Caring for natural stone and engineered quartz countertops requires regular maintenance to keep them looking beautiful. With the proper care, marble, granite and quartz can remain in pristine condition for years. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to care for marble, granite and quartz countertops.
- Use a mild pH-neutral cleaner designed for natural stone or quartz. Avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners that can etch or dull the surface.
- For marble, use cleaners specifically formulated for marble to help prevent etching and deterioration.
- Clean counters at least once a week with a soft sponge or microfiber cloth. Avoid abrasive pads or paper towels that could scratch.
- Rinse well after cleaning and buff dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.
- For stubborn stains or dirt, use a poultice designed for natural stone to draw out deep-set grime.
- Sealing is crucial for marble and granite but not necessary for quartz. Seal marble and granite every 6-12 months.
- Use a penetrating stone sealer for natural stone. Topical sealers can yellow over time.
- Apply sealer evenly across the surface using a clean cloth or foam applicator. Remove any excess.
- Allow sealer to cure fully before using the counters, usually 24-72 hours.
- For marble, use a sealer formulated specifically for calcite-based stones for best protection.
- Use coasters under glasses and trivets under hot pans to prevent etching or burning.
- Don’t cut directly on the counter. Always use a cutting board.
- Avoid exposing counters to strong chemicals like paint removers or oven cleaners that can stain or etch.
- Blot up spills immediately to prevent discoloration, especially wine, coffee and acidic juices.
- Don’t place toiletry products directly on counters. The high acid content can etch marble.
Polishing Out Etches
- For light etching on marble or granite, use a polishing compound designed for natural stone.
- Rub compound into etch gently with a soft cloth using circular motions. Rinse surface thoroughly.
- Avoid applying too much pressure, which can damage the surface further or create uneven polishing.
- For deep etching, professional refinishing or restoration may be required. Consult a stone restoration specialist.
- Identify type of stain to choose right removal method. Organic stains like coffee require different treatment than mineral stains.
- For organic stains, use a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaner to lift stain without damaging stone.
- For mineral stains like rust, apply a poultice to draw out the discoloration over several hours.
- Avoid bleach or acid-based cleaners which can further set stains on porous natural stone.
- For stubborn oil-based stains, use acetone carefully applied with a soft cloth to break up residue.
- Reseal marble and granite counters at least once a year to maintain protective barriers against stains.
- Periodically re-polish granite and certain marbles to restore sheen worn by use over time. Use a granite polishing compound.
- Have quartz professionally restored every 3-5 years to remove etching and restore luster. This involves re-polishing the surface.
- Deep scratches or chips on stone counters may require professional repairs. Missing chunks can be filled then sanded and re-polished.
With regular care and cleaning, marble, granite and quartz counters can stay looking like new for decades. Be sure to seal and clean surfaces properly. Seek help promptly for significant staining or damage to best preserve your investment. Consistent, gentle maintenance is the key to enjoying the elegance of natural stone or quartz countertops for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I seal my marble countertops?
For frequent-use marble countertops, sealing every 6-12 months is recommended to maintain maximum stain protection. Highly polished marble may need more frequent sealing than honed or textured finishes.
What’s the best way to remove dried food from a granite surface?
Use a plastic scraper to gently lift off any dried food residue, taking care not to scratch the granite. Then clean with a granite-safe cleaner and soft sponge or cloth, rinsing thoroughly. Avoid using abrasive pads or scouring powders which can damage the surface.
Can I use vinegar to clean quartz counters?
No, avoid vinegar and other acidic cleaners on quartz. The acid can damage the surface over time. Use a ph-neutral quartz cleaner instead. Rinse any spills thoroughly to prevent etching.
How can I get rid of hard water spots on my marble?
Hard water spots can be removed by rubbing them gently with a soft cloth soaked in lemon juice or a mild marble cleaner. Rinse thoroughly after treatment to remove all acidic residue which can also etch marble.
Is it okay to cut directly on quartz countertops?
It’s best to avoid cutting directly on quartz. Always use a cutting board to protect the surface. The impact of cutting can damage or dull the quartz over time. Heat from hot pans can also burn or crack quartz.
My polished granite lost its shine. How can I restore it?
Polished granite countertops can become dull with regular use. To restore the shine, use a granite polish specifically designed for polished stone. Apply sparingly with a soft cloth and buff in a circular motion. Avoid applying too much pressure.
Caring for natural stone and quartz countertops involves regular sealing, gentle cleaning, prompt attention to spills and stains, and avoidance of harsh chemicals. Simple preventive steps can preserve their flawless beauty for many years. With some basic maintenance, marble, granite and quartz surfaces will retain their elegance and enhance any kitchen or bathroom space. Consistent care pays off when it comes to enjoying these beautiful and durable countertop materials.