In this article, we have outlined an ultimate guide on how to clean granite countertops before sealing which will be a game changer for your kitchen!!
Granite is a highly durable material of natural stone that can improve the aesthetics of your kitchen. It adds a luxurious and modern touch to different places on your property. You can use the item as your kitchen or bar countertop.
Many people also use granite in their bathrooms to match the interior. If you have this stone in your home, you may have been told to seal your countertop. The previous sealing may also have worn off due to aging. The good news is you can easily reseal the countertop at home.
However, you must follow the sealing steps correctly and clean the countertop before the process. If you don’t know how to do that, worry no more. Let’s take a look at everything about the granite sealing process.
Why Do Granite Countertops Need Sealing?
The primary reason for sealing granite countertops is that it is a porous material. The surface has tiny non-visible openings that allow small particles to seep through the material. For instance, granite can absorb water and food particles easily during spills.
The contractor may have told you to clean the countertop instantly if you spill something. Otherwise, the material may stain because of the high absorption. Simply put, the porosity of granite is a drawback but can be avoided by sealing the spaces using a reliable sealant.
Things To Know Before Cleaning Granite Countertops For Sealing
You must remember that granite countertops require deep cleaning before applying the sealant. This will help you improve the lifespan of the protective layer and prevent it from wearing off early.
However, you must remember a few things before starting the cleaning process. The following tips will help you avoid damaging your countertop before sealing:
Check The Countertop For Sealing
Depending on the manufacturer, some people don’t know that granite countertops may already be sealed. Some companies take this step during the production process at the factory. The best part about this sealing is that it will last for ten to fifteen years without issues.
So your granite countertop may not need sealing if you have bought it recently. You can know this by asking the contractor whether the material has been sealed. Meanwhile, if it has been years or your contractor does not know about the sealing, you can check the countertop.
The best way to test the countertop is by using the water drop test. You should make multiple pools of liquid on the material. After that, note the time it takes for absorption. If the granite does not absorb water after 30 minutes, it does not require sealing. Meanwhile, you may have to seal it if it takes 5 to 30 minutes.
Avoid Using Chemicals Or Acidic Cleaning Agents
Granite is a durable material with a high lifespan to offer you more flexibility. However, this does not mean that the material is indestructible and does not suffer from damage. It is susceptible to damage through specific things such as lemon juice and vinegar. You must note both these materials are acidic.
The material cannot also withstand being cleaned with harsh chemicals or baking soda. You should not get such substances for cleaning the granite countertop before sealing. The primary reason to avoid these items is that they erode the calcium within the stone.
Because of the erosion, pits may appear on the granite surface in different places. The worst part is that this damage is permanent, and you cannot do much to fix it. So your kitchen aesthetics will suffer because of the countertop, and your property’s value may also decrease.
Wipe Up Spills
Cleaning a granite countertop is relatively easy and does not require much effort. Of course, you can make mistakes because of various factors such as disturbance by kids or guests. The top thing to avoid in the kitchen is spills during the cleaning process. For instance, keep the cleaning agent in a spray bottle instead of a cup.
Besides that, if you spill something on the countertop during the cleaning, wipe it instantly. Granite is highly porous and may absorb the substance promptly if its previous sealing has degraded significantly. If you don’t clean the spill, the material may stain permanently depending on the ingredient.
Empty The Countertop
It is no secret that you must remove things from the countertop when applying the sealant. You should also do the same step when cleaning the granite surface. Not only that, but avoid putting back the things after you’re done cleaning.
Typically, you should leave the granite countertop empty until you have resealed it. This will take at least two days or more if you consider the cleaning and drying periods. The primary reason to avoid putting back things is so that they don’t contaminate the countertop.
Spills are not the only thing you should be worried about when thinking of contaminants. Bacteria and other microbodies can also easily grow on an unsealed granite countertop. The tiny openings provide bacteria with a safe space for multiplying.
Let The Countertop Dry
Many people read in instruction guides that you should dry the countertop before proceeding with sealing. However, most people fail to tell you the optimum time for drying. After the deep cleaning, you should avoid using the sealant on the countertop for at least one day.
The granite must be dry from the inside and outside before applying the sealant. You can easily know the exterior’s dryness because of the clear visibility. However, you cannot know whether the tiny openings on the granite surface are dry. This is why it is best to wait for one day.
You may also wait for two days before applying the sealant, but it should not exceed more than this time. Another thing to remember is that you must avoid using the countertop after the cleaning.
How To Clean Granite Countertops Before Sealing?
Here are the steps you should follow to clean granite countertops before sealing:
Gather The Materials
You may think of using a store-bought cleaner for the process, but it is preferable to avoid that. This is because you can never be sure of the ingredients, and they may harm the countertop during cleaning. The top two materials you require for the process are liquid dishwashing detergent and isopropyl alcohol.
Most liquid dish soaps are alkaline and do not contain acidic ingredients. This is why you can rely on the item more than specific cleaners. Besides that, isopropyl alcohol is necessary to dilute the detergent and eliminate the risk of damaging the countertop.
Form A Cleaning Solution
You will need the liquid dish soap, isopropyl alcohol, and an empty spray bottle. Add a small amount of both the ingredients to the container to form a mixture. You can put about one or two tablespoons of the soap and alcohol in equal parts to form the solution.
After the mixture is ready, you should fill the rest of the spray bottle with cold water and tightly seal it. Then, shake the container to form the safe and diluted cleaning agent for the granite countertop. Remember, this homemade solution is better and inexpensive than other cleaners on the market.
Wipe The Surface
Spray the cleaning agent on your granite countertop in moderate quantity. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the surface and erase all contaminants from the material. You can apply the solution generously only on the part that requires sealing.
However, it is advisable to clean the entire granite countertop instead of just the part you will be sealing. This is because contaminants such as bacteria may travel from the other parts to the cleaned region. You should also wipe the surface using a microfiber cloth in a circular motion.
If you don’t have a microfiber cloth, you should opt for another non-abrasive cleaning item. For instance, soft rags may also be suitable for wiping the granite countertop in a circular motion.
Let The Countertop Dry
This is an essential step that many people get wrong because they only let the outer surface dry and apply the sealant. However, it is more important that the inner granite surface is dry and should not contain an excess cleaning solution. So you should wait one day before applying the sealant.
If you performed a lengthy deep cleaning and used a high amount of solution, it is preferable to wait two days. You must ensure that people don’t use the countertop and keep things on it during this duration. You should also minimize touching the clean surface.
How To Seal Granite Countertops After Cleaning?
Now that you understand how to clean granite countertops before sealing, you may want to know how to seal the surface. So here are the guidelines you should remember:
Get The Sealant
There are multiple sealant options on the market by brands such as Dupont, Marble Life, Rock Doctor, Wieman, and much more. These companies offer reliable sealants, but you should remember that they are not permanent. So you will have to reapply annually or quarterly.
Besides that, a few permanent sealing options are also available. Granite Shield is a good item but also has a complex application process that requires the use of multiple chemicals. Permatreat is also suitable, but you will have to hire a professional to apply it.
Permanent Stain-Proof is also available on the market and is the least expensive. It is a DIY sealant that follows the same application process as the non-permanent sealers.
Read The Instructions
Before applying the sealant, the application process should be at your fingertips. If you take one wrong step, the protective coating will not work, and you will have to restart the process from the cleaning step. You may also damage your countertop if you don’t apply the sealant correctly.
All brands provide instructions on the sealant’s container or packaging box. Some also include a manual with diagrams to help you with the application process. You must read the steps and follow them strictly in the next step for the best results.
Test The Sealant
Many people fail to do this step before applying the sealant thoroughly. However, it is essential to test the item to ensure you don’t damage your granite countertop. You can do this by following the brand’s instructions and applying the sealant on an unnoticeable countertop region.
After the application, wait for the sealant to cure as per the brand’s given time. Typically, this is less than 30 minutes, but it may be more if you’re using a permanent sealant. Be sure not to wait longer than the given time, or the countertop may discolor.
If the granite countertop shows marks after sealant absorption, you should not use the item for further sealing. Instead, take a picture of the damaged area and visit the store to exchange the sealant. You should repeat all three steps with the new item and test it. Once you find a safe sealant, you can move to the fourth step.
Apply The Sealant
Now that you have a safe sealant, you should apply the fluid to all the granite countertops you want to seal. The best way to do this is by starting from one end and working toward the other side. You should use a clean microfiber cloth in a circular motion to spread the sealant and provide equal coverage to each area.
You must also wait for the curing time to complete before wiping off excess sealant from the surface. Also, check the packaging box to see how many coats you have to apply. If it is one, you can wipe the excess fluid and return the things to your countertop. You should also avoid wiping the surface with wet items.
This is your complete guide on how to clean granite countertops before sealing. The top tip to remember is to make a homemade cleaning solution instead of using acidic store-bought agents. You should also wipe the surface with a microfiber cloth and let it dry. After that, you can easily seal your granite countertops.