Your countertops might be made of a durable material like stone or quartz, but there are ways they can be damaged. You can keep your counters in good condition for decades – if you know how to do it. With the right care, your stone or quartz countertops could outlast your kitchen! Here’s what we recommend.
Use the Right Cleaning Supplies
Some cleaning products are acidic and can etch the surface of your counters. Be wary of cleaning products that contain vinegar or citric acid. Both can etch stone with time. Phosphoric acid is a slightly stronger cleaning product that is sometimes found in bathroom tile, tub and sink cleaners – this too should be avoided.
Gentle cleaning products like dish-washing soap is adequate for cleaning kitchen counters. You can also add some rubbing alcohol to the dishwashing soap and water mixture for extra cleaning power. If you own natural stone countertops, stone cleaner is another good product that can safely keep your counters clean.
Use a Cutting Board
Don’t use your countertops as a cutting board – even if you own a cutting board made from the same material. If you don’t use a cutting board, you could gouge or scratch your countertops. This is especially true if your counters are made from a soft stone like marble.
Seal Stone As Needed
It’s easy to forget that many types of stone are porous and can absorb liquids, leading to stains. You can avoid this problem if you seal your counters periodically.
Sealing is relatively easy if you have the right products. A few months ago, we published an extensive article about sealing your countertops. If you’re not sure whether your stone counters need to be sealed, try this test:
- Pour a teaspoon of water on the surface.
- Leave the water to sit for 15 minutes to half an hour.
- Wipe away the water. If the water leaves a wet stain behind, this means your counters need to be sealed. Don’t worry – the water stain will dry.
If you own soapstone counters, you do not need to seal your counters ever. Soapstone is so dense that it cannot absorb water. You can, however, oil the soapstone to ensure the stone’s patina develops evenly.
Clean Up Spills from Acidic Foods
Just as acidic cleaning products can etch your counters, acidic foods can do the same. Clean up spills from foods like red wine, white wine and ketchup as soon as the spills occur, or as soon as you notice the problem. If your counters are properly sealed, a spill that goes unnoticed is less likely to do damage. Take care of your counters!
Don’t Use Your Countertops As a Step Ladder
Stone may not be strong enough to support your weight while you change a light bulb or hunt for a pot in the cabinet over the stove. Do not step on or stand on your counters. If you crack your counters or chip them, contact your fabricator as soon as possible to discuss a potential repair.
Countertops of all kinds can be sensitive to extreme heat. Some can be discolored by heat, others may crack or warp. Use trivets, hot pads, cork pads and other types of pads to provide protection from hot pots and pans.
Are You Hard On Your Countertops? Pick the Right Material
Some materials are more easily damaged than others. For example, marble is a particularly soft stone that can be easily scratched and stained. By comparison, quartz is especially tough and requires little care.
You should pick the type of material that matches your lifestyle and cooking habits. Your installer or fabricator can help you sort through the choices and make the right decision for your home.