How to Prevent Etching on Your Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are the signature aspect of any room’s interior design. Well-known for their diverse designs and durability, granite will elevate even the most uninspiring of interior décor or fixtures.

One of nature’s toughest materials, granite registers at a 6 to 7 on the Mochs’ Scale (the measurement of mineral hardness.) A compound of quartz, feldspar, combined with trace amounts of other minerals, the siliceous stone is resistant to acidic lemon juice, vinegars, and cleaning products – something that bolsters its longevity.

Additionally, granite is highly scratch-resistant, even to knives on the higher end of the Blade Sharpness Index (BSI). In fact, believe it or not, granite has been found to dull kitchen knives. Keys, coins, and utensils also have similarly little effect on the aesthetic polish of granite.

However, despite the obvious attributes that make granite more durable than other countertops, it is still prone to etching. Learn how you can prevent granite etching with our handy guide below. Be sure to read the whole blog to discover how to get rid of any etching.

How Is Etching Caused?

In a nutshell, etching is when granite’s aesthetic is dulled by the interaction between the material and some acids. The interaction causes a chemical reaction that can discolour the material or leave a watermark.

Granite that contains traces of calcite, serpentine, onyx, or other calcareous minerals are more sensitive to acid damage and may etch a greater number of dull spots onto the surface. The higher the acid scores on the pH scale, the more likely it is to cause damage to your granite countertops.

The alkaline levels of certain acidic liquids that are commonly found in the kitchen, such as tomato juice, wine, and vinegar, will break through the protective seal of granite countertops. This can cause a chemical reaction and mark the granite surface.

How You Can Prevent Etching

The most consistent way to prevent granite etching is to make sure that you have a strong seal on your granite counters. There is a simple, straightforward way to do this: use granite countertop cleaners to clean the surface.

DON’T use standard household cleaners to clean granite. ONLY use granite-safe cleaners. Do this and you’ll be able to enjoy a pristine granite countertop for years to come – without having to worry about etching.

Having a strong seal on your granite counter-tops isn’t the only way to prevent etching. There are other kitchen practices too that will protect and preserve the granite aesthetic of your kitchen counter-tops. Interested in finding out? Continue reading below.

Always Use Chopping Boards and Coasters

Now granite may well register 6 to 7 on the Mochs’ Scale, but that’s no reason to be careless, or neglect cleanliness, something that’s paramount given our current circumstances fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Using chopping boards to prepare food is both cleanly and a great way to minimise getting any marks on your granite countertop. As previously mentioned, acidic lemon and other fruit juices can damage the granite seal. The next time you’re preparing non-alcoholic punch or sangria for a summer barbeque, or indeed any acidic foods for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, make sure that you cut up all acidic fruits on a chopping board.

Similarly, if you’re preparing a steaming mug of coffee for a morning breakfast or a hot chocolate before turning in for the night, you should always use coasters on granite countertops. Rich, dark liquid spillages will leave stains on your granite countertop and might cause marks if not swiftly mopped up.

Wipe All Spillages

This is really a no-brainer and something that you should do whether you have a granite, quartz, or any other countertop but, persistently not mopping up spillages can leave marks over time, especially if your sealer has degraded, causing spillages to seep into the granite.

Though this is rare, coloured liquid and food, such as beetroot or red wine can leave stains that will become more prominent on lighter coloured granite. These stains can seep into any etching, causing an unsightly colour on your granite countertops.

Remember too that if left unattended to, water can seep into a sealed surface in 15-20 minutes. Though more porous surfaces, such as wood or natural stone, will absorb much more water than granite or quartz which are generally considered to be non-porous, spillages on granite unattended to is not the best way to keep surfaces in pristine condition.

Keep Hot Pans Away from Granite Wherever Possible

Now, leaving a steaming pan of rice or pasta on a granite countertop won’t cause any notable damage, however in rare cases, moving pans from the stove to a granite countertop can cause thermal shock and granite etching.  

Always use a mat, wire rack or trivet to rest steaming pans on and then you won’t have to worry about your granite becoming marked or having to mop up spillages. Any food remnants or ingrained dirt on the bottom of the pan can be transferred to granite countertops if you leave the pan sitting on the granite countertop for a long time. In the worse- case scenario this can cause etching.

Saucepan with boiling water placed over an electric hob

So, there you are, how to prevent etching on your granite countertops. When all’s said and done, preventing etching is really all about taking good care of your granite, which is easy to do. All you need to have are the right cleaning products, exercise a little caution and common sense and be aware of the foods and liquids that could damage granite.

Granite Line has a vast selection with some of the most exquisite granite countertops anywhere in Cheshire. If you’d like to see our product range or make a general enquiry, call us today on 01606 841074.