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How to Clean Granite Countertops 

 October 13, 2020

By  Dale Keese

In recent years, the use of granite as a material for countertops has become a popular option for kitchens and bathrooms. Since granite is not as porous as marble, it is easy to clean because 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

Granite is quite pricey so you will want to show off the countertops in your kitchen. To keep them looking clean and at its best, knowing how to clean your granite countertop with the right products is very important. If your countertops are always clean and 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 that has well-maintained, clean, and shiny granite countertops.

While granite is quite sturdy and can handle a fair amount of rough use, you should clean your granite countertops carefully and regularly to retain their glossy shine. You must wipe clean all the crumbs and spills from foods and liquids that can stain as soon as they occur and protect the surface from heavy pots and pans that can chip the surface.

Also, after doing a thorough cleaning, the granite countertops should be sealed to make them resistant to stains and easier to clean in the future.

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. But this does not mean that they no longer need cleaning or maintenance.

Kitchen in Light Colors

Remove the Water Spots and Stains

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

If the baking soda paste does not  remove or clean the stain, then you can try sprinkling some corn starch on the stain directly. Cover the area with plastic wrap and let it stay for a few minutes. The corn starch may clean and absorb the remainder of the stain.

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

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

Cleaning the Surface

You can use a solution of warm water and a mild dish detergent cleaner, which does not have any citrus or lemon extracts. 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 clean the countertops with a 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 that you will have to clean again.

Resealing your Countertop

Maintaining granite means you must reapply the granite sealer occasionally and clean with the right granite cleaner regularly. The sealers applied in the factory can last for several years, depending on the wear and tear of the countertop.

You can either ask your manufacturer to check if your countertop needs to be resealed or you can perform the water bead test yourself. To do 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 need to be sealed after you do a thorough cleaning.

There are several types and brands of granite sealers available in the market and they are quite easy to apply and clean.

Buffing and polishing

Buff the surface every day by using a clean and dry microfiber cloth. You can make your countertops really shiny by applying granite polish occasionally after cleaning.

Some Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s

  • Clean up all kinds of spills be it wine, fruit juices, coffee, soda, or tomato sauce. These acidic substances can stain the stones surface so it is important to clean them as soon as possible. Cooking oils can also stain if you do not clean it immediately.
  • Always use a gentle and specially formulated granite cleaner to keep your countertop in top condition and at the same time, this will also protect the sealer. However, for quick cleaning, just hot water will do the trick. While using dish soap will not damage the granite, repeated use of soapy water when cleaning will cause the buildup of scum, which can dull the shine. So, it is best to avoid using dish soap regularly to clean granite surfaces.
  • Make use of coasters under your cans, glasses, and bottles, as this can help to protect your counters and lessen the need for cleaning granite countertops.
  • Avoid placing hot pans right off the stove onto your 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. So, it is a good practice to always use trivets under hot pots and pans.
  • Avoid using your countertop as a cutting board. Not only will the surface get scratched but also 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 cleaners such as glass cleaners, bleach, degreasers, and other household cleaners. These products contain acids and other chemicals that can degrade your granite countertops and the sealer and remove the luster; this will leave the granite more prone to staining and leave you with more cleaning work.
  • Avoid using cleaning products containing vinegar, ammonia, or lemon. Only use cleaners that are recommended by the manufacturer for cleaning granite countertops. The best way to clean the granite is by using a soft cloth and warm water.
  • Avoid cleaning with an abrasive pad. If required, soak the dry or sticky food stains with water or a cleaner that is pH neutral and then wipe clean with a soft cloth. You can also use plastic scrapers to clean and remove dried food from the granite surface.
  • Avoid using tub and tile, bathroom, and grout cleaners because these powders and soft creams contain certain abrasives that can scratch and dull the granite surface while cleaning.
  • While granite may be hard, it is not flexible. They do not have a plywood backing so, if you apply a lot of weight on it, it can crack. Therefore, avoid sitting or standing on your granite countertop.
  • Avoid storing cooking oils, creams, lotions, perfumes, hair, and nail products on the counter 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 clean the surface and then buffing it gently. This not only gives your countertop a lovely shine but also makes it stain-resistant. Take note that even if you know how to maintain granite properly with the right cleaners, you still need to seal the granite countertops periodically. 

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

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