You've made an excellent choice and investment in natural stone! Your granite can provide years of beauty and performance when properly cared for. Following are care instructions and some helpful tips on stone care.
Care and Maintenance for your Granite
There is nothing more beautiful and long lasting than natural stone. It is important to remember that as a product of nature, natural inclusions such as pits, fissures, and occlusions will be visible in the finished product. These inclusions are not defects, but characteristics of all natural stone products, and add to the beauty and uniqueness of each job. Simple care and maintenance is all it takes to keep your granite looking beautiful and elegant for many years to come.
One of the easiest surfaces to care for, granite is highly resistant to scratches, stains, and heat. Granite can easily withstand the wear and tear of daily use and remain unharmed. For everyday cleaning, use mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water with a soft cloth. Thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing. Avoid leaving foods and beverages (ketchup, wine, etc.) from standing on the surface for any length of time.
Spills should be wiped up immediately. Blot the spill with a clean paper towel. Use the flat side of a razor blade for removing stuck on tape residue, dried paint, glue, dried food, etc. Use #0000 or finer steel wool to remove dried water spots, smudges, hazy areas, and for general cleaning to bring out the shine. Do not use the steel wool wet. Use a pencil eraser to remove aluminum trails.
Your granite countertops are sealed at the time of fabrication. Resealing is up to the individual. Manufacturers of impregnator/seal recommend countertops to be resealed from 1 to every 4 years, or longer, depending on the application, the sensitivity of the individual, and the type of stone.
Granite continues to be used and approved in food and medical applications. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has no records of granite harboring bacteria, and has no reports of people becoming ill from bacteria in granite. With regular cleaning, granite is far less likely to support bacteria than butcher block or even laminate materials with top-mounted sinks. This claim has also been tested by the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management. Their article can be found at http://www.hitm.com under "Publications and Reports."
Cleaning and Protection of Granite Countertops During Construction
During and after the installation of a new granite countertop, dirt and other debris are certain to accumulate, especially if other construction is going on. Cleaning and protecting the new installation is important to prevent scratching, staining and grinding-in of dirt.
- Remove all equipment and tools from the surface. Nothing should be placed on the new surface until it is covered.
- Remove any large chunks of concrete, caulking, etc. by scraping with a sharp razor blade. Be careful not to scratch the surface.
- Wipe with a clean cloth to remove all saw dust, grit, and other debris. Sweep several times, making sure to remove all loose particles.
- Rinse the surface with cold water mixed with a small amount of neutral cleaner. Rinse several times, making sure the surface is clean.
- If minor streaking remains after rinsing, buff dry with a clean white terry-cloth towel.
- Once they are completely clean and dry, all surfaces should be covered. Cover countertops with kraft paper or carpet padding. Do not use plastic, as this will create slippery conditions and cause moisture-related problems. If necessary, tape the edges of the kraft paper with a low-contact masking tape. Do not use duct tape on granite, since this may cause damage.
- If the presence of heavy objects or heavy construction is likely to continue after covering, place plywood or masonite boards on top of the kraft paper.
- Once all construction is complete, remove the kraft paper from the surface. Remove the tape slowly; if the tape is stubborn, wet it with a little distilled water several minutes before removing. If tape residue remains afterwards, remove it by rubbing with a white cloth and a little acetone.
- Thoroughly wipe the surface to remove all debris and dust.
- Clean the surface by rinsing with water and a neutral cleaner.
- If the surface has developed any scratching or damage, now is the time to have it repaired. Granite can be repaired by a qualified granite restoration contractor.
If you have stained your granite, don't worry. Because stone is porous, you can sometimes remove the stain by reversing the staining process. In other words, the granite has literally absorbed the stain and we simply re-absorb it into a different material. This different material is what we call a poultice. A poultice can be made with powdered whiting and hydrogen peroxide or a chemical reducing agent, depending on the nature of the stain. Whiting is sold in most paint stores.
- Cotton Balls
- Paper Towels
- Gauze Pads
- Chalk (whiting)
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Methyl Cellulose
Stains should be treated as soon as possible. As time goes by, it becomes increasingly difficult to remove the stain; however, attempts to remove stains should not precede stain identification. Using the appropriate removal technique is important to achieve the desired results. You must ask questions to determine what the stain is:
What is the color?
Where is it located?
How long has it been there?
Is it associated with main traffic areas?
Are plants near the stain?
Generally, most stains can be classified into one of the following categories:
- OIL BASED STAINS - Grease, tar, cooking oil, and food stains.
- ORGANIC STAINS - Coffee, tea, fruit, tobacco, cosmetics, etc.
- METAL STAINS - Iron (rust), copper, bronze, etc.
- BIOLOGICAL STAINS - Algae, mildew. lichens, etc.
- INK STAINS - Magic marker, pen, ink, etc.
Once the stain has been identified, the best method of removal can be determined.
Wet the stained area with distilled water. Prewetting fills the pores of the stone with water - isolating the stain and accelerating the removal by the chemical.
Prepare the poultice. If a powder is to be used, pre-mix the powder and the chemical of choice into a thick paste, the consistency of peanut butter. In other words, wet it enough so that is does not run. If a paper poultice is to be used, soak the paper in the chemical. Lift the paper out of the chemical until it stops dripping.
Apply the poutice ot the stain being careful not to spill any on the non-stained area. Apply approximately 1/4 inch thick overlapping the stain area by about one inch.
Cover the poultice with plastic (food wrap works great). Tape the plastic down to seal the edges.
Allow the poultice to dry thoroughly. This is a very important step. The drying of the poultice is what pulls the stain into the poultice material. If the poultice is not allowed to dry, the stain may not be removed. Drying usually takes from 24 to 48 hours.
Remove the poultice from the stain. Rinse with distilled water and buff dry with a soft cloth. If the stain is not removed, apply the poultice again. It may take up to five applications for difficult stains.
Some chemicals may etch the granite surface. If this occurs, then apply polishing powder and buff with a piece of burlap to restore the shine.
Stain Removal Guide
- Ink - Poultice with Mineral Spirits or Methylene Chloride + Powder.
- Iron (rust) - Poultice with Oxalic Acid + Powder + Water. May also try a product called Iron-Out (available at hardware stores). Both mixtures may etch polished marble, so re-polishing will be necessary.
- Oil - Poultice with Ammonia + Powder. Methylene Chloride can also be used on tough oil stains.
- Coffee, Tea & Food - Poultice with 20% Hydrogen Peroxide + Powder.
- Copper - Poultice with Ammonium Chloride + Powder.
- Paint (water based) - Poultice with a commercial paint remover + Powder.
- Paint (oil based) - Poultice with Mineral Spirits + Powder. Deep stains may require Methylene Chloride.
Some chemicals necessary for stain removal will remove the finish on polished stone. As a result, repolishing with abrasives or polishing compounds may be necessary. We make no guarantee that any procedure will work in every instance or that a procedure is the only possible solution for care. The best advice we can give is whenever in doubt, seek a professional.