Countertop Care Guide: Tips for Maintenance and Longevity
May 9, 2023
Cleaning Countertops in Kitchen

Summary

Learn basic maintenance steps and tips to keep your countertops in prime condition, no matter the type of material.

Whether you’ve just had a new countertop installed or are looking to preserve the charm of your existing one, the key is consistent and effective maintenance. Countertops are central features in our kitchens and bathrooms; they endure a lot from cooking, spills, hot pans, knife scratches, and even harsh cleaning products. The type of material your countertop is made from, whether it’s granite, quartz, marble, quartzite, porcelain, or others, significantly influences its care and maintenance needs. In this blog, we’ll explore how to take proper care of your countertop to ensure its longevity and aesthetic appeal.

Granite Countertops

Elegant granite and quartz kitchen.

Granite Countertops

Granite is a popular choice due to its beautiful appearance and durability. Despite its hardiness, granite is porous, which means it can absorb liquids if not appropriately sealed. For optimal maintenance:

Seal Regularly:

We recommend sealing granite countertops once a year to protect them from stains. The frequency might change depending on the usage and the type of sealant used.

Clean Daily:

Use a microfiber cloth and a gentle cleaner to wipe down your countertops daily. Avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners as they can damage the sealant and potentially the granite itself.

Immediate Spill Cleanup:

To prevent potential staining, ensure you clean up spills immediately.

Calacatta Supreme countertops with waterfalls.

Quartz Countertops

Quartz is an engineered stone that requires less maintenance than natural stone surfaces. However, they still need some TLC to keep them looking their best:

Avoid Extreme Heat:

Quartz countertops are not as resistant to heat as granite. Use trivets or heat pads to protect your countertop from hot pots or pans.

Clean Regularly:

Use a soft cloth or sponge with a mild detergent to clean your countertop daily. Steer clear of harsh cleaning products.

No Sealing Required:

Unlike natural stone, quartz countertops are non-porous, so they don’t require sealing.

Marble Island with Black Countertop

Black perimeter counters with a white marble island.

Marble Countertops

Marble countertops add a touch of elegance to any room. However, they’re more prone to scratches and stains. Here’s how to care for them:

Seal Frequently:

Because marble is more porous, you should seal it more often, ideally every 6 months to a year.

Gentle Cleaning:

Use a non-abrasive cloth and a non-acidic cleaner for daily cleaning.

Immediate Spill Cleanup:

Marble is particularly sensitive to acidic substances like wine, coffee, and fruit juice. Clean any spills promptly to avoid staining.

Use a Cutting Board:

To protect your marble countertops from stratches, consider using a cutting board rather cutting directly on the stone.


Dolomite Kitchen

Matarazzo countertops with full backsplash.

Dolomite Countertops

Dolomite is a similar material to marble, but it is slightly more durable. For maintenance:

Seal Regularly:

Dolomite, like marble and granite, is a porous stone. It requires regular sealing to prevent stains and damage. Depending on usage, sealing every six to twelve months is typically advised.

Clean with Care:

Clean dolomite countertops using mild, pH-neutral, stone-safe cleaners. Avoid using acidic or abrasive cleaners, as they can etch the stone surface. Warm water and a soft cloth often work best for daily cleaning.

Avoid Direct Heat:

While dolomite is relatively heat resistant, it’s wise to use a trivet or heat pad under hot pans or dishes to prevent potential damage from rapid temperature changes.

Clean Spills Immediately:

Since dolomite is susceptible to staining, it’s important to wipe up spills promptly, especially acidic substances like lemon juice, vinegar, or tomato sauce.

Use a Cutting Board:

To prevent scratches or damage to the surface, always use a cutting board when preparing food.

Quartzite Kitchen Islands

Two luxurious quartzite islands.

Quartzite Countertops

Quartzite is an incredibly durable and aesthetically pleasing natural stone. It’s stronger than granite and nearly as hard as diamond! However, as with all natural stones, it requires some maintenance to keep it in peak condition:

Seal Regularly:

Quartzite is a porous stone, so it can absorb liquids and potentially stain. You should seal your quartzite countertops at least once a year. If your countertops see heavy use, you may want to seal them more frequently.

Clean Daily:

For everyday cleaning, use a non-abrasive cloth or sponge with a gentle, stone-safe cleaner to keep your quartzite countertops looking their best. Stay away from harsh or acidic cleaners, as they can damage the sealant and potentially etch the stone.

Handle Spills Promptly:

To prevent potential staining, be sure to clean up spills as soon as possible. Quartzite is especially resistant to acidic substances, but prompt clean-up is still the best practice.

Use Pads or Trivets with Hot Cookware:

Quartzite is more heat-resistant than other stones, but it’s still good practice to use some kind of protection as not to discolor the stone from high temperatures.

Use Cutting Boards:

Despite its hardness, the surface of quartzite can be scratched by sharp objects like knives or kitchen utensils. Always use a cutting board when chopping or cutting on your countertops.

Black Atlantis Porcelain Kitchen

Black Atlantis Atlas Plan porcelain countertops.

Porcelain Countertops

Porcelain countertops are renowned for their durability, scratch resistance, and low maintenance needs. They are resistant to stains, UV light, and even extreme temperatures. Despite these properties, it’s still wise to follow these maintenance tips:

Daily Cleaning:

You can clean porcelain countertops with a soft cloth and warm water for everyday maintenance. For deeper cleaning, you can use a mild detergent. Remember to rinse thoroughly to prevent a build-up of soap residue.

Avoid Harsh Cleaners:

Stay away from using abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals, such as steel wool pads or scouring powders. They can dull the surface over time. Porcelain’s non-porous nature makes it easy to clean without these.

Consider Polishing:

For gloss-finished porcelain countertops, consider occasional polishing to keep the shine. Use a non-abrasive polishing compound and a soft cloth for this.

Soapstone Counters

Black soapstone countertops.

Soapstone Countertops

Soapstone is a fantastic natural stone option for countertops, prized for its soft touch, rich, deep color, and timeless appeal. It’s highly heat resistant, non-porous, and doesn’t stain easily. Here are some tips on how to care for soapstone countertops:

Regular Oiling:

Unlike other stones, soapstone countertops can be enhanced and their lifespan extended by regular oiling or waxing. This doesn’t seal the stone, but it enriches the color and gives it a beautiful sheen. Mineral oil is most commonly used; apply it every few weeks for the first few months, then every few months thereafter.

Daily Cleaning:

Soapstone’s non-porous nature makes cleaning a breeze. Use a soft cloth or sponge and a bit of mild dish soap and warm water for daily cleaning. Avoid harsh, abrasive cleaners.

Scratch and Nick Repair:

One unique characteristic of soapstone is that minor scratches and nicks can often be repaired with a quick sanding using a fine-grit sandpaper, followed by an application of mineral oil.

Use Cutting Boards:

While soapstone is fairly scratch-resistant, it’s still a softer stone, so using a cutting board can prevent unwanted scratches.

Dekton

This Dekton project is a good example of the contemporary of today.

Dekton Countertops

Dekton is an ultracompact surface that boasts high resistance to scratches, heat, and stains. Its non-porous nature and lack of defects offer exceptional durability and maintenance ease. Here are some tips for taking care of your Dekton countertops:

Daily Cleaning:

For everyday cleaning, use a cloth or sponge with warm water and a mild detergent. The non-porous surface makes cleaning easy and efficient.

Avoid Abrasive Cleaners:

Despite Dekton’s high resistance to scratches, it’s always a good idea to avoid harsh or abrasive cleaners, as they may over time dull the finish. Stick to pH-neutral cleaners.

Dealing with Stubborn Stains:

If you do come across a stubborn stain, Dekton recommends using a slightly abrasive scouring pad with a non-bleach cleaner. Always remember to rinse thoroughly after.

Onyx Countertops

Source: Houzz

Onyx Countertops

Onyx countertops have vibrant colors and a unique translucence that sets them apart from other stone countertops. However, they require delicate handling and extra care to maintain their beauty. Onyx is a softer stone, more porous and susceptible to acids and scratches. Here’s how to care for them:

Regular Sealing:

Because onyx is highly porous, it needs to be sealed regularly. Depending on how frequently the countertops are used, sealing may be necessary as often as every three to four months.

Daily Cleaning:

For everyday cleaning, use a soft cloth and a mild, non-acidic, stone-safe cleaner. Avoid using harsh or acidic cleaners as they can etch the surface.

Prompt Clean-Up:

Be quick to clean up any spills, especially acidic ones like lemon juice, vinegar, wine, or tomato sauce, as these can etch the stone surface and potentially cause stains.

Use Trivets and Coasters:

Onyx is not heat-resistant, so always use a trivet under hot pots and pans to prevent heat damage. Similarly, use coasters under glasses and bottles to prevent rings and stains.

Avoid Cutting Directly:

Onyx is prone to scratches. Always use a cutting board when preparing food and avoid dragging appliances or kitchenware across the surface.

Polishing:

Consider polishing the onyx countertops occasionally. Polishing will help maintain the stone’s natural luster and remove any small scratches that may have occurred.

Avoid Sitting or Standing on Countertops:

Onyx is not as strong as something like granite or quartz, so it may crack under excessive weight.

Travertine Countertops

Source: Bob Vila

Travertine Countertops

Travertine is known for its unique, earthy beauty, but it requires a bit more care than some other materials due to its highly porous nature. Here’s how you can care for your travertine countertops:

Sealing:

It’s important to properly seal travertine countertops upon installation and regularly thereafter. Generally, sealing once a year is recommended.

Cleaning:

For daily cleaning, use a soft cloth or sponge and mild soap. Don’t use harsh chemicals, vinegar, lemon, or other acidic substances, as they can etch the stone. There are also specific stone cleaners available on the market that are designed for use on natural stones like travertine.

Spills:

Wipe up spills as soon as possible to prevent the travertine from absorbing the liquid and staining. This is particularly important for acidic substances like coffee, wine, and tomato sauce, which can cause etching and dull the finish of the stone.

Scratches:

Avoid dragging heavy objects across the countertop to prevent scratches. Use cutting boards when preparing food and coasters under beverages to protect the stone.

Stains:

If your countertop does get stained, you may be able to remove it with a poultice which is simply a mixture of baking soda and water. Apply it for approximately 24 hours, and once it has pulled out the stain, wipe it off with a damp cloth.

Maintenance:

Regularly inspect your countertop for chips, cracks, or other damages. If you notice any, it’s best to call us to repair them before they become larger problems.

Conclusion

If you take these simple measures to protect and maintain your countertops, its longetivity and asthetic appeal will endure for years to come. Now just as a note: it’s always a good idea to use protection when you’re placing a hot object or cutting while preparing a meal on your countertops, regardless of the potential resistance the stone has. Spills should also be wiped up promptly.

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