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Sealing and Cleaning Your Stone Countertops

Sealing and Cleaning Your Stone Countertops

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January 10, 2011

Many homeowners are opting for stone countertops for their kitchen remodel. But once the contractor is gone and you begin using your new kitchen, cleaning can quickly become an issue. How should you care for your stone countertops to keep them looking as good as the day they were installed?

Sealing and Cleaning Your Stone Countertops

While it might seem that durable stone can take a beating and still look great, that's not always the case. Your stone countertops need regular care to continue looking gorgeous for years to come.

  • Some countertops need to be sealed. To determine if yours does, put a few drops of water on the new countertop and wait for a few minutes. If the drops of water sink in, you need to seal the stone to avoid staining. A food-safe penetrating sealant is your best bet. The sealer must be reapplied every year or so, depending upon your type of stone and the sealer you choose. Your contractor might recommend a certain sealant. If not, talk to your local home improvement store.
  • The type of stone you have determines the type of cleaner you use. There are two basic types of stone: Siliceous stone, which includes slate, sandstone, granite, and brownstone, are best cleaned with a slightly acidic solution. Calcareous stone, which includes marble, limestone, and onyx, can be damaged by acidic cleaners. Common cleaners, such as those you would use to clean other surfaces in your home, should not be used on stone.
  • Choose a cleaner that is streak-free, biodegradable, and food-safe. Wipe up spills immediately, and always give your countertop a good once-over after you prepare meals. Use only as much cleaner as you need, and make sure the countertop is wiped dry before you walk away.
  • Always use a soft sponge or cloth to clean your stone countertops. Abrasive materials, such as steel wool or even sponges with a rough, abrasive surface should never be used. Abrasive materials are the quickest way to erode your sealant, and that leaves stone countertops vulnerable to stains.
  • If you do get a stain on your stone countertops, follow the manufacturer's recommendations for removing it. Often, a simple homemade poultice can draw the stain out of the stone and leave it looking as good as new. Of course, the moment the stain is gone, seal the stone appropriately.

Stone is a lovely addition to your home, but it does need some maintenance. A good sealant and appropriate cleaners should be enough to keep your stone looking good for years.

Shannon Dauphin

Shannon Dauphin is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. Her current home was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her necessary hobbies.

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