Caring and Cleaning Countertops!

How to Sanitize Your Countertops and Keep Them Safe

A How-To Guide For Proper Care and Maintenance

This blog covers proper care and sanitation practices for your countertops! Whether you’ve just had your countertops installed or have been using them for a few years, proper care and maintenance is required to keep your counters looking like the day they were installed! This blog post will help you care for your countertops, no matter the material, to keep them looking their best. We also cover how to properly sanitize your countertops while maintaining the integrity of the stone.  This is especially relevant right now, as the COVID-19 pandemic affects our world in unprecedented ways.

What stone is best for what area?

In order to think about cleaning and caring for stone, you’ll also want to keep in mind what stone is best for each area of the house. Will that area be prone to spills? How much normal wear and tear will that area see? Is there a chance for dirt and debris build up? Is it in an area prone to scratching, staining, and spilling? Before choosing marble, granite, quartz, or another type of stone for your counters, make sure that you’re thinking about how the countertops will be used and cleaned. Making sure you’re choosing the right stone before beginning the project will help in the long term maintenance and look of your stone! For more information on how to choose your stone, check out our “Marble vs. Granite Countertops Blog”

How to properly sanitize your countertops:

Perhaps one of the most important topics to cover is how to properly sanitize your surfaces. Whether it’s the kitchen, bathroom, mudroom, or another high traffic area, these areas in your home are often subject to the dirt and germs that come with daily life activities, such as cooking. In order to properly sanitize your countertops, first make sure to wipe down the countertops with a combination of warm water and dish soap, using a soft cloth. While we do not recommend using any kind of bleach product on your countertops, in order to properly sanitize, you can use a diluted mixture of concentrated Lysol or other cleaning solution. If you choose to use a Clorox wipe (or other kind of Clorox product), make sure to dilute it as much as possible, whether that means wrapping the Clorox wipe in a damp paper towel or soft cloth. Once the countertops are wiped down, sanitized, and dry, you can use a soft microfiber cloth and warm water mixture to remove any streaks. While we do not recommend using Clorox, bleach, or harsh chemicals, we do understand that certain instances require additional sanitation and care. For more information on how to clean natural stone, check out the website, Use Natural Stone, for more information on care and cleaning.

For everyday cleaning:

For granite, marble, and quartz countertop cleaning, simple cleaning solutions work best. Make sure to wipe down the counters with a dry cloth or paper towel first, to remove any dust, crumbs, or debris before you wipe down with a wet cloth. Neutral pH cleaners such as dish soap with warm water is the best way to clean your countertops daily.  You do not and should not need to use abrasive scrubs, powder or cream cleansers, any kind of vinegar/lemon mixture, or any bleach product. If you are looking to use eco-friendly cleaning options, opt to use a water-based product with no harsh chemicals added.  Check out our previous “How to Protect Your Natural Stone” blog for more information as well!

Sealing:

At Marble Granite World, a standard one-year sealer or 15-year sealer is applied to all granite countertops at the time of fabrication. Sealers prevent liquid absorption and staining. If you have the one-year sealer, make sure to set a reminder for yourself to reseal your countertops annually! You can purchase a stone sealer at any home improvement store. For all marble countertops, Marble Granite World applies our 15-year sealer for additional sealant and protection.

How to remove stains:

  1. Oil-Based Stain: Oil based stains (grease, cosmetics, cooking oil) must be chemically dissolved. The best way to remove the stain is with a warm water and dish soap mixture, acetone, or ammonia. 
  2. Organic Stain: Organic stains (coffee, tea, fruit, paper, mulch, dirt) can typically be cleaned by removing the source of the stain and then cleaning with everyday cleaner. For stronger stains, a combination of 12% hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia should remove the stain.
  3. Inorganic Stain: Inorganic stains (iron, rust, copper, bronze) typically create a deep rooted stain that is difficult to remove, even by professionals. You can try a poultice of water and diatomaceous earth, powdered chalk, or talc to remove the stain, but rust stains caused by bolts, nails, flowerpots, or metal furniture can be very difficult to remove.  
  4. Biological Stain: Biological stains (algae, mildew, moss) should be cleaned with a diluted solution of water and ammonia or water and hydrogen peroxide. 
  5. Ink Stain: Ink stains (pens, magic marker) can be cleaned with a little hydrogen peroxide. Acetone can be used for dark colored ink stains. 
  6. Paint Stain: Stains caused by paint can be removed with lacquer thinner and a razor blade. 
  7. Water Spots: For hard water spots, you can try buffing the area with steel wool and using warm water and dish soap to clean as you go. 
  8. Etching: Etching is caused when liquid has penetrated the stones surface and has been absorbed into the stone. If you leave a glass that leaves a condensation ring or water droplets from the sink that have been left too long can be absorbed by the stone and “etch” it. Etching is difficult to remove. The best way to try and remove etch marks is to wet the surface, use a marble polishing powder, and polish the surface with a buffing pad and low speed power drill. For etching, it is recommended that you contact your local stone professional.

**Be careful using ammonia, as it has been linked to dulling certain surfaces and can be harmful to the user if used incorrectly. NEVER mix bleach and ammonia. ALWAYS contact the stone professional near you before removing a stain yourself!

Following these tips can help keep your countertops clean and sanitized! Daily cleaning, wiping, and drying – along with proper sealing can help keep your countertops looking brand new!