|Caring For Your Soapstone Countertop|
If a soapstone countertop is chosen for your home, you must be prepared to perform the maintenance that will be required to keep the soapstone countertop looking attractive and new. Soapstone countertops require more maintenance than many other types of countertops, but the beauty of the natural stone that is used to create the countertop is reason enough for the effort to be made. If a soapstone countertop is maintained properly throughout the years, then the countertop can last for the lifetime of the home, which could be 50 years or more.
The most important part of caring for your soapstone countertop is being sure to clean it properly after each use. Because a soapstone countertop is not covered in a protective layer of sealant, it can be vulnerable to damage if not cared for correctly. Abrasive chemical agents and any item that may scratch the surface of the countertop should not be used for cleaning the countertop because they can damage the surface of the countertop by causing scratches to appear on the surface or discoloring the stone permanently.
When cleaning a soapstone countertop, the homeowner should use a simple solution of mild soap and water, which should be applied and removed with a soft sponge. If there is a food item or liquid that has dried to the surface of the countertop that is difficult to remove, the homeowner should saturate the sponge with hot water and lay it over the offending area. The heat and the moisture from the sponge will penetrate the offending spot, adding moisture to the dried spot and making it much easier to remove without having to scrub the surface of the countertop.
In order to maintain the appearance of the soapstone countertop, the countertop will need to be treated with oil several times each year. Mineral oil is the oil most often used for this treatment, but the manufacturer of the countertop may have a different type of oil product that they recommend for the type of countertop that the homeowner has chosen. Treating the countertop with mineral oil several times each year will bring out the natural gleam of the soapstone and will provide a thin layer of protection from foods and liquids that may be harmful to the surface of the countertop.
Treating the surface of the soapstone countertop with oil each year provides another benefit as well. The oil fills in the small porous areas of the soapstone, preventing other liquids and water from settling into these small porous areas and causing the growth of mold and bacteria. If mold begins to grow from within the soapstone, it could cause a permanent discoloration in the stone and the mold growth will be difficult to stop without damaging the surface of the countertop. Making sure that regular maintenance is performed on the soapstone countertop each year will prevent this type of damage from occurring.