My friend Amy got new granite countertops and my friend Martha got a new travertine stone shower and so, I got to thinking...how do your clean these without damaging the stone.
Here is what I learned. Granite is very hard and very hard to damage, but the seal isn't. Granite also is prone to stain. It is a natural porous material. So, you DO need to protect it. Here's what I have determined that I will do to take care of my granite. (Remember, I am NOT an expert. I just am reporting things I found on the internet. My information is only as good as the information I found.)
1. Never use "magic" erasers (like Mr. Clean). They can etch your seal and if your seal is thin, it will mark your granite.
2. Don't use ammonia, bleach, vinegar or lemon products to clean
3. You can put hot stuff straight on it. In rare cases it could crack, but only if there is a huge temperature change. In Houston, I don't think my countertops are going to get cold enough to have that kind of temperature change. Now, I just have to change that 40 something year habit of grabbing a hot pad. (One word of caution...the hot pan WILL heat up your countertop so watch little fingers.)
4. The biggest danger of placing the pans straight on to the counter is that you might scratch the granite if there is grit on your counters. So, if you are concerned about scratches, use pot holders to protect from scratches or become obsessive about wiping down your counters.
5. Granite is very hard. Use cutting boards to save your knives. Granite is harder than stainless!
6. Be careful with insulin if you are a diabetic. There are several reports of insulin eating through the seal. Go figure! However, I asked a diabetic educator about this and she said that she had never heard that and it would surprise her since insulin has a pH of 7. Your choice.
7. Wipe up spills quickly, especially with an acidic item like citrus, wine, tomatoes.
8. Seal once a year.
Now, did that clear everything up for you??? It made it more confusing for me...
Here is the confusing part to me. How do I sanitize? I'm a little freaked out by bacteria especially from raw chicken and if I can't use bleach, vinegar, Windex, and lemon, what is left? TADA....
HOMEMADE GRANITE CLEANER
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol or vodka (the cheap, clear, unflavored kind)
3 drops of dishwashing soap
5-10 drops of essential oil to mask the alcohol scent (I used lavender. Don't use lemon.)
2 cups water
Put the first three ingredients in a spray bottle and shake. Add water. (That is it. Took me less than 5 minutes and that was stopping to snap pictures.)
The first time I used it, I am embarrassed to say that my white cloth was dirty when I finished. (I'm not the greatest housekeeper. Shh!) So, I'm thinking that it worked.
The one travertine cleaner I found substituted bleach for the vodka. I might research that some more. But, if your counters are NOT made of a natural stone, I would do this same thing and substitute bleach for the alcohol.
How do you clean your countertops????