Granite Countertops During the Holidays

A HELPFUL ARTICLE from our team

Granite countertops during the holidays see a lot of action. It is, afterall, the most wonderful time of the year! With champagne for toasting and decadent platters for roasting, the approaching holidays provide much to look forward to. Whimsical traditions like white elephant gift exchanges, family game nights, and midnight walks under the starry skies are some of the most beloved and entertaining moments of the season. 

With so much activity going on in the hearth and home, it’s easy to forget about the still-hot pans of leftovers and droplets of spilled wine sitting on your kitchen countertops. It’s understandable that these potential issues may not be as important when it comes to spending time with loved ones, whom you may only get to see for a short time each year. We’re happy to share that you can enjoy both quality time and quality countertops with a little preparation.

This Year, To Save Them From Sear, Give Your Countertops Something Special

While it may be cold outside (or temperate if you’re in the South like we are), a buzzing holiday party means hot food and hot platters will be emerging from the oven like Santa’s presents making their way from the workshop to the sleigh! In the heat of the moment, busy bakers and cooks may momentarily forget about a piping hot casserole dish resting on the granite countertop. 

Granite has earned an eternal spot on the nice list for its ability to withstand temperatures exceeding 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, it’s unlikely that any of your delicious pies, succulent roasts, or savory sides are putting up much of a competition. However, leaving a hot dish on a stone for too long can cause discoloration and gouging. This occurs when the adhesive holding laminate to the granite substrate starts to separate. Any residue sticking to the bottom of a skillet, Dutch oven, or casserole dish can also cause surface stains. 

Thankfully, there are some helpful tools you can request from Santa to keep your granite countertops during the holidays clean and protected:

  • Trivets are fun to customize in different colors, designs, and materials. They are generally not cumbersome, meaning you can store them in already-crowded spaces.
  • Mats are also thin and can rest in the pull-out drawer underneath your oven. They are also an affordable option, as they are lighter in weight.
  • Baking racks create essential space between cooling pans and your granite countertops – a potentially wiser choice than using wax or parchment paper, which may not protect them as well.
  • Coasters can prevent glasses of ice water from perspiring and soaking your countertops with condensation, especially in a hot kitchen.

Rudolph, the Wine-Stained Granite Countertop

Part of the joy of the season is being able to let go and be yourself around your loved ones. We all may have a Cousin John or an Aunt Kim who literally lets go, accidentally spilling a splash of wine or a spoonful of cranberry sauce on the counter amidst all the peace, love, and joy. We’re here to tell you not to shout or cry, because your granite countertops should be fine as long as your mild dish detergent is nearby! 

It’s true – most spills are innocuous in a match-up against a granite countertop, especially if it has been sealed recently. That said, food and beverages like red wine, coffee, tomato juice, or items with acidic ingredients require expeditious attention, as certain acids are powerful enough to erode layers of a cast iron skillet. If left on a countertop for too long, they may penetrate the surface and cause a noticeable stain.

Like Santa’s sleigh blasting through the sky, you, too, can zoom your way from underneath the kitchen sink to the source of the stain in the blink of an eye. The vinegar, ammonia, or lemon-based cleaners can stay in the cabinet, as they may contain the very acids that are working to penetrate your countertops. Warm water and mild dish detergent are your best friends in stain scenarios, as well as a soft microfiber cloth for drying.

Dough You See What I See?

Sugar cookies iced with vibrant colors of frosting, gingerbread houses adorned with sticky gumdrops, and peppermint sticks,  crinkle cookies powdered with snow-like sugar…we’ve never met a Christmas cookie we didn’t like! Don’t worry, we’re not about to ruin your holiday by trading cookie dough to the naughty list. In fact, we consider periodic bites an essential part of maintaining sanity while running a kitchen during the holidays.

Rolling out uncooked, uncolored doughs on your granite countertops is generally safe, as the dough is not on the surface long enough to start penetrating the granite surface. Granite is often a friend to cookie dough, as its coolness can help maintain a consistent dough temperature. A cozy kitchen full of simmering pots and bubbling pans, however, can take the heat up a notch. 

One neat trick involves filling a baking sheet with ice and setting it on the countertop for 15-20 minutes before working your dough. In addition to preserving your dough’s cool temperature, it can also protect your countertop!

But The Very Next Day, You Scratched It Away

While dough is a go, cookie cutters with sharp edges are a foe. Natural stones like granite are durable, but not 100% scratch resistant. It is advisable to refrain from slicing, cutting, stamping, or scraping any tool on a granite countertop. Not only can doing so scratch the granite, but it can also dull your knives and other expensive utensils.

Four cutting boards, three protective mats (silicone or wood) and a partridge in a pear tree are excellent items to have around. The former two make it easy to transport your dough from one location to another, while the partridge is totally there for moral support. Stamp snowflakes, candy canes, and jingle bells to your heart’s content on either a silicone or wooden surface, knowing that your granite countertops can rest easy.

Be Prepared for Granite Countertops During the Holidays 

Christmas comes but once a year, and that’s generally how often to schedule your counter sealings. A quick test involves squeezing a few droplets of lemon juice on the counter, waiting a minute, and checking to see if the juice has been absorbed by the granite. If so, it’s likely time to call your countertop experts. If you’re nearing the holiday season, it may be wise to provide a gap of at least one week between a sealing and a holiday gathering. 

Protective barriers, simple cleaning solutions, and annual sealings are generally sufficient protection for granite countertops. Like steadfast tin soldiers, you can keep them in an easily accessible place for the inevitable messes sprinkled through the holidays. Enjoy noshing on your Christmas cookies, making heartfelt toasts, and serving beloved traditional dishes knowing that your granite countertops will continue to bring you and your family good cheer for years to come.

TO LEARN MORE:

To learn more about natural stone, or the Stone Central team, visit our website at StoneCentralSC.com

– Bonni

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