The granite countertops in your kitchen are a gorgeous addition to your home. They were likely an investment when you had them installed, but they can last decades or more with proper care. Granite fabricators everywhere advertise how durable granite is (which is definitely true), but granite is still susceptible to damage even as strong as it is. If you want to keep your granite countertops in tip-top shape, you should keep these five common kitchen things far away from your countertops:
1. Your Feet
It seems like a no-brainer that feet don’t belong on the countertop, but sometimes you just need to water that plant up above the cabinets, and a quick step up wouldn’t hurt, right? Wrong! Even though granite is one of the most robust, durable materials out there for countertops, the seams aren’t as tough because they are made with manmade glues and resins. Certain areas of your granite countertops (examples: seams and places that have a cut-out like a sink) are vulnerable to pressure, and by taking that step up, you risk breaking a seam or causing a crack along a thin area of your countertop. This same advice goes for giving kids baths in the kitchen sink: too much weight or pressure on thin areas around the sink could cause cracking or breaking, so it’s best to keep bath time in the tub.
We get it: when things get busy, sometimes spills don’t get wiped up as quickly as they should. Well-sealed and maintained granite is stain-resistant, but even well-cared-for granite will stain in certain circumstances. Even when you’re in a rush, you should always wipe up spills as soon as they happen, so you don’t end up with discolored granite. Some everyday stain-causers include:
- Oil: Granite is a semi-porous material, so even when it is sealed well, it can still absorb materials it shouldn’t. One of the main substances that cause damage: cooking oil. When cooking oil sits on granite for several hours, it can seep into the stone and make it darker, similar to the way oil discolors clothing or paper products. The problem is that you can’t necessarily wash away the oil once it has seeped into the granite the way you can scrub oil out of clothing. Some cleaning products may be able to remove oil stains, but they are few and far between (and sometimes don’t work at all depending on the stain’s depth).
- Acids: Granite is nowhere near as finicky about acids as marble is, but it is still susceptible to damage if you leave it to sit on your countertop. Wine, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and soda pop can cause etching or staining if left to sit on the counter for too long.
- Water: Believe it or not, water can damage your countertop if you leave it to sit for too long. The damage isn’t necessarily permanent, and most of the time, correctly sealing your granite prevents a lot of the problem. Still, you need to wipe up water spills as soon as they happen.
3. Cleaning Solutions
A lot of cleaning solutions aren’t safe for granite and can cause long-term damage. Most of the time, hot, soapy water is enough to get your granite clean, but you may want to buy a commercial granite cleaner and disinfectant for occasional heavy cleaning. Just be aware that not all granite cleaners are created equal, and some may leave your countertops with a cloudy or oily appearance. Whatever you use, make sure to buff your countertop dry to avoid any water damage.
Among granite’s many other virtues, it is also highly scratch-resistant, but that’s not to say you should skip the cutting board. Using sharp knives can cause tiny scratches in your granite’s finish that can hold onto dirt or grime. Additionally, these scratches can weaken the granite, causing the countertop to chip more easily in the future. As a side note, tossing your car keys down on the counter can cause a lot of the same damage, so always use a bowl or other container to hold your keys.
5. Frozen Food
This may seem like a little bit of a surprise, but it follows a lot of the same reasoning as wiping up spills immediately. When frozen food is in direct contact with your granite countertops, the condensation that forms during the thawing process can create pools of water on the granite, causing water stains. It’s always best practice to thaw frozen food on a cutting board or another surface.
Granite countertops are one of the most hard-wearing countertop materials on the market. They are stain-resistant, scratch-resistant, heat-resistant, and look absolutely gorgeous to boot. Even as tough as granite is against common kitchen items, you should still be sure to keep certain things from spending too much time on your granite. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact our wholesale granite countertop team.