These days, natural stone countertops are highly durable and require very little maintenance. However, simple upkeep can extend the lifespan of your surfaces and keep them functional for years to come. We’ll review the basics of countertop maintenance as well as how to care for a variety of surfaces, including engineered stone (quartz), solid surface, and natural stone countertops.
The Basics of Countertop Care & Maintenance
These three simple tasks take little time and effort, but can make a huge difference in the look and lifespan of your natural stone surfaces.
Prevention is one of the best ways to care for your natural stone countertops. Use coasters, trivets, and cutting boards to prevent staining, scorching, and etching. If spills occur, clean them up immediately by blotting, not wiping to avoid spreading the mess. And, never stand, kneel, or sit on your countertops. These simple steps will protect your investment and keep your natural stone backsplash and countertops looking picture perfect.
Clean your natural stone backsplash and countertops regularly with a stone soap, neutral cleanser, or mild dishwashing liquid. Use a soft cloth to gently clean your countertops, then rinse and dry thoroughly to prevent staining. Never use abrasive cleaners or scrubby sponges, and avoid acidic cleaners (e.g. vinegar or citrus) on stones prone to etching like marble and onyx.
Most natural stone countertops need to be sealed each year to prevent them from becoming porous and staining. Keep in mind that no sealer will make your natural stone backsplash or countertop “stain-proof”, but these products can make your countertops more stain-resistant.
How Do I Care For My Natural Stone Countertops?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of maintenance, let’s take a deeper look at the care needed for some of the most common types of natural stone countertops.
How to Care for Quartz Countertops
Many busy homeowners opt for quartz because it is virtually maintenance-free. Preventative maintenance and regularly cleaning are all that they require to remain beautiful and functional for years to come. However, quartz countertops are not indestructible and you should never use strong chemicals or solvents on them. Should you have a tough spill to clean up (like gum or paint), use a plastic putty knife to gently scrape and remove the substance.
How to Care for Granite Countertops
In addition to preventative maintenance and regular cleaning, granite and other natural stone countertops need to be sealed annually to remain stain-resistant. Sealing is a relatively easy maintenance task. Simply follow the instructions for your particular sealer as well as any safety precautions like wearing gloves and/or goggles. Many sealers need time to cure before you can use your countertops or get them wet, so be sure to observe the guidelines provided.
If you don’t want to seal as part of your granite countertop maintenance each year, ask your supplier or installer about STAIN-PROOF (formerly Dry Treat), a heavy-duty sealer that can minimize sealing maintenance.
How to Care for Marble Countertops
Marble countertop maintenance is very similar to caring for granite and other natural stone backsplash and countertop options. However, marble is especially porous, so be sure to clean up spills as soon as possible whenever they occur. You may also need a special, heavy-duty sealer designed for marble to minimize staining and etching.
How to Care for Solid Surface Countertops
Solid surface countertops are unique because they are made from plastic resin, not natural stone. While solid surface is very non-porous and does not require any sealing, it is less durable than many of the natural stone options, meaning you’ll need to be extra careful with preventative maintenance and cleaning. Avoid any harsh chemicals like acetone, which can strip the color from your countertops. For any tough stains or messes, use a bleach-free cleaner like Soft Scrub and a sponge.