Granite is a fabulous stone to show off your kitchen's beauty. When polished to a high gloss shine it is truly stunning. However, like most specialty surfaces it requires special care and maintenance to continually look good. As you may know, despite being a very strong and solid stone, it can actually be damaged quite easily through improper care and cleaning. In the steps below, we'll outline how to bring back that shine to your granite countertops, just like the day they were installed.
The first step is to remove all contaminants from the surface. While this may seem obvious, it is a large part of what holds back the shine from your countertop. Start by wiping away loose debris such as crumbs with a soft towel. Next, select a granite cleaner which is pH neutral and safe for daily cleaning. Work slowly and methodically across each section of your countertop. If there are areas where grime is especially stubborn or caked on, you can carefully use the flat side of a razor blade to remove.
Once you've completed your deep cleaning, it's best to continually upkeep the surface. If the granite is continually exposed to water, grease, or other cooking debris, it can degrade the shine and lead to larger problems down the road.
If you've completed your deep cleaning and are still not satisfied with the shine, it may be a sign that your sealant has degraded. Sealants are long term protective agents that are applied every few years to protect the stone. They also can help aid in the gloss.
You can perform a quick test right at home to see if a new sealant is required. All you need to do is pour a small amount of water (approximately 3 inches wide) onto different sections of the countertop and wait to observe a reaction. If the granite begins to darken, it means that the water has penetrated the seal and absorbed into the stone. You should let the water sit for about 30 minutes while doing this test. However, if you see the granite darkening sooner than this, then you know your seal has failed.
While there are many DIY sealants on the market, the majority are filled with VOCs and other harmful chemicals which the average consumer should not be exposed to. If you feel that your granite cannot be restored with a regular cleaning, then it is best to call a local granite company who can come and professionally re-seal the granite. They also have special tools and polishing agents that can work out scratches, swirls, or other imperfections that have accumulated over time.
To wrap things up, we wanted to share a quick list of items that should never touch your granite.
• Vinegar or highly acidic products
• Scrubbing sponges
• Steel wool
Using any of the above products can cause irreversible damage. So be sure to steer clear and find only products specifically suited for granite and stone surfaces.