The beautifully textured granite stones began gracing kitchen spaces in the nineteenth century. Ever since its introduction in households, the granite countertop quickly gained popularity, and its trend still remains. Today, granite slabs are an essential need of busy kitchens and an element of luxury in modern housing. The versatility and aesthetic appearance of granite will certainly never let it go out of style for countertops. Moreover, granite slab’s feature low maintenance, damage-resistance, durability, and a wide range of color options, making it a great option for your kitchen countertop. But despite the phenomenal features of granite, you must always be careful of what not to put on granite countertops. Although granite is highly resistant to damage, such as stains and scratches, it requires regular cleaning and maintenance for longevity. So here, we discuss 10 things to avoid using on granite countertops if you want them to last longer.
1. Leaving Spills on Granite
Most of the time, despite being careful around your kitchen countertop, you tend to spill something on it that can leave stubborn stains on your glossy countertop. So, do granite countertops stain from all kinds of spills? Most certainly. Some spills are mildly staining. But, spills, such as coffee, tea, turmeric, wine, fruit juice, and grease, can leave tough stains on the surface if not cleaned immediately. The spill can penetrate through the surface, causing stains and ruining the look of your expensive granite countertop.
To avoid the countertop from staining, get a clean microfiber cloth and wipe the spill off from the granite surface immediately. You may also dampen the cloth with warm water to further wipe the surface until it is squeaky clean.
Here’s how you can clean spills on granite:
- Step 1: Identify if it is a liquid spill or a non-liquid spill.
- Step 2: Grab a paper towel or a soft cloth and spread it over the spill.
- Step 3: If the spill is non-liquid, simply wipe it off from the countertop with a clean cloth. If it is a liquid spill, let the cloth or paper towel soak the liquid.
- Step 4: Remove the cloth after wiping or soaking the spill off from the granite surface.
- Step 5: Pour 5 to 10 drops of pH-neutral granite cleanser on the surface of the spill.
- Step 6: Rub the surface using a damp cleaning cloth.
- Step 7: Wipe the granite surface with a clean cloth until the surface is clear without any water residue.
2. Working with Raw Meat
Raw meat on granite countertops is more of a concern for hygiene rather than any kind of damage to the granite. Uncooked meat is of no danger to granite properties. However, placing it directly on the surface can invite bacterial contamination if not cleaned properly. The residue of the raw meat on the granite can act as a perfect spot for infection manifestation, contaminating other food items placed over the countertop surface.
Things to do while working with raw meat on granite:
- Do not place raw meat directly on the surface of your granite countertop.
- Always use chopping boards for cutting the meat.
- After you have finished chopping the meat, make sure to clean the granite to remove any meat residue.
- Use ph-balanced kitchen cleaners and microfiber cloth to wipe off the meat residue on granite.
- You can wipe the surface with disinfectant, such as rubbing alcohol, to disinfect your countertop.
3. Using Harmful Cleaning Agents
Despite the damage resistance of granite stone, it can lose its shiny appearance if you use harmful cleaning agents. So, what not to put on granite countertops for cleaning? Some of the cleaning items you should steer clear of when cleaning granite slabs are:
- Glass cleaners: Glass cleaners may give your granite countertop an instant, shiny look, but in the long run, they will create uneven, dull patches on the granite surface.
- Formula 409: It is used as a bathroom cleaner to get rid of soap stains and brighten ceramics and porcelain. Such a chemically harsh cleaning agent, when used in granite, can etch the surface and cause discoloration.
- Bleach: The high alkalinity of bleach makes it highly corrosive for granite cleaning. Its corrosive properties can deteriorate granite surfaces and cause dullness. Even diluted bleach solution is not recommended for granite cleaning.
The cleaning materials mentioned above are great cleaning agents, but they are just not made for granite countertops. The alkaline and acidic components present in those cleaners can wear down the sealant coated on the granite surface for protection. Any damage in the sealant can expose the granite to various damages, such as stains and cracks.
So, what is safe to use on granite countertops for cleaning?
- Warm water
- Dish soap
- Cleaners with pH 7
- Microfiber cloth or paper towels
- Cleaners and degreasers specially made for granite countertops
- Ammonia-free cleaning agents
- Isopropyl alcohol for disinfecting
4. Storing Acidic Things
Items with acidic properties are degrading agents of granite countertops and can cause discoloration and dullness of the granite surface. Generally, granite slabs are covered in sealants coated on the surface. The sealant acts as a protective barrier between the granite stone and external surfaces, which in turn protects the granite from the risk of staining, scratches, and discoloration. When acidic substances come into contact with acidic items, they can deteriorate or break the sealant and seep into the stone. The seepage causes the granite to etch, which becomes visible as discoloration or dullness over time. So, what should you not put on a granite countertop?
Here are some of the acidic things you should NOT store on your granite countertop:
- Citrus fruits
- Soft drinks
- Nail polish remover
- Items containing bleach and ammonia
5. Using Knives Directly
Although granite boasts toughness and high resistance to scratches and cracks, it is still susceptible to scratches with sharp objects. So, can you cut food on granite? No, if you don’t want to damage your expensive granite countertop. The smooth and clean surface of your granite countertop in the kitchen may appear as an alternative to cutting boards, but it’s a bad idea to use it that way.
Using knives directly into the granite can scratch the surface. But remember that the knife won’t scratch the surface with just one use. If you repeatedly use the countertop as the cutting board, the effect of a sharp knife on the granite will appear gradually. The scratches will dull the look of the granite eventually, and dirt will start accumulating on the scratches, dulling the surface even more. So, get a cutting board and save your precious granite countertop from preventable damage.
6. Using Hot Pans Directly
Can you put hot pans on granite? No, you cannot. Granite is resistant to some level of heat. But, on constant exposure to the heat of your hot cooking pans, the high amount of heat from the pan can severely damage the countertop. So, will granite crack from the heat? The heat from a hot pan is not enough to crack the granite. But, prolonged exposure of granite to the heat of your cooking pan can weaken the sealant on its surface. The weakening of the sealant will cause dullness and discoloration, leaving dark patches on the granite surface.
Granites are among the strong natural stones and are tough to crack. Although the risk of cracking the granite countertop from occasional exposure to hot pans is minimal, introducing heat to its surface is something you must avoid.
Here is how to protect granite from hot pans:
- Do not place hot pans on your granite countertop directly.
- Place potholders on the countertop, and then keep the hot pots on the potholders.
- If you do not have potholders, you can use other heat-resistant materials as an alternative, including hot pads and oven mitts.
7. Not Sealing Granite Countertops
The granite slabs on your countertops would not have the longevity of a lifetime if it were not for the sealant. Sealant constitutes resin mixed with petroleum solvent or water. When the resin mixture is applied to the granite surface, the mixture gets absorbed into the stone’s surface, creating a glossy and protective layer on it. Your granite countertop should be sealed regularly, at least once every year, to maintain the durability and aesthetics of the granite. First, you need to check if the granite needs sealing.
To test the sealing necessity, follow the below-listed steps:
- Pour 2 tablespoons of water on your countertop.
- Let it sit on the granite surface for 20 minutes.
- Observe closely the edges of the water drop on the surface.
- If you notice a dark watermark, it means the water penetrates the surface and requires sealing.
After you have tested the condition of the existing sealant, you can now re-seal the countertop by following the below-mentioned process:
- Use your regular cleaner and spray it on the countertop.
- Wipe the cleaner thoroughly using a soft cleaning cloth or paper towel. Make sure the surface is squeaky clean.
- You can wait for about 15 minutes until the surface completely dries.
- Take your sealer bottle and shake it before applying. You can purchase the sealer from an online store or physical store nearby.
- Spray an even coat of the sealer thoroughly on the countertop surface and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Spray a second coat of sealer and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Take a microfiber cloth and wipe the excess sealer off.
- Use the countertop only after 24 hours.
8. Sitting or Standing on Granite
A granite countertop can hold up to 1,000 pounds of weight if distributed evenly throughout the counter surface. However, it is not designed for people to sit or stand on it, placing a greater load on its surface unevenly can crack or break the granite slab. When you sit or stand on your countertop, a lot of pressure is being exerted on the granite in a particular area. Hence, the uneven pressure distribution on the countertop can break the granite.
We may sometimes sit on the edge of the countertop while cooking or even stand on it to reach the top shelves of cabinets in the kitchen. You should avoid such practices. You can easily avoid this habit by making simple arrangements around your countertop. Place a chair beside the countertop for sitting while cooking, and buy an indoor ladder to reach the upper shelves.
9. Dropping Heavy Items
Granite countertops should not be exposed to heavy impact, such as dropping heavy weights on them. Granite slabs are pretty hard, but frequently dropping heavy objects on them can break them apart or cause scratches on the granite. Therefore, you have to be very careful around your countertops.
Some of the common things we may do unknowingly that put the countertop under heavy impact are:
- Handling heavy objects recklessly around the countertop.
- Throwing heavy objects on the countertop instead of placing them slowly and carefully.
- Putting heavy meal pots on the countertop with force.
10. Storing Liquids on Granite
The wide open space in your countertop may look like a perfect spot for storing the liquid bottles in your kitchen. But you should avoid doing so. The danger of storing the liquids on granite is that the leaks from liquid bottles can destroy the sealant on the granite surface. You can later see the damage on the granite appearing as discoloration and dull patches. Instead of placing them on your countertop, you can make use of shelves for storage.
Do not store these liquids on your granite countertop:
- Cooking oils
- Fruit juice
- Cleaning liquids
Having an understanding of what not to use on granite countertops is crucial for its long life. Granite installations in your house are probably among the most expensive investments in your household, and you certainly don’t want it to go to waste. The precious countertop’s durability is totally dependent on the way you handle it. With regular maintenance and cleaning, granite countertops should last a lifetime or even more. However, if you notice damage to your granite countertop, you need to get professional help immediately. The granite experts at Granite Karma are just one call away. Give us a call today, and let us help you with your granite countertop issues!