How to Remove Stains from Granite Countertops

  • August 27, 2019
  • / By Dale Keese
Double Sink

Since the past two decades or so, granite has been a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops because of how easy it is to maintain and its simplicity. If the granite is well taken care of, it will last you for years without having to worry much about its upkeep.

Double Sink

Though expensive, granite is a great addition to your kitchen because it can keep looking as good as it did on the first day it was installed. One of the reasons for this popularity is that granite is not as porous as other popular countertop materials such as marble and hence does not soak up as many spills, stains or oils. But one thing about granite countertops is that if they are not sealed with a quality granite sealer, they become prone to staining, and the source could be anything from rust, water, chemicals, oil or even ink.

This guide is all about how to remove stains from granite countertops. The first rule of granite care is simple — regular upkeep. You must always mop up spills as soon as they happen because prevention is key with countertops made of materials such as granite.

Stains can happen when granite comes in contact with liquid contaminants or dyes. Once a stain sets in, it can be both puzzling and challenging to remove it. Before you set out to remove it, you have to determine how the stain got there in the first place.

Here is a simple way to find out if what you are seeing is really a stone or damage. In case you are still unable to determine what it is, you should always consult a specialist.

  • Check carefully, is it really a stain? Or is it something which will actually take repair to the surface?
  • Has there been a change in the natural chemical makeup of the countertop?
  • Do you observe rings on the countertop that won’t go no matter how hard you try?

Is it a Stain?

  • Do these marks go away with a simple application of a cleaning agent?
  • Do they go away with a simple scrub of a wet cloth or clean rag?

But some stains can be a little stubborn and may not go away with the simple application of some water and a clean rag. And just for that purpose, we have for you this little guide of how to remove stains from granite countertops. Let us start with the most common type of stain — water.

Olive Oil

Removing Water Stains

This is the most common type of stain and can be prevented entirely by wiping away excess water as soon as there is spillage using a clean rag or sponge. If by some chance, you have forgotten to do so, the water will be absorbed in the granite and will appear as a stain. But fret not, most of this will disappear as the water evaporates. But you can actually prevent this entirely by using a high-quality sealer.

Removing Organic Stains

Organic stains can occur because of these — paper, fruit, coffee, food, urine, leaves or tobacco. These materials can leave a brownish-pink stain that is quite ugly but is really easy to remove using a few simple steps.

  1. 1
    Take a cotton pad and saturate it with some hydrogen peroxide. Squeeze out the excess chemical, but leave the pad wet (without dripping).
  2. 2
    If you have a really dark-colored stone, it is always better to first test this on a very small area of the countertop. You don’t want to lighten its color.
  3. 3
    Apply the pad to the affected area. Now keeping it in place, seal it in place with some plastic tape, and leave it on for at least 24 hours.
  4. 4
    Watch in wonder as the pad soaks up the stain. If you are not satisfied with the result, you may want to repeat this process once again.

Removing Oil Stains

This usually happens when you leave oil containers unattended on countertops for long periods. As a result, oil is absorbed inside the stone and will need to be chemically removed and may take some doing.

  1. 1
    Take a bit of acetone and soak a cotton pad or a clean rag with it.
  2. 2
    Gently clean the affected area, cover the area surrounding it too for good measure.
  3. 3
    If you do not have acetone, you can easily replace it with gentle liquid cleaning soap.
  4. 4
    After wiping the area clean, let it dry completely.
  5. 5
    Depending on how deep the oil has penetrated, you may be required to do this more than once. Since this is an oil stain we are dealing with, this may take a little doing.
  6. 6
    Be mindful that acetone evaporates rather quickly. Also, keep in mind that some people recommend using nail polish remover as it also contains acetone, but it may have some other chemicals that might react with the surface, so only use pure acetone.
Art Supplies

Removing Super Glue

As tough as it may sound, it is not very difficult to remove these stains. Let’s see how to remove super glue stains from granite countertops.

  1. 1
    Prepare a simple solution of ordinary dishwashing soap and water. Shake well.
  2. 2
    Soak a clean cloth in this solution and lay it on the spilled glue.
  3. 3
    Let this cloth sit on the dried glue for a few hours. If you feel the cloth is drying off too fast, you can re-wet it in the solution. This will soften the glue considerably.
  4. 4
    You can scrub the residual glue away now. If you feel some resistance, you can use a little rubbing alcohol to do this.
  5. 5
    Use another damp cloth to remove the glue completely.

Removing Metal Stains

Metal stains will appear if you have left out metal containers on your countertop and rusting occurs. These stains appear reddish-brown in color (sometimes, they might be green as well) and will be in the shape of the offending container. This will require the same poultice method that we used in the removal of organic stains. Let us see how to remove metal stains from granite countertops. 

  1. 1
    Create a thick paste using ordinary talcum or chalk powder. Use it in equal parts so a thick paste is formed.
  2. 2
    Apply this paste to the affected area. Cover the area entirely with this and only on the affected area.
  3. 3
    Cover this area with a plastic wrap. Tape it down (using adhesive tape) and let it dry for approximately 24 hours.
  4. 4
    Once 24 hours have passed, remove just the plastic tape and wrap, leaving the paste in place. Let this sit on the stain, and allow it to become completely dry. This may take a while.
  5. 5
    Once you are sure this has dried off completely, you will need a scraper (or a blunt object) to scrape the poultice away.
  6. 6
    Remove any remaining material on the surface using a clean cloth.
  7. 7
    Wash the area like you normally would, with clean water and a clean rag and dry it completely.
  8. 8
    This process may take a few more tries (as many as 4-5 tries) before the oil stain is gone completely. Be patient and watch the stain disappear gradually with each application.

Removing Paint Stains

Ordinarily, paint won’t leave lasting stains on your granite surface. If the paint has spilled or dried, it can simply be scraped off using a plastic scraper or by carefully using an object with an edge. You may need a commercial paint stripper if there has been a heavy spill.

In this situation, be careful of what you use; if the product contains lye, there is a chance it may cause some etching. So always read the manufacturer’s notes on the back of the container, and always make sure to clean the area thoroughly afterward with plain water. Make sure you have a few windows open and wear eye and hand protection when doing this.

Making Breakfast

Conclusion

By now you are aware of more than one method on how to remove stains from granite countertops. In the methods that require a poultice, remember that sometimes it may take up to 48 hours for it to dry completely before you start removing it. Also remember that even with regular cleaning, your granite countertop will need resealing, and for that, there are some fantastic products available out there.