Granite is an igneous rock. Igneous is the oldest rock type in the world. Granite is the most durable of the natural materials, although individual stones can vary. It is rare for granite to stain and very unlikely that it will etch or scratch. With normal kitchen use (and the proper cleaning and sealing products), your stone will still look good ten years down the road.
Clean your granite with a neutral, pH-balanced cleaner specifically designed for natural stone or a very small amount of clear, mild dish-soap. Regular household products can break down the sealer on your stone, leaving it more susceptible to staining/ etching. Never use Windex or any other “heavy-duty” cleaners, since they can actually damage your natural stone. When it comes to natural stone, less is more. Regent has a good selection of stone cleaners. If you move into a home where the counters have not been properly cared for, and there is a buildup on the counters that can’t be removed with a standard cleaner, then you can use acetone (available at your local hardware/ home improvement store) to remove any build up.
It is standard to seal granite once a year. We use Regent’s “Silicone Impregnator” for most granite. Many natural stones are porous, and the sealer prevents food juices and other liquid from getting in the pours, where they can sometimes cause discoloration or, in extreme cases, etching. You can get sealer (also called impregnator) online from Granquartz or Regent. For marble, white granite, and quartzite, we recommend a specialized sealer like Regent’s “Zeta Seal,” which is specifically designed to prevent acidic substances from etching stones.
To seal your countertops: Clean the counters thoroughly. When they are dry, pour the sealer onto the counters roll it evenly onto the counters with a clean paint roller, making sure to roll forward, backward, left, and right. Wait 15 minutes and wipe off any excess. Then repeat the process a second time. Like paint, sealer shrinks as it dries, so a second coat will ensure that the entire surface is protected.
Unsure about whether your counters need to be sealed? Pour a small bit of water on the counter (half an inch or so in diameter) and place an overturned glass on the spot for about half an hour. If there is no dark spot when you wipe away the water, then your countertop is sealed. If there is a dark spot, then just wait for it to evaporate, then seal your counters.
We don’t recommend cutting on your granite. It is very unlikely you could scratch your granite, but you might leave steel marks, and it will certainly ruin your knives. You can put hot pans and pots directly on your granite.
If your granite does stain, you can use a heavy duty stone stain remover like the “Bellinzoni Mangia Macchia” available through Regent or simplestonecare.com. This pre-mized paste sucks the stain out of the stone. The product comes with easy to follow instruction for use and will work on all natural stones to remove almost any stain without changing the color of the stone or damaging the finish or polish. If you have a dyed stone, the paste will remove that dye along with the stain, so keep that in mind.