From acting as convenient resting places for one’s elbow to providing a phenomenal space to concoct all manner of recipes, every homeowner out there understands the value of their countertops. These permanent kitchen fixtures are a selling point for many real-estate agents and their clients, and you would be at a loss finding a professional chef who underestimates their importance.
Despite the unquestionable utility of these surfaces, many homeowners are unfortunately quite unfamiliar with their maintenance and upkeep. While they may seem to require little physical care, the reality is much different. Countertops are constructed from a wide variety of materials that each bear their own characteristics and challenges. In order for any kitcheneer to succeed, they must first understand how to look after these cherished fixtures.
You could call these a ‘stone-cold’ classic. Granite countertops are constructed from a relatively common variety of porous stone. When cleaning on a daily basis, one should wipe down the surface with a clean cloth as well as a warm soap and water mixture. One of our favourite granite-specific cleaners is Method Daily Granite Cleaner, a non-abrasive solution that is available at most building supply stores and department stores.
Due to their porous qualities, some granite countertops must be sealed monthly. This may sound like an arduous task, but in reality it is quite simple. Products such as 3-in-1 spray cleaners perform the job wonderfully, ensuring that your favourite ‘top comes out with a sheen and polish that makes it look as good as new. If you have a specific supplier or installer, it is always a good idea to touch base with them to determine which products work best. Different styles of granite may require slightly different tools for their preservation, so be mindful of this when facing new installs.
To Avoid: Despite being heat resistant, we recommend you keep your hot kitchen pots and pans off these surfaces or else risk damaging the seal. When it comes to spills, be wary, as anything that is acidic or basic can eat through the seal and cause quite the ruckus. Even if you spill ordinary food, try to attend to it as quickly as possible as the seal may be easily damaged.
Unlike its cousin, granite, quartz is a shiny, yet non-porous material that is perfect for any household prone to spills or large cook-ups. Soap and water, as always, work wonders to handle messes, the application of a light detergent also works quite well. Even the aforementioned Method Daily Granite Cleaner can act as a brilliant cleaning solution.
Quartz does come in a wide variety of, well, varieties, so one should always be mindful of this and be sure to speak with their supplier so as to determine which upkeep plan suits your kitchen best.
To Avoid: The occasional bowl of soup is no cause for alarm, but be advised that hot metal kitchenware, such as frying pans, can do irreparable damage to quartz countertops, including leaving nasty burn marks. Always keep a heat pad handy if you are cooking, just in case, or you may be looking at some ugly stains and costly replacements.
Chemicals can pose a serious risk to quartz, and should always been kept at a distance. Paint removers and strippers are notorious for absolutely wrecking these countertops, as many an uninformed home owner has discovered. Anything abrasive (even one’s attitude) is essentially trouble. Even glass cleaning agents or materials designed to clean stoves are certainly trouble-makers, so practice extra caution, or just don’t use them at all.
As with granite, the cleaning of these surfaces can be performed with ease through the application of soap, water, and a clean cloth, just make sure that it dries thoroughly thereafter. Wood can be disinfected quite easily by using regular strength vinegar (white vinegar from any grocery store works wonders).
Since these countertops are more prone to odour as a result of spills and the general detritus associated with cooking, you can always rub the surface with coarse salt or baking soda. This, when followed with a clean water rinse, will ensure that all the stink is removed within minutes. If you are chopping lots of garlic and onions, simply apply fresh lemon juice to cut away the pungent aroma.
To Avoid: While watering your trees and garden outside is important, try to avoid excess moisture and submersion of your wood counters. This substance is very porous and generally not sealed, causing the liquid to seep into the material and potential cause ruptures when dried. Likewise, any spilled food or liquid should be dealt with immediately or else risk stains or the permeation of invasive residue.
Countertops are truly wonderful things, and it we believe that it is essential that anyone (ie everyone) who owns or uses them understands the do’s and don’ts associated with looking after them. For anyone seeking advice or assistance beyond this guide, don’t hesitate to reach out, we will work together to ensure you kitchen surfaces are exceptional beyond belief.
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