Below is a guide on how to take proper care of your kitchen counters, courtesy of Jane Sandwood. Want to know more? Visit:

You love your home, but you also recognise that at some point in the future you might want to sell it. This means that you'll have to take care to keep all your furniture and decoration up to date. One of the things you can do to boost your home's value is to look after your kitchen, and in particular the units and worktops, especially if they're made from granite. Granite installed by professionals can add over 25 percent of its retail value to a home! Here’s how to keep it looking beautiful so that it remains one of your home’s main attractions. 

One of the biggest reasons why granite countertops make a home more attractive and appear valuable is because they last for a long time. Granite is resistant to scratches, dents, and heat. It doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, however there are important tips you need to follow to keep it in top condition. 

Keep A Cloth Handy For Spills 

Sometimes spills and messes happen, but don’t let them linger! Granite is highly absorbent, so you want to mop up any liquids as soon as they strike the surface to prevent stains from forming. 

Stick To Daily Cleaning 

You should wipe down your countertops daily, especially bearing in mind that they breed bacteria. As studies have shown, kitchen countertops near the sink are dirtier than in other areas because they get cleaned with sponges that have collected bacteria in the sink. Keep a separate cloth for cleaning your granite countertop to wipe it down daily with a few drops of dishwashing soap and water. Always dry it properly to prevent stains or haziness from soap that is especially visible on dark granite.  

Avoid Chemical Cleaning Products 

You might be tempted to use bleach or other acidic, chemical cleaning products on your granite but these can damage it. Stick to a gentle dish soap but if you need a bit more intensive cleaning, you can add three or four teaspoons of isopropyl alcohol to a bottle of water and a few drops of dish soap. After spraying this mixture onto the granite, always wipe it away with a clean, dry cloth. Avoid natural cleaning tips, like the use of vinegar or lemon juice. These can remove the stone’s natural shine and cause scratches and marks. 

Seal Them! 

Your granite countertop can last for decades, but you need to have it sealed annually in order to prevent bacteria and liquids from seeping into minuscule holes or cracks, which can ruin its beauty. Sealing isn’t difficult or expensive. You can even do it yourself. Here are easy steps to follow to seal your granite countertop properly: 

Choose The Right Sealant. There are different types, depending on your needs. For example, a penetrating sealant will enter the surface and fill any small cracks while maintaining the granite’s natural appearance without extra glossiness. Enhancers, on the other hand, can make the granite look shinier or darker to highlight the granite’s natural beauty and color. Make sure the sealant maintains its speckled finish, as this “multicolor” feature is the most popular choice for countertops, when rated by people who are considering home renovations. 

Clean Before You Seal. Wipe down the countertop before applying your sealant - you don’t want dirt getting trapped under it. Whichever sealant you choose, make sure it’s non-toxic and easy to apply. 

Protecting Granite When Cooking 

Granite is naturally resistant to scratches and heat, but that doesn’t mean all is fair game when cooking or working on granite countertops. When it comes to heat, it’s perfectly safe to place hot pans on granite, but you want to prevent differences in temperature that can cause thermal shock to the granite, resulting in hairline cracks. For instance, this shock can occur if the granite is very cold when you place a boiling-hot pot on it. It’s therefore better to use a trivet or place mat to absorb heat and prevent damage. 

As for cutting foods on granite, the granite is strong enough to withstand knives, but your knives might get dulled by the hard stone, resulting in you having to sharpen them regularly. Your granite might also suffer from being used as a chopping board because foods release moisture that can enter the stone’s pores and cause stains and bacteria to accumulate. Stick to using a chopping board to protect your beautiful granite from nicks and stains. It’ll go a long way to ensuring its classic and sophisticated appearance. 

Granite countertops are the star of the kitchen, and can make or break a potential home owner’s rating of your home. Be sure to keep your granite countertop in great condition, with the right cleaning, sealing, and maintenance tips. It’ll be worth it because your granite countertop will serve you well by looking beautiful for years to come and possibly even boosting your home value.