Clean bench-top

How to clean your Stone bench-tops (Uniquartz, Silestone, CeasarStone, Granite)

We all want to keep our beautiful bench-tops in great condition but what is the best way to clean these and keep them looking brand new? Don’t be sucked in to buying hundreds of cleaning detergents – most of these have nasty chemicals in them that can cause more harm than good. We have easy, affordable ways for each different type of stone to suit your needs.


Caring For Your Uniquartz Benchtop

Uniquartz surfaces are virtually maintenance-free.  There is no need for polishing, sealing or reconditioning.  Light dusting followed by cleaning with warm soapy water is enough to restore the shine to the bench-tops.  However, make sure not to use any abrasives or harsh chemicals on the bench-tops.


Caring for your CaesarStone Benchtop

To clean CaesarStone, we recommend using warm water and a mild detergent or quality spray and wipe type cleaner.  Virtually maintenance free, CaesarStone’s hard, non-porous surfaces require no sealing to renew the luster and are simple to clean.  In most cases, soap and water or a mild detergent is enough to keep your CaesarStone countertop looking like new.  If necessary, use a non-abrasive soft soap along with a Norwex microfiber cloth.  Afterwards, thoroughly rinse with clean water to remove residue.


For stubborn stains or dried spills, apply a non-abrasive household cleaner and rinse to remove residue.  To remove adhered material such as food, gum, nail polish or even dried paint, first scrape away excess material with a plastic putty knife and then use a damp cloth to remove any marks or residual dirt.

Like all stone material, Caesarstone can be damaged by sudden and rapid temperature changes.  Therefore, we suggest that hot pots and pans never be directly placed on the surface.  We also recommend a rubber pot mat which you can purchase from Kmart or a trivet which can also be purchased from Kmart, be placed on the surface under cooking units such as electric frying pans, crock pots, or roaster ovens.

Caesarstone is highly scratch resistant, however avoid abuse of the surface by refraining from using sharp objects such as sharp knives or screw drivers directly onto the surface.

It’s important to be aware that like any other surface, Caesarstone can be permanently damaged if exposed to strong chemicals and solvents that can damage its physical properties.  Never clean your CaesarStone surface with products that contain Trichloroethane or Methylene chloride, such as paint removers or strippers.  Avoid the use of highly aggressive cleaning agents such as oven/grill cleaners and dishwasher polishing agents that have high alkaline/pH levels (pH 8.5 or higher).  Products containing oils or powders may leave a residue and should be rinsed off thoroughly.  Should your surface accidentally be exposed to any of these damaging products, rinse immediately with clean water to neutralize the effect.


Caring for your Silestone Benchtop

it is recommended that you wipe up food and liquid spills as soon as possible.  For everyday routine cleaning, you can use warm soapy water (containing a mild detergent) and a damp cloth.

Before the use of any cleaning product outside of the above option, please check that the product does not contain trichloroethane, methylene chloride or high levels of alkaline/pH.  Should the surface be accidentally exposed to any of these damaging products, rinse immediately with water to neutralize the effect.

We do not recommend placing hot pots, pans, and oven trays directly from the hotplate or out of an oven onto the surface.  We always recommend the use of a rubber pot mat or trivet to place hot items onto.  Prolonged direct contact with, or radiated heat, from very hot pots can cause thermal shock, discoloration or damage.

Engineered Stone, like all stone, is like glass.  And like a glass table top, if you hit the edge with something hard with enough force, you can damage the edge.  So, take care around the sink when washing cast iron pans etc.  Also take care loading and unloading the dishwasher.  If an accident occurs, it can be repaired by a trained technician.  The repair will be just that, not a complete fix meaning that you may notice the repair.


Caring For Your Granite Benchtops

The most important facet of understanding your granite bench-tops is that it’s a porous material.  Any natural stone has the characteristics and must be understood to ensure the beauty of the stone.  Porous simply means it can be penetrated by water, oils, grease, and chemicals.  Your bench-top will be coated with a non-toxic sealer upon installation, to resist all types of stains.  You ideally should be getting it resealed every 12-18 months in which your general hardware shop should have a spray on one that you can easily do yourself.

It is important to clean all spills and keep unwrapped foods from being on the tops for extended periods of time as the oils and minerals can eventually work thought the sealer and can stain your top.  Under normal conditions this is never a problem.  An example of a potential problem would be to leave for a holiday with a grease spot on the granite surface.

The best aspect of granite is the resistance it has too heat.  You have the freedom to take hot dishes directly out of the oven and place it on the granite without fear of damaging your bench-tops.

Regular Maintenance & Cleaning

If your granite darkens when it is wet, do not be alarmed.  It will return to its original colour when the water evaporates.  The safest way to clean your granite tops is to use products designed specifically for stone.  Cleaners and disinfectants of this type are neutral on the acid scale, so they pose no risk of hurting the polish.  Dish-washing liquid and water will work to clean your tops, as will spray on cleaners such as window cleaners.  Avoid anything that contains bleach or any wipe or cleaners that have grit in them.  If you want to avoid water streaking while cleaning, you must wipe your tops until they are completely dry.  If lime build up occurs around your faucet do not use lime removal products.  Gently scraping the lime off with a straight razor is the best solution.

Avoiding Scratches

Granite is a quartz based and can therefore be scratched by quartz or anything harder.  Knives will not scratch granite, although cutting on your bench-tops is not recommended as your knives will dull very quickly.  Diamonds will scratch granite – removal of diamond rings before cooking is recommended.  Certain stoneware dishes contain rough silica sand and pose a risk of scratching.  Some pizza-stones will scratch granite if they are spun around while cutting the pizza.

Avoiding Chips

Chips in granite are not a common occurrence.  When they do happen, chips are most often caused by banging something into the edge of the bench-top.  Heavy pots and pans and the bottoms of large bottles do most of the damage.  Take care when you handle them around your granite.  If a chip does occur and you find the piece that chipped out, save it.  Most of the time it can be epoxied back into place.


Do’s and Don’ts for Granite:

  • Do clean surfaces with mild detergent, stone soap or specialty cleaner, with a soft clean cloth.
  • Do rinse surfaces thoroughly after cleaning them dry, with a soft clean cloth.
  • Do blot up spills with a paper towel immediately.
  • Don’t use vinegar, lemon or other cleaners such as bathroom, grout or tile, and tub cleaners.
  • Don’t use cleaners containing abrasives.—matte-black/1124400 – Trivets



How to ace selling your home

When it comes to selling your home, a hundred aspects run through your mind like “what do potential buyers actually look at, what is the focal point in my home etc” the kitchen gets the most attention and comments from potential buyers. It’s often the room that is easiest to fall in love…and the one that is easiest to hate. I have a few pointers on how to make these clients fall in love with your sale.


Embrace Grey and White,

To create a kitchen that sells, ditch the complicated and risky colour trends that out-date in few months to come, go for the simplicity and elegance associated with Greys and Whites, Simplicity is an increasingly popular design trend when it comes to kitchens, and should be reflected in the colours you would ideally use when preparing your home for selling.

Why white? Well, simple – white is associated with the clean, bright and crisp illusion. This is also a very versatile colour your potential buyer would be able to alter their personal style with, white gives many opportunities to decorate the kitchen with a pop of colour on appliances or cutlery and storage containers etc.

Okay, so why Grey then? So Grey on the other hand can be portrayed as a very calming and charming colour, it is a very common colour to use if you want to create a warm welcoming environment and comfortable feeling (making those buyers feel at home already!)


Focus on utility,

Buyers don’t just want a kitchen that’s pleasing to the eye – they want a kitchen that functions properly as well. When you’re selling your home, you need to find a good balance between aesthetic design and actual function. Thankfully, there are a lot of creative techniques that you can work into different parts of a kitchen that promote function without degrading the overall personality of a kitchen.

Examples of techniques that promote functional kitchen design include:

  • Built-in storage racks in pantries.
  • Deep drawers to hold more pots/pans/plates/bowels etc, so these are all tidily tucked away.
  • Mini centre islands on wheels that can be moved around various areas of the kitchen based on need (next to the sink, next to guests, off to the side and out of the way).
  • Pull-out bins disguised as a drawer (saves more room than having a free-standing rubbish bin in the way!)


“A great-looking kitchen will draw attention. A great-looking kitchen that also has great function will be unforgettable.”


Create more space,

We all dream of a big kitchen to make our time using it a breeze – highlight the space you have as best you can, there are many techniques best suited to your spacing (read our blog kitchen layouts to identify yours now!) small kitchen space? you can still create the illusion of space and open the room by exposing shelves and cupboards, rather than keeping storage items, plates, and bowls hidden behind suffocating doors, consider replacing your traditional cupboards with open-concept ones. At first thought, you might think that this small change would make a kitchen look messy or cluttered—but it can lend to the warmth and character of a kitchen.


Make a focal point,

I know these tips are guiding you to be simple but having a good focal point can be very mesmerizing like a patterned bench-top or unique lighting to enhance aspects of the kitchen. You can even just spice it up with having funky coloured appliances like your jug or oven! The options are endless, but this gives the view that this kitchen is versatile and again, can be adapted to any taste/style.


Use quality appliances,

Everyone wants to feel like their living in luxury and who wouldn’t want to feel like a top chef?  A lot of buyers are viewing what appliances are in the current design as these appliances are always being updated to the latest gadgets – having a high-quality oven can make this a baker’s paradise, they’ll leave wishing and waiting to bake up a storm using this kitchen! it also adds value to your home and will be one less thing for potential buyers to renovate or upgrade.


Winter’s Beef Casserole

Don’t just warm your tummy – warm your soul as well! this recipe is a MUST for these winter chills.

  • 600g chuck or gravy beef.
  • 1x onion, sliced.
  • 2x medium carrots, sliced thinly.
  • 2x Tbsp plain flour.
  • 3x cups beef/vegetable stock.
  • 1x tsp Worcestershire sauce.
  • 1x Tbsp soy sauce.
  • 1 Tbsp thyme.
  • 2x bay leaves.
  • 2x tsp garlic.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut beef into cubes/strips.

Season with salt and pepper, add about 2 tablespoons of oil and mix well.

Heat a large fry pan over a medium-high heat. Brown the beef in batches then place in a casserole dish.

Reduce heat in pan, and sauté the onion and carrot in butter. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle in flour and stir until the vegetables are coated.

Gradually pour in stock, stirring well. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Pour into a casserole dish, cover then place in oven and cook until the beef is tender. Stir every 40 minutes or so, adding water if needed to keep the ingredients just covered. (Roughly cooking time is 2hrs and 30mins but will depend on different types of ovens and temperatures)

Smart tip: This casserole can be cooked on a stove top or slow cooker.

Stove top method: Place the browned beef and other ingredients in a heavy-based pot. Partially cover, keep the heat low. Simmer until the meat is very tender. Stir occasionally, adding water if needed to keep ingredients just covered.

Slow cooker: Place the browned beef with other ingredients into the slow cooker and place onto low for 6 hours or until the meat is tender. Depending on size and cut this can take up to 8 hours.