Stone requires a bit if tender loving care to look its best.
A real "cook's kitchen" is filled with irresistible smells, delicious things to eat, family, friends and fun. But it's also filled with spills and stains and messes. Protecting finishes like a stone countertop is important. Your kitchen may get a lot of use, but you don't want it to look that way. Stone is one of the most beautiful and durable materials for a counter; however, though it may seem nearly indestructible stone requires a bit if tender loving care to look its best.
Sealing Typically, a stone countertop will be sealed by the installers, but if you're the installer the job of sealing is up to you. Use a solvent-based sealer and wipe on one coat with a soft, lint-free cloth. Wait about 24 hours for the sealant to dry and apply a second coat. Reseal approximately every year or two depending on the type of wear your counters endure.
Avoid acidic cleansers such as vinegar for everyday cleaning.
Everyday Maintenance Follow these tips for daily care:
Wipe up spills immediately with a clean, wet cloth
Avoid acidic cleansers such as vinegar for everyday cleaning
Don't chop directly on your stone countertop Don't place hot pots or pans directly on the countertop
A few drops of sanitizing liquid dish soap mixed in water makes a great everyday cleaner
Use a clean cloth to wipe down stone counters, a dirty dish cloth could transfer stains or odors to porous stone.
Occasionally your stone countertop will require more than a light cleaning. For deep cleaning mix 1/4 cup peroxide and 1/8 cup ammonia in a quart of water. Spray the solution on the stone and let it set for up to a minute before wiping.
Small nicks and scratches are unavoidable, but you can remove them without paying a professional. Before the annual or bi-annual resealing, buff the counter with grade 0000 "superfine" steel wool to remove small imperfections. Vacuum the counter to remove fine residue and then clean it with the ammonia/peroxide solution before resealing.
If serious stains or damage does occur consult a professional for the best advice.
Deep stains may be removed with a cleaning poultice. Lay several layers of cheesecloth over the stain, soak it with the ammonia/peroxide solution and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the poultice to sit for several days if needed, checking the stain for progress about every 12 hours. Change the poultice if it appears to be soiled.
Steel-wool buffing is a last resort for stubborn stains. Resealing may be needed after buffing.
Stone countertops are meant to last a lifetime and you shouldn't be afraid to use or clean them. After all, they're just big rocks. If serious stains or damage does occur consult a professional for the best advice.