Care & Maintenance

Marble

Marble is one of the most beautiful materials you can ever have incorporated into your home decor – with proper care and maintenance, it will maintain its pristine condition throughout the life of the home. It will always add value both in visual appeal and financially.

In order to know the “how and why” and why the upkeep of marble is so important, you need to know a little about its origin. Marble is a rock that is actually formed from sea shell (calcium carbonate) deposits over billions of years ago. Cleaning compounds that contain acid will destroy it. The acid will find its way under the highly buffed polish or finish, get into the cracks of the porous rock, and you’ll eventually wind up with a big pile of white sand.”

Polishing Marble Floors

Sealing your worktop or floor is probably the best way to protect it, but before sealing it, you should make sure it needs to be sealed. Put a few drops of water on your counter and leave it for a few minutes (4-5 minutes). Wipe up the liquid, and if a dark spot or stain is left behind, then it’s time to seal or polish your worktop or floor. Don’t worry about the water leaving a spot behind; the liquid should evaporate within half an hour. If you’re a keen do-it-yourselfer, and want to tackle the refinishing job on an older marble floor, there are a number of products available to help you out. We haven’t tried it but check at your local hardware or home improvement store. We advise you to leave serious marble refinishing to the experts.

Taking Care Of Polished Floors

As with most highly polished stones, marble will scratch. You don’t want that to happen so take a few precautions.

Keep furniture from scratching the marble surface by placing them on rugs or carpets. If that’s not feasible, be sure to use pads or furniture protectors under the feet of tables, chairs or cabinets. These products are available in various sizes and dimensions at most hardware stores. It’s also possible to cut felt pads and glue them onto the bottom of the furniture. That way, if you need to move a heavy chair, it will not scratch the surface of the marble, and you’ll be able to easily push it to its new position.

Use dust mops – not brooms – to sweep up surface dirt or dust from marble. Spay dust mops with anti-static spray so they will more easily attract and hold the dust particles.

When the marble needs a “mopping”, use a clean, new sponge mop dipped in fresh clean water. Squeeze out as much water as possible and lightly mop the whole surface of the marble floor. You’ll need to dip your mop frequently into the clean water and rinse out the dirt. Don’t use this mop for any other floors, except the marble floors.

Don’t leave water on the surface of the marble when you are through mopping. Use either clean terrycloth towels or soft paper towels to wipe up the moisture from the whole surface of the floor. After the floor is completely dry, you may buff it with dry paper towels to restore the shine.

Spot Cleaning Your Marble Floors

Occasionally, there will be small stains on your marble floor. You may not have the time to do a thorough clean or mop but, if you use caution, you may make short work of stains before they are set in.

For sugar based stains, moisten a household sponge in warm water that has a few drops of washing up liquid added. Rub the spot, rinse well with clean water, and dry with a paper towel.

For dropped on food stains (tomato sauces, sauces with oil), get to it quickly with a household sponge dipped in warm, soapy water, with a little hydrogen peroxide added. Rub first, then flood the stain, and immediately wipe up excess water. If necessary repeat. Dry afterwards with paper towel.

As with all stains, we recommend quick action before the stain is absorbed and dries on your marble floor. 

Granite

Sealing the Surface of Granite Worktops

Most granite worktops do not require a sealant, but they may benefit from a quality sealer product. The sealant will give your worktop extra protection against spills by making a moisture-resistant surface even more moisture resistant.

Make sure your surface is not already sealed. If your worktops are a part of a newly built home, the builder probably already sealed them.

Use a long-lasting, high quality, penetrating sealant. The sealer product should last ten to fifteen years and be oleophobic (resistant to water and oil or fat based stains). Find one that will penetrate the granite to seal any grooves or spaces in the stone, instead of sitting on the surface. Do not use lower-priced, lower-quality sealants.

Make sure your work area is well ventilated before you seal the worktop. Open windows, doors, and turn on a fan.

Clean the surface thoroughly. Wipe the granite down with a damp, soft cloth and a bit of washing up liquid, or multipurpose cleaner. Dry the surface with a dry, soft cloth and buff it as much as you can. If you don’t know your worktop’s history, how it has been used, consider using a degreaser product first.

Your worktop must be bone dry, before you apply a sealant. Let them sit for 24 hours after you wipe them down and clean them. Using a fan will cut down on the drying time. The colours in granite will look less deep after it’s completely dry.

Pour the sealer on the surface. Spread the sealer over the worktop with a paper towel, foam brush or rag. Allow the sealer to penetrate 5 to 10 minutes; if the sealer is completely absorbed in 5 minutes, add more. After 5 to 10 minutes, remove any remaining sealer.

Buff the stone to a high shine. Use a clean, dry terry cloth to buff the sealer left on the surface off. Wipe the stone using small, circular motions. You can use a cordless, orbital buffer to get the job done quicker.

Maintaining the Granite Worktop Surface Daily

Use a pH neutral cleanser and a soft cloth. Don’t use harsh cleansers or scrubbers. While granite is very durable, acidic cleansers and sponges that can scratch will wear down a sealant. Use pH neutral soap to clean your worktop. Stone cleaner works as well as simple dish soap. Don´t use glass cleaner or vinegar.

Wipe the top down regularly, Keeping the surface free of dirt and grime will help preserve granite. Clean your worktop regularly with warm water and a few drops of dish or antibacterial detergent using a soft cloth. Rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.

If you spill something on the surface, remove with a paper towel or soft cloth right away. Do not wipe spilled liquids, like juice or milk, because this can spread them around your worktop.

Granite worktops and properly sealed stone will repel most stains if the spills are cleaned promptly. Use a dry, dishcloth to dry your granite after any spills, so moisture does not seep into the pores of the stone.

Hot cooking pots will not damage the surface and granite can withstand high temperatures, but extreme or constant temperature changes can harm your stone. For instance, avoid leaving hot pans sitting on granite in a chilly room.

Protect your granite from moisture absorption by using coasters under anything filled with liquid. Be especially careful with dark coloured liquids, like red wine or juice.

Cleaning Specific Stains or Disinfecting a Granite Worktop

If your granite worktop is properly sealed and maintained, you only need to wipe it down thoroughly with water, a rag and a gentle cleaner.

If you spill oil-based liquids on your granite, like milk or grease, you may need to remove some stains. Make a paste out of baking soda and water, slather it on the oil marks, cover it and let it sit for several hours or overnight.

Coffee, juice and wine may leave marks if it’s not cleaned up immediately and penetrate the stone. Add just enough hydrogen peroxide to baking soda to make a paste. Apply it to any water-based stains or marks, cover it and let it sit overnight.

Granite naturally repels bacteria, but if you want to disinfect your worktop more than with just soap and water you can use water and 91% isopropyl alcohol. Mix the solution up with a 50/50 ratio, spray it on the worktop, and let it sit for three to five minutes. Rinse with water and dry with a soft dishcloth. Maybe you need to repeat this treatment once more. Never use products that contain bleach, ammonia, vinegar, lemon, orange or any abrasive cleaning powders or cleaning pads.

Quartz (Silestone)

Because of its rich natural colour pattern, durability and ease of upkeep, quartz is highly sought after as a finish for kitchen countertops. Once installed, the sumptuous material usually only requires a simple wipe down to keep it clean and maintain its elegant appearance. Knowing which cleaning methods and products not to use on your quartz countertop, however, is just as important as knowing which to use. Perform everyday cleaning tasks with a mild soap solution and a soft cloth or sponge, and steer clear of harsh scrubbers and cleaners that may mar the sealed surface of the quartz.

Cleaning a Quartz worktop

To keep your quartz worktop clean, you won´t usually need anything more sophisticated than a gentle soap solution. Generally, it’s best to use a mild dish detergent that doesn’t contain any astringents or harsh chemicals. These substances can wear down quartz with repeated use. The resins used to seal quartz make the finish resistant to everyday dust, dirt, stains and mold. Warm water is more effective for releasing resilient messes than cold water.

Go over the surface of the worktop using smooth, circular motions. The majority of messes should come right off with little effort. For dried or sticky residue, apply more soap solution as needed. Get in the habit of scrubbing your worktop every time you do any major cooking, baking or meal preparation.

Wring out and rewet the cloth or sponge, then go back over the worktop one more time to clear away any last traces of soap. Soaps can dry into a scummy residue if they’re not properly washed away. Soak up standing water with a paper towel and allow the quartz to air dry. Once your worktop is dry, feel it with your hands to make sure that no food remains.

The natural grain and colour pattern of quartz may cause some messes to go unnoticed. Commercial quartz is non-porous, which means it won’t absorb and lock in stains. However, it’s still a good idea to address spills, crumbs and other messes before they have a chance to set in. This will save you the trouble of employing more intensive measures later on. With a modest amount of maintenance, you can keep your quartz worktop looking new for years.

Deep-Cleaning Quartz

Scrape off hardened messes. You may occasionally have difficulty removing crusty, dried-on gunk with just soap and water. In these situations, you can chip away at the spot using a plastic scraper. It will also help to spray the gunk with warm water to soften it and make it easier to lift off with a little elbow grease. Use only flexible plastic

scrapers (never metal) or nonabrasive sponges and be careful not to apply too much pressure. Doing so may create small scratches or abrasions that can worsen over time. Soak paper towels in hot water and use them to cover messes that are spread out over a large area.

Break down stubborn residue using a vinegar solution. With time, food particles and mineral deposits from hard water can cause a film to develop on the countertops and a normal wipe-down may just smear it around. A little distilled white vinegar can cut right through this film. Combine equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spray the entire surface and run a soft kitchen sponge over it to leave behind a streak-free shine. If you don’t have any vinegar to hand, you can also use an equivalent amount of hydrogen peroxide.

Treat tougher stains with specialty cleaning products. Should you ever need to remove more troublesome items like chewing gum, ink or glue, grab an oil-based stain remover. Apply the cleaner lightly to the worktop and let it sit for a couple of minutes, then rub out the mess and the remaining cleaner using a damp cloth. Ordinary rubbing alcohol may also be useful for loosening unusual substances.

TIP! Spray the worktop periodically with a glass cleaner. As quartz ages, the clear resin sealant can start to appear cloudy. A spritz of glass cleaner will help reduce some of the murkiness, leaving the finish looking polished and sparkling. Do this is once a month, or whenever you notice that your worktop no longer shines like they used to. After using glass cleaner, wipe the worktop with a cloth or sponge rather than a paper towel to avoid leaving behind tiny fibres.

Preserving the Finish of Your Quartz Worktop

Quartz is quite resilient, but it’s not indestructible. Abrasive agents are enough to create small scratches in the soft resin or underlying stone that are often permanent. Similarly, it’s possible for harsh chemicals like bleach and oven cleaner to cause bubbling, staining or discoloration. Play it safe and stick with harmless cleaning solutions like liquid detergents and vinegar. It’s never a good idea to scour quartz with steel wool, sandpaper, pumice stone or any kind of stiff-bristled brush. Use a chopping board when preparing meals to prevent accidental scratches and gouges.

Quartz is not meant to withstand intense heat. Always lay out a hot pad or trivet when serving dishes straight out of the oven. If you need to set down hot pots and pans, do it on the cooker instead of the counter. Most types of quartz are only designed to tolerate temperatures of up to 150-200°C (300-400°F). More extreme temperatures may cause sudden and severe cracking. Be careful with appliances that generate a lot of heat, such as toasters or metal rice cookers.