Do you have natural stone counters in your kitchen? Whether you have slate, marble or granite, it's important that you properly maintain your natural stone counters; natural stone is porous, so it can become stained if it isn't properly sealed and maintained. 

Clean Up Any Spills Quickly

Natural stone kitchen countertops are spill resistant, not stain proof. If liquids are left on them for a lengthy period of time, they may leave a lingering stain -- so make sure that you clean everything up as quickly as possible. Likewise, you should avoid chopping or preparing anything directly on your counters, such as meats, because the porous nature of the natural stone can harbor bacteria.

Apply Sealant Regularly

How often you need to seal your natural stone counters depends largely on how often you use it. In general, sealing your counter every few months is a good idea. You cannot seal your counter too often as long as you are wiping up any residue each time. If you aren't certain whether you need to seal your counter, you can place a few drops of water on the counter. Wait a few hours; if the droplets sink into the counter, it needs to be sealed. Sealant will give your counter a glossy, like new appearance, and will protect against liquids. You simply wipe the sealant on, wait a few hours, and then wipe the remainder off. Granite is often said not to need sealant due to its naturally water resistant nature, but many people still seal their granite just to be careful. 

Clean With a Non-Acidic Cleanser

When cleaning your natural stone, you want to make sure that you use a pH balanced cleaning solution. You should avoid using any homemade cleaning solutions that include vinegar, as any acids may dull the polish of your counters. Often, your counter company will be able to sell you a solution that is made specifically for your counter material. It's a good idea to avoid any general purpose solutions unless you are absolutely certain that it is appropriate -- and you may want to test the solution on the corner of your counter before using it on your entire counter.

If your natural stone does become stained, don't worry. Most stains can be removed by using a lightly abrasive element such as an erasing sponge. In worst case scenarios, you may need to have an expert gently sand down the stain and then polish your counter again -- but either way, there's usually a method available to get your counter looking like new again. Visit a website like to learn more about caring for your countertops.