When it comes to cleaning your benchtop you want to make sure you do it right from the start especially when it comes to stone; this usually being the most expensive part of your kitchen. When dealing with stone, it is important you know which type you have, either natural or engineered. If you have a natural stone benchtop (Quartz, Granite etc), it does come with extra cleaning duties to make sure it continues to look as good as new. Engineered stone is made using both man-made and natural materials and is less expensive than natural stone. Engineered stone comes with fewer cleaning responsibilities but still needs to be kept on top of it. Highlighted below are the differences in cleaning natural and engineered stone benchtops and then the commonalities of these materials.
Differences between Engineered Stone and Natural Stone.
Engineered stone is produced from up to 90% of natural quartz and a polymer resin and therefore has been manufactured to be a heat-resistant material. However, it cannot be made to be completely heatproof, it is best to avoid placing hot objects directly on the stone as it can get damaged by sudden temperature changes.It is a very strong material and has a lower absorption rate than Natural Stone which does greatly reduces the potential for bacterial growth and stains. Putting a chopping board underneath any pots, pans, or slow cookers will help relieve the possibility of discolouration.
Natural Stone is a porous material compared to its Engineered stone counterpart. It should be treated with the utmost care and have an appropriate seal on it. This seal needs to be replaced regularly, every 6 months to a year to ensure the stone remains functional and in its beautiful state. Try to avoid acidic foods and liquids as well as highly coloured substances directly on your benchtop. If these happen to get spilled they must be cleaned up immediately. When doing this it is best to use a slightly damp cloth and NOT a scouring pad, as they are abrasive and damaging.
General Stone Benchtop Cleaning
There are many things to consider with both natural and engineered stone. Please, please avoid sitting or standing on any part of the bench. There are weak spots in your benchtop that occur around joins as well as the front and back of the sink. This doesn’t mean you can stand in any other place though! Best to just get a ladder or a chair.
The finish of your benchtop will determine how often your bench needs to be cleaned. If the finish is honed, a satin, smooth surface with relatively little reflection, it will need to be cleaned more frequently to clear any fingerprints or marks as this finish is not as easy to wipe clean. If the finish is polished, this is a smoother finish which cleans a lot easier. It does not need to be cleaned as often as a honed finish; about 3 times a week.
When wiping the benchtop down, make sure to always use a non-abrasive cloth with mild soapy water. Put the soap directly onto the cloth rather than the benchtop, that way it isn’t as harsh. No bleach should be used on any surface as the high concentration of chemicals can cause discolouration and stains. Although stone benchtops are very strong, a chopping board is a lifesaver your knives will need. The strength of stone will wear knives down and make them blunt very quickly. It also may cause scratches that can be difficult to buff out if done repeatedly.
Let’s recap the three main tips to take away from this article.
1. Act Fast: When any substance spills on the surface it must be dealt with straight away.
2. Wipe clean: Put some mild soap onto a damp cloth to wipe anything away. It is important not to use any harsh chemicals on the stone surface as it will cause discolouration.
3. Buff and dry with a cloth: Once the spillage is cleaned up, dry with a clean cloth and buff out any marks that may have appeared.