Granite countertops are among the most sought after natural stone by homeowners. Despite the fact that it is quite costly, homeowners still prefer to use it because it adds value to their house. It is harvested from the earth as one huge slab of stone. This, together with the natural design of the stone, is the primary reason why it is a popular choice among homeowners.

While the beauty of a granite kitchen counter cannot be denied, it will not last long without proper maintenance and care. Just like the other natural stones that you use as a countertop material, you need to know how to take care of it to preserve that beauty of the stone. While granite possesses a diamond-like hardness, there are still rules that you need to follow especially when dealing with temperature stress because the finish and even the sealant on the granite are not as heat resistant as the stone itself.

Here are the important tips that will help you maintain the aesthetic appeal of your granite kitchen countertop.

  • Use only mild soap or dishwashing liquid and warm water to clean the countertop. Cleaning products that contain acid or abrasive chemicals can damage the natural color of the granite and can possibly scratch the surface. You should also use a soft clean cloth when applying the cleaning solution.
  • Avoid sitting, standing or kneeling on the countertop. Any heavy weight may result in cracks or breaks in the counter.
  • Avoid putting hot pans directly on granite countertops – especially when you have dark granites. It may cause discoloration or could also crack the counter. Put a mat or any protective barrier between the hot object and the granite surface.
  • If there are spills, make sure you wipe it immediately. This type of stone is resilient to stains brought about by citric acid, tea, coffee, wine or alcohol. However, it is best to wipe the spills anyway as a preventive measure. Letting it sit on the counter overnight is not really wise – although it will not stain your granite countertop.
  • Oil-based spills are more likely to stain the granite so it has to be wiped immediately. If you will place pots or pans with an oily base (after cooking), make sure you put a barrier in between. If the oil stain cannot be removed by mild soap, you can use a mixture of baking soda and water. Mix it until you get a paste-like substance. Moisten the granite and apply the mixture – around ½” thick. Place a plastic sheet over it and let it sit for 48 hours. Remove with a spatula and rinse the area with clean water after 48 hours.
  • To avoid soap scum, use clean hot water to rinse it off and dry it with a paper towel. To avoid build up of lime and other dried spills, use a razor blade and gently scrape it off. Do not use cleaning products with ammonia because it will have a negative effect on the seal of granite countertops.
  • For stains that are hard to remove, use a no-scratch Scotch Brite pad. You can also use dry steel wool – as long as it is grade 00.

Granite countertops are actually quite durable – but you have to make sure the aesthetic value will not decrease over time. Follow these tips to keep your countertops looking as good as new.