Countertop Care and Maintenance Part 4

DuPont Zodiaq® quartz surfaces are very easy to maintain. The quartz used in Zodiaq® – coupled with high-performance, stain-resistant polymers – results in a durable, nonporous, chemical-resistant surface. Zodiaq® is also heat- and scratch-resistant, but not heat- and scratch-proof. Therefore, the use of a cutting board is recommended when using a knife. Of course, Zodiaq® keeps its lustrous gloss and ultra-smooth surface without polishing. Because it is nonporous, Zodiaq® does not require sealants or waxes. Zodiaq® also gives you peace of mind. In the unlikely event that you do experience any problems due to a manufacturer’s defect, you can rest assured that DuPont backs Zodiaq® with a 10-year limited warranty.


Routine Care

With simple care, Zodiaq® will retain its radiant, lustrous appearance for many years. For routine cleaning, use a damp cloth or paper towel and, if necessary, a small amount of non-bleach, non abrasive cleanser. Even though Zodiaq® resists permanent staining when exposed to liquids (such as wine, vinegar, tea, lemon juice and soda) or fruits and vegetables, wipe up food and liquid spills as soon as possible. For stubborn or dried spills, use a non abrasive cleaning pad such as a white 3M Scotch-Brite® scrub pad coupled with Formula 409® Glass & Surface Cleaner or a comparable cleaning product. Avoid using cleansers that contain bleach. Always follow the cleaner manufacturer’s use instructions and exercise proper care when handling and storing any cleaning products.


Preventing Heat and Other Damage

Zodiaq® can withstand exposure to normal cooking temperatures from pots, pans and dishes without being damaged. To maintain the beauty of Zodiaq®, do not place hot skillets or roasting pans directly onto the surface. DuPont recommends the use of trivets and hot pads.


Removing Difficult Spills

Sometimes spills occur and dry on the countertop. For materials that harden as they dry (such as gum, food, grease, nail polish or paint), remove by gently scraping away the excess with a plastic putty knife. Permanent markers and inks may adhere to the surface and should be avoided. Should these agents come into contact with the surface, clean first as outlined in Routine Care. If the stain persists, moisten a cloth with Saniten 313, Greased Lightning™, or a comparable product and rub it into the stain. Let the cleaning agent sit for 15 minutes and wipe the surface clean with a cotton cloth. Rinse thoroughly to remove any cleaner residue. Avoid exposing Zodiaq® quartz surfaces to strong chemicals and solvents; especially paint removers or furniture strippers containing trichlorethane or methylene chloride. Keep nail polish remover, bleach, bluing, permanent markers or inks, and oil soaps away from Zodiaq®. While casual exposure to alkaline materials will not damage Zodiaq®, highly alkaline (high-pH) cleansers are not recommended when cleaning Zodiaq®. If any of the substances listed above come into Zodiaq®, rinse the exposed surface immediately and thoroughly with water.

Exterior Care and Maintenance Part 4

Spring is the best time to think about pressure washing your deck.  It is best to get to it before your shrubs and blooming plants are big enough to be susceptible to water and bleach and big feet.  Pressure washing and staining your deck is an easy and inexpensive way to bring new life to an area of your home that can be enjoyed so much this time of year. Pressure washing will remove unsightly mildew and bring the wood color back to a neglected deck. Treating it with a quality stain will protect it from sun and harsh weather. Deck treatment will seal the wood and keep it from “checking”, fading and deteriorating. And, it will make it look great! 


Deck Health Check 


Check for loose boards or rotted wood. Replace any damaged wood that you find and nail down any loose boards. Make sure your deck is strong and sturdy and that the support posts are in good condition. Depending on the age of the deck, this should be done once a year prior to pressure washing.  


Pressure Washing 


The first step in caring for your deck is to pressure wash it on a regular basis. Once a year is usually sufficient if the deck is treated. If your deck is susceptible to tree residue and/or mold, you may want to do it more often. When pressure washing be careful not to apply too much force as it may damage the wood. 


Staining Your Deck 


The next step in caring for your deck is to apply a coat of top quality deck stain. Cabot Stains are an excellent choice as they hold up well and go on easily. Read the directions on the can and follow them carefully. In most cases your deck will need to be clean and dry when applying the stain. It is also often recommended that only one coat be applied. A coat of quality deck stain will allow the water to bead when it rains and protect the wood from excess moisture and sun.

Countertop Care and Maintenance Part 3

Routine care for most of today’s laminates is very basic.  Everyday cleaning is as quick as a wipe with a damp sponge.  Simply washing your countertops with warm water and dishwashing liquid will keep them looking and feeling new.  Rinsing and drying them will help eliminate any streaks that you may observe, as well as eliminate the chance for any type of residue to build up from the cleaning products.  Ammoniated cleaners work best for cutting through areas that have grease build-up. 

For areas that may be spotted or stained, try using an all-purpose cleaner or bathroom cleaner; be sure to rinse and dry.  

AVOID ACIDS, BLEACH OR ABRASIVE CLEANING PRODUCTS, which may discolor or scratch and permanently damage your countertop surface. 

FOR STUBBORN STAINS, use a general purpose cleaner and a soft, short bristle nylon brush or a mildly abrasive, milky paste made of baking soda and water.  Simply dab a damp, soft cloth in the mixture and wipe using gentle circular motions, pressing lightly on the area affected.  Again, be sure to rinse and dry the laminate. 

Persistent stains can also sometimes be removed with a solvent, such as lacquer thinner, fingernail polish remover, or denatured alcohol—do not let these products stand on the laminate for more than a few minutes.  Be sure to rinse them off and dry the tops.   



Avoid abrasive cleaners and scouring pads.  Never use abrasives on gloss finish.  Never allow products such as oven cleaners or products containing lye (such as drain cleaners) to come into contact with laminate.  If they should accidentally be spilled, wipe up immediately and flush several times with water. 

Chips and scratches are permanent.  Always use a cutting board when slicing or chopping.  Refrain from sliding dishes, keys, crockery, stoneware, or items with rough bottoms across the countertops to reduce wear and tear.  Surface scratches mar the appearance of the laminates and also reduce their stain resistance.  


HEAT AND MOISTURE CAN BE VERY DAMAGING TO LAMINATE COUNTERTOPS: do not let water stand on or near seams.  Do not dry your dishes on a towel over a seam.  Quickly wipe water up that has spilled.  The substrate for the laminate tops is made from particle board.  This material will absorb water that seeps in through the miter or joint and swell, causing the countertop to buckle or delaminate. 

Never place cookware directly from the oven/stovetop onto the laminate.  Extreme heat can cause burning, blistering, and delaminating.  Always use a trivet under cookware and under any heat-producing appliances and keep such items away from seams as well.  

Exterior Care and Maintenance Part 3

Cedar is a durable and resilient wood that can withstand a lot of wear and tear brought on by the weather elements. A cedar fence provides beauty and privacy to the exterior of any home. Cedar fences are low-maintenance, although specific care is required to keep the fence in good condition. Cleaning and general maintenance is necessary to preserve cedar wood fences. If cared for properly, a cedar fence will remain attractive and structurally sound for many years to come. 


Water Damage 

Apply a waterproofing sealer to the cedar fence to protect the wood from splintering, cracking and warping due to the weather elements. Brush on two thin coats of waterproofing sealer using a paint brush. Allow the sealer to dry in between coats. Seal your cedar fence every three to five years.

Avoid letting excessive amounts of water hit the fence. Preventing rainwater from getting on the fence is impractical. Do not place sprinklers where the water stream hits the fence, even after applying a sealer.


Keep bushes and vines from growing up the fence. Planting landscaping around the perimeter of the fence is fine. Cut down weeds and vines that may begin to grow on the surface of the fence.


Clean your cedar fence at least once every year. Combine 3 qts. warm water, 1 qt. oxygen bleach and ¼ cup non-ammonia dish soap into a garden sprayer. Saturate the fence with the cleaning solution. Allow it to set on the fence for about 10 minutes. Scrub any tough stains from the fence with a scrub brush. Rinse the fence clean with plain water from a garden hose.

Remove mold and mildew stains promptly. Mold and mildew will eat away at the wood if left untreated. Mix a solution of 4 oz. oxygen bleach and 1 gallon of hot water into a bucket. Scrub the mold and mildew from the fence with the cleaning solution and a stiff scrub brush. Rinse the fence with plain water.