Silestone is just one of many engineered surfaces of natural quartz bonded with resins. Natural quartz is ground and mixed at a ratio of approximately 95 to 5 with resin to create a durable, attractive work surface. Engineered quartz is more resistant to surface damage than traditional laminates and less likely to fracture than quarried granite. While few things stain Silestone, care must be taken when cleaning as permanent damage is possible if the wrong product is used.
While the wide range of colours attract many homeowners to Silestone, the material's bacterial resistance is also astounding--surfaces are 99 per cent bacteria free. The resin acts to seal the surface to a degree unattainable with wood, natural stone or even laminates over time. Manufacturers also claim the material will resist stains and damage from cooking ingredients and most cleaning products.
Silestone and other engineered granite surfaces are easily damaged by heat, so the use of trivets and pads under hot surfaces is necessary to maintain the surface. Exposure to UV lights and direct sunlight will over time cause colour fading. Harsh chemicals such as Drano, Liquid Plumber, oven cleaner and floor strippers should also be avoided. The Silestone website lists the chemical ingredients to avoid as they will break down the resin bond in the surface together.
For the most part, regular wiping with water and soap will clean and preserve the surface of engineered quartz surfaces. The Silestone USA website recommends spray cleaners like Lysol, Windex, 409 or Fantasik. Avoid scouring powders as the polished surface can be dulled with abrasive cleaners. Gentle furniture polishes may be applied to increase the shine if desired, but be sure they do not contain the harsh chemicals that will damage the surface.
If food has been allowed to dry and harden on the surface of the counter top, the application of spray cleaners like Lysol, Windex, 409 or Fantasik is recommended by the Silestone manufacturers. Allow the cleaning product to sit for 10 minutes before wiping away. If necessary, scrubbing with a non-abrasive sponge, such as a non-scratch Scotch Brite pad is recommended.
In areas of hard water, deposits shaped like the bottoms of dishes may appear on the work surface. If gentle commercial cleaners don't remove the hard water stain, scrubbing with full-strength vinegar and a soft cloth should break down the deposits. Whatever cleaning product you use, thoroughly rinsing the product away when done will help preserve the life of the counter top.
It is possible, however, to permanently damage a Silestone surface. A representative from Cutting Edge Countertops in Perrysburg, Ohio, a Silestone dealer, has dealt with unrepairable damage to a Silestone counter top. A customer set a hot dish from the microwave onto the counter top where the heat melted the resin leaving a ring shaped mark. Unfortunately, heat damage like that is permanent.