The do's and don'ts of cleaning granite

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The new stone is installed and looks gorgeous. Now what? The best way to keep your stone looking great is to avoid bad habits.

This goes for granite as well as marble, travertine, limestone, soapstone, quartz and other solid surfaces.

Keep this column handy to preserve the beauty of your stone.

Blot up spills immediately. Acidic substances like wine, coffee, fruit juices, tomato sauce and sodas will etch marble and stain the surface.

Clean surfaces using a sponge or soft cloth. Use a specially formulated stone cleaner to keep your tops in the best condition and protect the sealer. Hot water will do for quick clean-ups. Dish soap won't hurt but repeated use will cause build-up and dull the surface.

Use coasters under all glasses, bottles and cans. Use trivets and hot pads under pots and pans. Use cutting boards and common sense to protect all surfaces.

Clean your countertops. Grit trapped between a pot and countertop surface could scratch. It's not common, but it is possible.

Dust mop your natural stone floors regularly. Use a clean, dry, non-treated dust mop. If you choose to use a vacuum cleaner, be really careful.

Use door mats inside and out, along with runners and area rugs. Grit, dirt and sand carried in by shoes and pets can wear and scratch the surface. Clean the rugs regularly.

Don't use generic cleaning products. Bleach, glass cleaners, de-greasers or other common household cleaners could degrade the granite sealer and leave the stone vulnerable.

Don't use vinegar, ammonia, lemon or orange as cleaners. Most common household products are not good for cleaning granite countertops and should not be used for marble, travertine and most other stone.

Don't use bathroom, tub-and-tile or grout cleaners. These have abrasives that can scratch and dull stone surfaces.

Don't store toiletries directly on your countertop. Hair and nail products, perfumes, colognes, creams and lotions have a tendency to spill or leak. Use a shelf or a decorative tray.

Andrea Antunes McGilton is project manager at Distinctive Granite and Marble, with showrooms in Okatie; Lady's Island; Pooler, Ga., and on Hilton Head Island.

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