Caring for a stone kitchen countertop or a vanity top is not as easy as everyone makes it seem. If you have a granite, soapstone, or marble countertop or vanity top, or you have one with hone-finished stone, you may find plenty of solutions on how to maintain them in tip-top shape. This is not necessarily the case with countertops or vanity made of polished marble, some kinds of sandstone, or other problematic stones such as slate.
Some would tell you not to use your countertop because it is not much you could do to make sure these countertops retain the factory finish they once had. But all is not gloom – there is one thing you could still do. Remember to stay away from products that cannot remove soil particles from stone without interacting with and ruining the stone’s makeup. Such products are not safe to use on your countertop. So, what should you do to maintain your countertop’s appearance and finish?
Rule number one – avoid using generic household cleaners glass cleaners to clean your countertops. Instead, opt for products that are specifically formulated with the stone’s chemistry in mind. Think about it this way – when you wash your hands with dish soap, you take so much time and use a lot of water to get rid of all of the soap from your hands. If you used this on a stone surface, it means using even more water. There is the belief that people hold that soap and water will do the job and not only get rid of the dirt but also sanitize the cleaned area.
Contrary to this common belief, soap, and water will do a good job when it comes to stone countertops. Instead of cleaning your surface, the soap will leave a film over it because it is not thoroughly cleaned off. If this mixes with other particles such as soil and is left on the surface for some time, it may lead to the destruction of your surface altogether. Yet most fabricators and dealers continue to advise homeowners to use glass cleaners to a little dish soap to clean their countertops.
Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when cleaning your countertops. Not only will you ensure that they stay clean and safe, but you will also give them a longer life than if you did the wrong thing.
Use stone-friendly products
If you are looking for products to give your countertops a thorough clean and still retain the stone’s features and chemistry, consider products that have a label that specifically marks them safe for use on natural stone. One thing to look out for is a product that comes in a spray-bite and has a PH-level that is either neutral or on the alkaline side. If you use your countertops very often, for example, for cooking, you should choose a product with an alkaline PH level of not more than 9. Countertops that are not used that often can be cleaned with a product with a lesser alkaline PH or neutral.
Get rid of spills immediately
One of the mistakes people make when it comes to countertop care is that they let food and drink spills stay on the surface for far too long. To avoid the need to use harsh products, clean spills immediately after they occur. For stone countertops, it is recommended that you clean spills using the blotting method as much as possible.
Avoid scouring pads
While food particles can be difficult to clean once they dry on the countertop’s surface, it is important to remember that using scouring pads can cause even more damage. Green and brown scouring pads, especially, are too abrasive and can scratch your stone surface. Sponges which are lined with golden or silver nets are ideal to use, as well as plastic scouring pads. It is also advisable to spray the cleaner on the dried particles and let it sit first before attempting to clean it off. Most of the time, you may not even need an abrasive to remove the particles because they will already be softened and easy to remove.
Use safe brightening products
For some homeowners, bright and shiny countertops are a big must-have. While some use products that give their countertops a quick and easy shine, they ignore the harm these products do to their surfaces. It is recommended that you choose food-grade brightening products if you have a polished floor because these are sanitary to use. Some products may be too harsh and become harmful to your health, especially if you use your countertops for food preparation.
Caring for your vanity tops
Apart from kitchen countertops, vanity tops are also not that easy to care for and maintain. Homeowners make the same mistakes by relying on harsh cleaning products without giving their natural stone consideration. One of the must-dos when caring for a vanity top is to clean the surface regularly using a cleaner specifically designed for natural stone. This could be a lightweight cleaner that you could easily make stone friendly by mixing it with water in a ratio of 1:1.
Avoid glass cleaners
When cleaning the mirror on top of the vanity, you should avoid glass cleaners, which can cause a lot of damage when spilled on natural stone. It is advisable to use stone spray cleaner on the mirror surface too. If it spills on the vanity top, it will not be damaged anyway.
Other tips for vanity top maintenance
When cleaning your vanity top, do not use cream or powder cleansers like Soft ScrubTM. It is also advisable to keep the heat off the surface as well as sharp objects. For example, do not do your nails on the vanity top. If you are looking for ways to improve the vanity top’s appearance and give it some shine, you should consider using high-quality stone polishes.
With these tips, you will definitely extend the longevity of your kitchen countertop and vanity top.