How to Clean Granite Countertops

  • July 29, 2019
  • / By Dale Keese
Supplies for Cleaning

In recent years, the use of granite has become very widespread in kitchen counters and baths. Since granite is not as porous as marble, it is less susceptible to soaking up spills, oils, and stains. Also, granite is quite resistant to bacteria, which is a very important concern, especially for kitchen counters.

Supplies for Cleaning

Since granite is quite pricey and you want to the granite countertops in your kitchen to look the best, the maintenance and care of your granite countertops are very important. If your granite countertops are in great shape, naturally, your kitchen will look newer and more attractive. Your kitchen appliances and cabinets will also look really good in a kitchen having well-maintained and shiny granite countertops.

While granite is quite sturdy and can handle a fair amount of rough use; nevertheless, you must clean your granite countertops carefully and regularly to retain their glossy shine. You must wipe up all the crumbs and spills as they occur and protect the granite from foods which can stain it and heavy pots and pans which can chip it. Also, the granite in countertops must be sealed to make it resistant to stains. Here are some steps of how to clean granite countertops.

Seal the Granite Countertop

Granite is a natural stone and each slab used to make the countertop is unique. Although granite is fairly non-porous, several manufacturers seal the slabs before they are shipped. However, despite this, you must reapply the granite sealer occasionally. The sealers applied in the factory can last for several years, depending on the wear and tear of the granite countertop.

Kitchen in Light Colors

You can either ask your manufacturer to check if your countertop needs to be resealed or you can perform the water bead test. Pour a few drops of water on your granite countertop. If the water beads up, this means that the countertop is fine and does not require sealing. If the stone absorbs the water or it leaves a watermark, then the countertops require to be sealed.

There are several types and brands of sealers available on the market and there are also sealers that can be sprayed on the countertop, which are quite easy to apply.

Remove the Water Spots and Stains

To remove dark spots, rings and oil stains from your granite countertop, you can use a thick paste of baking soda and water. Place this paste over the stain and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 24-48 hours. The baking soda paste can help to absorb the stain from the granite.

If this does not help to remove the stain, then you could try sprinkling some corn starch on the stain directly. Cover this with plastic wrap and let it stay for a few minutes. The corn starch may absorb the remainder of the stain.

You could also use other methods for removing stains such as:

  • A mixture of flour and dish soap
  • A mixture of rubbing alcohol and water (1 part alcohol with 8 parts of water)
  • A mixture of baking soda, water, and some hydrogen peroxide
  • A mixture of baking soda and molding plaster
Microfiber Cloths

Clean the Granite Countertops

Clean the granite countertops with a solution of warm water and a mild dish detergent which does not have any citrus or lemon extracts that are acidic. Using a cleanser that is highly alkaline or acidic can damage the granite and cause it to lose its shine and become very dull.

Wipe the countertops with the solution of soap and water. Once this is done, dry the counters with a soft cloth completely. Do not allow the water to sit for a long time because it will form a water stain.

Buff the Granite Countertops

Buff the granite countertops every day by using a dry microfiber cloth. You can make your countertops really shine by applying granite polish occasionally.

How to Clean Granite Countertops: Some Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s

  • Clean up all kinds of spills be it wine, fruit juices, coffee, soda, and tomato sauce. These acidic substances can stain the surface of your granite countertop. Cooking oils can also stain the granite if you don’t wipe it off immediately.
  • Always use a gentle and specially formulated granite cleaner to keep your countertop in top condition and at the same time, this also protects the sealer. However, for quick clean-ups, just hot water will do the trick. While using dish soap to clean the granite countertop will not damage the granite, repeated use of soapy water will cause the buildup of scum, which can dull the shine of the granite. So, it is best to avoid dish soap regularly to clean the granite countertop.
  • Make use of coasters under your cans, glasses, and bottles, as this can help to protect the granite countertop surface.
  • Avoid placing hot pans right off the stove onto the granite countertop. Although it is rare, the granite may suffer a thermal shock and crack. Also, the grit between the pan and the countertop may scratch the granite. So, it is a good practice to always use trivets under hot pots and pans.
  • Avoid using your granite countertop as a cutting board. Not only will the granite surface get scratched, cutting on the granite can cause the edges of your knives to get dull and damaged.
Bathroom Sink and Vanity

Don’ts

  • Do not use generic cleaning products such as glass cleaners, bleach, degreasers, and other household cleaners to clean your granite countertop because these products contain acids and other chemicals that can degrade your granite countertops and the sealer, remove the luster and will leave the granite more prone to staining.
  • Avoid using cleaning products containing vinegar and ammonia or lemon to clean your granite countertop. Use only products that are recommended by the manufacturer. The best way to clean the granite countertop is by using a soft cloth and warm water.
  • Avoid using an abrasive pad on the granite countertops. If required, soak the dry or sticky food stains with water or a cleanser that is pH neutral and then wipe with a soft cloth. You can also use plastic scrappers to remove dried food from the granite surface.
  • Avoid using tub and tile, bathroom and grout cleaner to clean your granite countertop because these powders and the soft creams contain certain abrasives that can scratch and dull the granite surface.
  • While your granite countertop may be hard, it is not flexible. Also, they don’t have a plywood backing and so, if you apply a lot of weight on it, it can crack. So, avoid sitting or standing on your granite countertop.
  • Avoid storing cooking oils, creams, lotions, perfumes, hair, and nail products on the granite countertop as they could spill or leak and may stain the granite surface.
Oil in Glass Bottle

You can add shine to your granite countertop by adding a few drops of cooking oil on a soft cloth and wiping the countertop and then buffing it gently. This not only gives your granite countertop a lovely shine but also makes it stain resistant. Even if you clean your countertops properly, you must reseal the granite periodically. 

Regular use and wear and tear erode the sealer over time leaving your countertops dull and prone to staining. It is a good idea to have the granite countertops resealed every 2-4 years. Understanding how to clean granite countertops can help to make the sealer last for a long time and will keep your granite countertops beautiful and attractive for years to come.