Though your kitchen counters may seem nearly indestructible, over time, they can break down and become permanently damaged. While proper maintenance can extend their lifespan, failing to take care of them adequately can actually cause them to break down faster. No matter if you are thinking about installing new counters or just want to keep your existing ones in top condition, regular maintenance is key. Below are a few common mistakes homeowners make when caring for their kitchen counters.
Yes, the instructions on the bottle of cleaner actually do mean something. If you use the wrong type of cleaner on your kitchen countertops, you could be doing more harm than good. If you use a solution that was designed for glass, it can permanently harm natural stone counters. It leaves behind a residue, and it can make the sealant less effective. Detergent and soap can cause similar issues and are practically impossible to wash off. You also want to stay away from cleaning products that are extremely acidic or alkaline, like vinegar, lemon juice, bleach, oven cleaners, and drain cleaners. These cleaning solutions break down the protective layer made by the sealant. They can also cause severe damage to calcite-based stone counters like granite and marble. Instead, only use cleaning products that were specifically designed for your countertop material.
While sealing your counters can help to protect them against water damage, it's still a good idea to clean up spills as soon as they appear. If your counters haven't been resealed in a while, the sealant may have worn off in some areas. This leaves them vulnerable to staining and damage from any liquids that are spilled on them. To be safe, try to clean up spills as soon as they occur. Blot the area with a paper towel to soak up the liquid. Then, rinse the spot with water and dry it thoroughly with a microfiber cloth.
When it comes to cleaning your countertops, taking a gentle approach is always better. Put that scrubbing pad, metal scourer, and brush away and trade them in for a soft rag. Abrasive cleaning tools can scratch the surface of your countertops, leaving you looking for new kitchen countertops options in Alpharetta. Simply wipe your counters down with a soft cloth and buff them after with a dry one to leave a sparkling finish.
Similar to acidic cleaning products, acidic foods and juices also have no place being on your natural stone countertops. These foods and drinks include citrus fruits, coffee, milk, and many other fruits and veggies. When you are preparing or serving these foods, make sure to place a barrier, like a plate or cutting board, between them and the counter. If you spill something on the counter, clean it up immediately and rinse off the surface with water.
One of the most important countertop maintenance tasks is reapplying sealant. Nonporous stones like soapstone and quartz don't need to be sealed. However, other materials like marble, granite, quartzite, limestone, onyx, and travertine do. These materials can absorb liquid and collect bacteria when they are not properly treated.
Along with the sanitation issue, this can also cause them to get scratched and stained. With regular use, the sealant on your counters will deteriorate, leaving them open to harm. As a rule of thumb, test out the sealant on your counters every two years or so. Place a few water droplets on your most-used portion of the countertop and let it sit for 15 minutes. If the water remains, your sealant is still intact. If the water has disappeared, get your counters treated as soon as you can.
For more information about maintaining your countertops or installing new ones, contact us at Atlantis Granite & Marble, LLC today!