bottles, and Cans

Granite won’t etch so 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 bath and kitchen countertop 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 want to put hot pans on any other surface except for soapstone. Quartz is prone to heat staining in which the resins can actually burn and permanently discolor.

But you should consider other issues as well…

Grit that gets trapped between the pot and the countertop surface may scratch the surface–even granite countertops. Granite is very hard and durable and can take tons of abuse without any significant damage, but it can develop light surface scratches or pitting in high-use areas around the sink and cooktop. Keeping surfaces clean and grit free helps them stay glossy.  ALL other surfaces are less scratch resistant than granite and are much more prone to damage. Better safe than sorry. Most chips and scratches can be repaired, but it’s best to avoid them by following our stone countertop care tips found in our other post.

Do: Use a Cutting Board

Again, avoid the possibility of scratching the solid surface and protect your knives. Cutting on the stone will dull and damage your knives’ edges quickly. You should never use your granite counter as a cutting board.

Don’t: Use Generic Cleaning Products 

Generic cleaning products including bleach, glass cleaners, and other degreasers and common household cleaners 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.

Don’t: Use Vinegar, Ammonia, Lemon or Orange as Cleaners

Most common and name-brand household products are not suitable for cleaning granite countertops (and definitely cannot be used for marble, travertine or most other stones). It is best to avoid using anything that isn’t specifically recommended by the manufacturer. Simply use warm water and a soft cloth. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners and vinegar.

Don’t: Use Bathroom, Tub and 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 a laminate countertop surface, granite, marble and quartz solid surface countertops are very hard, but not flexible. Additionally, they DO NOT have a plywood backing, so when too much weight is applied in one spot, it could cause a crack.

Don’t: Store Liquids or Toiletries Directly on Your Countertop 

Cooking oils, hair products, perfumes, colognes, nail products, creams, lotions, and potions tend to spill or leak and often go overlooked. Even when sealed, a substance that remains on the granite surface for an extended period may stain the granite (and etch marble and other stones). Practice proactive granite countertop care by storing these products on a shelf 
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