Here are instructions for how to clean granite countertops, as well as granite countertop care tips for daily care as well as when there are scratches, stains or etching.
Granite countertops have become an increasingly popular choice for both kitchen and bathroom counters in recent years, and it is easy to see why. They look absolutely lovely.
However, granite, as with any stone, requires proper care and maintenance to continue to look as good each day as it did the day it was installed in your home.
Below I've listed the main considerations you should know about when cleaning and caring for granite counters. This will help you decide if you want to install them, if you're currently considering it as an option in your kitchen or bath, or to know what you need to do if you've already got them in place in your home.
Granite is a naturally occurring stone that boasts exceptional durability. Despite its durability most granite counters are covered with a sealer, which helps protect the surface from staining too quickly when something is spilled on them (which frequently can happen on countertops).
Therefore, part of daily care for these counters is to wipe up spills quickly and completely, using a dry cloth.
Be especially careful with acidic foods, to not let them sit for long on the counters. Orange juice, coffee, tomatoes, mustard, and most soda will damage the sealer, and when that sealer is gone these acidic things can also stain or etch the stone itself.
In addition, while a granite surface is itself quite hard, you still need to be careful on a daily basis, to watch for scratches. It is possible to actually scratch the stone (and that will be discussed more below), but most of the scratching that occurs is of the sealer that covers it.
Once this sealer is scratched it can make your granite lose that polished shiny look it had when new.
You should, at least annually, and perhaps more often, test the sealer on your granite countertops to make sure it is still effective.
The test is simple: drip a few drops of water onto the counter. If the water beads up the countertop remains sealed. If, however, it does not, and the water seems to be getting absorbed into the granite it is time to reseal.
Use a granite sealer that is approved for use on natural stone and follow the directions closely. The more you use your counters, for things such as for food preparation and daily use, the more often you'll need to reapply sealer, since both prep and cleaning wear off the sealer.
Here are some available granite sealers:
Countertops are often the work horses of the kitchen or bathroom, so they need to be cleaned frequently.
In fact, here's an article with tips for kitchen countertop cleaning tips, and another for tips for how to clean your bathroom sink and counters. Many of these tips will apply to granite countertops, just as they would to any other counters.
You need to make sure, though, that the products you use for cleaning your granite harm neither the sealer nor the stone underneath, since the wrong cleaning product can severely damage these surfaces.
Do not use abrasive products on your granite, it can scratch both the sealer and if you rub hard enough, it can also scratch the stone underneath.
Further, acidic cleaners, with a low pH, are not safe for use on granite (you can learn more about how the pH of your cleaner affects what it can clean here).
It is important to use a neutral, pH-balanced cleaner for your stone countertops, including granite ones.
If you want to purchase a ready-made cleaning product, make sure to check out these stone cleaner reviews, since these types of cleaners are specifically formulated to be safe on stone and granite.
In addition, here are some available granite cleaners:
If you want to use a homemade granite cleaner I suggest a mixture of mild dish soap and warm water. Make sure the dish soap you choose has no additional added cleaning agents that could make it more acidic or alkaline than normal, plus to avoid streaking use very little soap, and mostly water.
If you've got soap scum buildup on your counters you need to use a pH neutral descaler to remove it (look for soap scum removers specifically formulated to be safe on stone, because many normal soap scum cleaners will be too acidic for use on your granite).
The biggest complaint many people have with granite is that it can stain easily.
Stains occur when something soaks into the stone, which is visible to the naked eye.
Stains are more likely to occur when your sealer has worn down with time or use. Therefore, prevention is key. Make sure you reseal your granite counters as needed, use coasters, and wipe spills up quickly to keep stains from forming.
However, if stains do happen quickly blotting up any additional spill, and then cleaning with your mild stone-safe cleaner may be enough to remove it.
If the stain has soaked in enough though you may need to take additional steps, such as using a poultice (see the article below) or calling a professional.
Make sure if you try any DIY measures for countertop stain removal that you first test in an inconspicuous spot, to confirm you aren't going to harm the granite further.
In addition, after removing deep-seated and stubborn stains you may need to reseal at least that area of the granite counter to prevent further re-staining in the future.
Along with staining you may encounter another type of damage to your counters, called etching. Etching is different than staining. While staining occurs when the stone absorbs something, which discolors it, etching is the process by which acidic solutions react with the calcium carbonate within the stone and damage the surface of the stone itself.
That's why I don't suggest using acidic products for cleaning stone at all. But if etching happens adding more sealer, or a granite polish to the surface, will not fix it. Instead, for large scratches or an etched surface you will need to call a professional to come and re-polish the surface.
Do you have granite counters? If so, I'd love to hear how you take care of yours on a regular basis, so tell me below, in the comments.
In addition, here are even more tips for how to clean anything, in this room-by-room guide on the site.
Hi, I'm Taylor, a busy mom with 3 kids, so I have lots of hands on experience with house cleaning, laundry and my fair share of spots, spills and other messy catastrophes. Thanks for visiting my site.
I update the website all the time with tips, tutorials, cleaning recipes, reviews of products from readers like you, and tests I've done on various cleaners, removers and laundry supplies.
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CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.
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