maintaining Granite Counters

Affordable Ways to Maintain Your Granite Countertops

Granite Counter Tops
Granite counter tops are often a want, or even a need for some in a new home or kitchen upgrade. For us it wasn’t that big of a deal – just get me something better than Formica from the 70’s (or older), and more space. I am very lucky that not only does my new kitchen have beautiful granite counters, but twice the cabinets space and counter space than our last house. It is still missing a dishwasher, but more on that later.

Granite Cleaner

While I love the new granite counter tops, most people don’t realize that they actually require a bit of work. You can’t use bleach on them like other counters, you have to seal them every so often, and be careful how you treat them.

But let’s talk about some of these myths/legends/truths, whatever you want to call them. Granite is a natural material, it’s really just a fancy slice of rock. It’s beautiful, yes, but it’s also porous. That is why granite is often sealed. You can have an unsealed counter and it will be fine for years, decades and beyond. It’s a rock for heaven’s sake – it’s been taking a beating for centuries. But what the seal does is makes sure that bacteria and more doesn’t get into the stone, and possibly be transferred back to your food. Sealing granite can cost as low as $10 for DIY methods, or $40-hundreds. It all depends on amount of rock you have in your house, the type of sealant and the labor costs. Sealing also creates a beautiful shine on your counters. That’s part of the reason we like, it isn’t it?

So, now it’s sealed! Good – end of story right? Wrong! Depending on what you read, granite should be sealed every year, or every 3-5 years. Opinions differ. Yup that’s an ongoing charge to keep your counters super shiny and pretty. I knew this going into a house with granite, I’ve had to study this way too much in school. But what they don’t tell people is if you use the right products you can extend that seal. I picked up a bottle of Granite Cleaner at Target for $5, spritz it on and wipe it off. It helps keep your seal beautiful and will help extend the life of the counter sealer. If you use traditional cleaners on your counter, it will feel gritty or almost dirty. That is actually the seal starting to break down – not the stone.

bathmat as a dish drying mat

Granite is a stone, yes – and while it does allow you do do more to it than other counter tops it doesn’t mean you should! Hot pots wont crack the surface, knifes wont hurt it, but all of that does break down the life of your seal. One thing I have been diligent about with our counter is not letting water or moisture touch it. Remember that missing dishwasher? It’s suppose to be here tomorrow, but until then I have to do dishes by hand. And even after, that will be an ongoing chore since not everything is dishwasher safe.

When we knew we were getting the house, the first thing I wanted to do was find a dish drying mat that would work. But everything I found was too expensive, was nothing but a thick towel and would still allow moisture to get to my counter top. Water wont hurt the stone, but will break that seal down. None of the drying mats I found were lined, and my old dish drying rack always allowed water and crud to accumulate under it. I wasn’t able to find a solution that I liked until I went to IKEA last week. I picked up a SAXSKAR bathmat to use as a drying mat. It was exactly what I was looking for, it has a rubber back so moisture doesn’t get to my counter, it’s 22″ x 22″, matches some of the colors in the area and was only $3.99! The size is twice what standard drying mats are, and price is only a quarter of most mats. This is one of those rare times I’ll say to not order it from Amazon, the price jump is ridiculous! When everything is dry, I can fold it up and put it away in the cabinet.

So for under $10, the life of our counter(‘s seal) is being extended and it’s reducing the impact of it on our wallets. It’s a gorgeous counter, and I’m extremely thankful I have it, but why pay more if I don’t have to?

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