Saturday, April 18, 2009

Daily Cleaning & Maintenance of your Granite or Marble Counter

Everyone has a product out there that they’re trying to convince you to buy to clean and maintain your natural stone counters. Why invest more money on daily maintenance products? You’ve already spent a small fortune on your gorgeous stone counters- now, just enjoy them for many years to come! In reality, the greenest and most economical cleaning agent to maintain the beauty and life of your natural stone counters is already within reach: warm water and a dry terry cloth. Oh…you don’t have any terry cloth? Well then use an old towel or an old wash cloth.

The best and easiest way to keep your counters clean is to wipe them down to remove debris with a warm, wet sponge and then use a dry terry cloth to dry off the stone at the end of each day.

Do not use harsh cleaners on your natural stone counters because they will dull the finish, leave a film or residue and possibly etch the surface. Repolishing or removing etches or scratches from your natural stone counters could cost hundreds of dollars. Harsh cleaners would include any kitchen counter cleaners that contain ammonia, bleach or pine derivatives; vinegar based and citrus based cleaners are also too harsh for natural stone. If you feel that warm water and a terry cloth is not enough for your “sense of clean”, then please use any number of specific granite/marble cleaners available at the grocery store or the hardware store. These specific cleaners will help to preserve the natural beauty of the stone’s finish while cleaning.

Why should you perform this daily maintenance of wiping and drying? Because moisture build up is detrimental to your natural stone counters and because moisture and water discolor stone and because mold grows around moisture. Moisture causes the caulking around the sink and seams to go moldy and to fail and then the water leaks cause further damage to cabinets and walls. If you’ve discovered that the caulking around the sinks and seams has already failed, please call your stone contractor to reapply new, specific to your counters, color-matched caulking before any further damage occurs. This project requires a 48-hour non-usage rule-of-thumb after reapplying new caulking in order for the caulking to have the maximum possibility to cure. For example, try to have this project done the day before you leave for a weekend getaway.