Granite countertops are all the rage right now. They add color, texture and style to any kitchen. But cleaning and maintaining a granite countertop is different than ordinary countertops. For example, if you use an ammonia-based cleaner such as Windex, you can actually destroy the finish of your new granite countertop. Instead, special granite-only cleaners should be used exclusively.

Avoid Abrasives

Never use harsh or abrasive cleaners on your granite countertop. Cleaning agents like vinegar, lemon, lime and bleach can dull and weaken the seal of your granite. You also should never use steel wool or even sponges to clean your counters because these can also break down the sealant.

The problem is that granite countertops are porous. Even though it is less absorbent than marble, for example, it can still soak up oils, spills, and stains. So it’s important that your granite countertop is perfectly sealed.

To test to see if your granite countertop is sealed, simply sprinkle a few drops of water on it. If the water beads, your granite countertop is sealed. But if the water is absorbed into the granite after a few minutes, you may need to have it professionally sealed.

Catch Spills Immediately

To get the most longevity out of your granite countertop, make sure you clean up spills right away. Unlike traditional countertops, you can’t afford to let spills stand unattended with granite. Use a cloth soaked in warm water with a mild, gentle dish soap for best results. A plain washcloth or a microfiber cloth is your best defense against spills and to prevent stains. One of the biggest benefits of having a granite countertop is that it provides an effective protection against bacteria. Sanitize your countertop daily with hot water and dish soap.

Special Cleansing

When preparing foods with a high risk of cross-contamination — such as raw pork or poultry — use a 50/50 solution of water and 91% isopropyl alcohol. Having a granite countertop adds beauty and style to your kitchen. Make sure you keep it clean and safe and it can last a lifetime.

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