The Best Ways to Care for Countertops
For the most part, caring for your counters is as easy as keeping up with basic maintenance, wiping down on a regular basis, and taking proper precautions with the cleaning products you use. However, not everyone is familiar with how to best care for countertops, or know that some of them need to be resealed and restored because they grow dull and lackluster over time. Prolong the life and beauty of your counter tops by adhering to a few simple practices. Here are the best ways to care for countertops made of three popular materials:
Quartz and Quartzite
Beautiful, natural quartz is non-porous, so it doesn’t require any sealing. On the other hand, quartzite does require sealing—at least twice a year. Care for countertops like these is quite simple. For wet spills all you need is a mild cleaner and a cloth. Dried spills might call for a surface cleaner and a little more elbow grease.
Avoid abrasive brushes and pads, as these can all damage the surface finish. The rock may be hard, but it’s still susceptible to scratching. So be careful with sharp knives! Not only can they leave scratches in the finish, but the knives themselves may become dull after repeatedly striking hard, natural rock. Quartz countertops are also made with a resin (plastic) that can melt or scorch at high temperatures. When it comes to quartz, one of the best ways to care for countertops is to armor up! Keep cutting boards and hot pads on hand.
Especially be wary of cleaners at either extreme of the pH spectrum, like bleach, turpentine, oven cleaners, or drain cleaners. Occasionally, quartz derived counters may need deeper cleaning, and that’s as easy as soaking the surface in a nonabrasive surface cleaner for fifteen or so minutes.
The same basic cleaning principles apply to laminate. However, there are a few differences to take into consideration. For one, tough stains can be addressed with bleach or nail polish. Don’t let either of these substances sit of longer than ninety seconds, or the laminate countertop may be bleached and discolored. Laminate is a bit more resilient to cleaning products, but also a little more susceptible to staining. Don’t use too much water on a laminate counter, because if liquid penetrates the seams then the surface can potentially swell and crack. If you’ve got kids that love to be in the kitchen, or just a tendency to spill, consider having an additional coating applied to your laminate countertop.
The indestructible granite. Or is it? Granite is porous, so first it needs to be sealed. Sealed granite may be stain and heat resistant, but you may notice how it grows dull over time. This is due to the slew of acidic substances it comes into contact with…everything from orange juice and ketchup to cleaning detergents and the calcium in your tap water. Over time, acids cause tiny micro abrasions that affect the reflective property that makes granite so beautiful. So, what’s to be done? Using filtered water and sealers can prolong the shine. Hiring Zerorez can ensure the shine.
The Best Ways to Care for Countertops, in Summary:
- Avoid abrasive pads and brushes
- Avoid harsh chemicals like hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide and so forth
- For basic cleaning, simply use a cloth and mild detergent
- If you don’t have a detergent on hand, an easy DIY alternative is vinegar and water, mixed at a 1:1 ratio
- Always use hot pads and trivets
How to Restore Granite Countertops
Another way to prolong the cleanliness of your granite countertop is to have it sealed. Avoid DIY sealers that may do more harm than good in the long run by creating a waxy, cloudy build up. Unsealed granite is also more susceptible to bacteria, given how porous a surface it is. For that reason, commercial kitchens aren’t even allowed to install granite countertops! If you have had your countertops sealed, you’ll need them resealed every few years depending on the amount of wear they receive. In order to determine whether or not your counters need to be resealed, place a few drops of water on the surface. If the water beads, the sealer is still in place. When the water doesn’t bead, it’s time to call in the professionals.
If you’re serious about care for countertops, Zerorez offers a five step process to restore dull granite. First, a stone scrub is applied and worked into the surface with a machine. This breaks down any hard water deposits and grime, which is often found around faucets. After these irregularities are smoothed away, a rinse is spritzed over the counter and then wiped in order to remove the stone scrub. The next step is to ‘crystallize’. In this step, reflectivity is restored with a synthetic, hog’s hair pad. The result is a mirror like gleam. Then, a hybrid sealer (which defends against both water-based and oil-based stains—important qualities in a kitchen) is applied. This soaks into the granite’s pores, and the step is repeated until the granite is saturated. The final step is an extra buff done with lamb’s wool, leaving countertops smooth as glass and fully rejuvenated.
If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment, or simply learning more, check us out at zerorezla.com or give us a ring at 818-881-5744.