How To Clean Granite Countertops (Stains, Spills & More)

There’s something about granite that makes a kitchen feel that little bit extra special.

Nothing quite has the same look as a polished slab of granite. Its classic style and longevity have ensured its popularity over the decades, while other trends came and went in a blink.

Granite is durable and is well suited to the demanding tasks of a kitchen environment and if maintained well, the countertops would likely outlast the house they are installed in.

In this article, we show you the 2 best cleaning products you need (you’ve probably already got them) and the 2 things you should avoid to keep your granite countertops looking their best.

how to clean granite countertops

How To Clean Granite Countertops 

What you will need to clean granite countertops and get rid of any stubborn stains:

  • Water
  • A sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Cloth or towel (clean)
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Plastic wrap (optional)
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Razor blade (optional)

Step 1 – Get Everything Off The Countertops

Before you can start cleaning, you need to remove everything from the countertops. This includes appliances and anything else that might be sitting on the granite.

You can put these items on a table for the time being, until the counters are clean and dry.

Once the large items are cleared away, you will need to get rid of the debris on the counters. You can simply use a sponge to wipe crumbs and other dirt off the surface.

Step 2 – Start Scrubbing

As we mentioned previously, you should avoid using anything that’s too harsh on these surfaces. Granite countertops have a sealant covering them to help keep them stain-resistant and shiny.

If you use something that is too harsh, the sealant will begin to weaken. When this happens, the granite can become discolored.

So, avoid using things like lemon, vinegar, Windex, or bleach. 

Instead, you can use a drop or two of soap and some warm water. Use a soft sponge and get a lather. Then, you can start wiping down the granite. Remember not to use the abrasive side of a sponge, or else you will damage the granite.

Clean the countertops in an “S” motion. The soapy water will not negatively impact the granite sealant or dull granite in any way.

If there are any stubborn stains, you might need to put in a little more elbow grease. However, you’d be surprised by how effective a few drops of dish soap and a damp cloth are when it comes to stains!

Step 3 – Getting Rid Of Those Stubborn Stains

Getting Rid Of Those Stubborn Stains

Sometimes scrubbing stubborn stains off won’t work. If this is the case, you might need to whip out the razor blade. As long as you work carefully, you won’t cause any damage to your countertops, so don’t worry!

All you need to do is use the blade to scrape the build-up of dirt away. Try to ensure that the length of the edge of the blade rests on the counter, that way you will have all the control.

When you scrape the build-up off the counter, you can go back in with your sponge. Wipe the area and make sure it’s nice and clean. Tough stains usually don’t stand a chance against this.

Make sure there are no water spots on your granite kitchen countertops. Even a few drops of water can make the surface look dull. This is especially the case when you are using soapy water!

Always make sure to get rid of all the excess moisture and soap residue.

**TIP – If you don’t have a razor blade that you can use for this, you can try using some water and baking soda. All you need to do is create a paste with the two ingredients, and carefully scrub the affected area.

It might take a little longer than a blade, but you should get good results after a few attempts. 

For stains that won’t budge, you can use the same baking soda and water method mentioned above, but cover it with plastic wrap overnight. Wait until the paste dries out before attempting to clean the area again.

When it does finally dry, you can simply wipe the dry paste away with a soft cloth and use warm water to rinse the area. 

Step 4 – Disinfecting

Next, you will need to disinfect your countertops. To do this, you can mix water and isopropyl alcohol at a ratio of 1:1 in a spray bottle. Mixing one cup of water and alcohol should be more than enough to get the job done.

Mix the two, then spray the solution over the counter.

Allow the solution to sit on the granite for around five minutes, then wipe away the moisture using a clean towel. Use the “S” motion to get the job done right. Now your counters are disinfected and almost done!

Step 5 – Adding The Shine

To add the shine back to your granite countertops, you can use a little oil on a cloth. You want to apply the oil in a circular motion. This helps distribute the oil evenly across the surface.

For best results, you’ll want to wait about 30 minutes before applying the oil. Once it has dried, you can buff the surface using a soft polishing pad. Work from the center outward, making sure to rub in a smooth motion. 

Use a damp rag to wipe up any excess oil, and allow the surface-to-air dry completely. That’s pretty much it! The final step is to clean your sink and faucet thoroughly. Use a brush and some hot water to remove any remaining grime.

Now that you’ve finished cleaning your countertops, they should look great for years to come. Be sure to keep them looking new by keeping them clean and well maintained.

How Not To Clean Granite Countertops

There are certain products that you shouldn’t use when trying to clean granite countertops.

For example, try not to use abrasive cleaners on your granite. These products will scratch away at the surface and make it look worse over time.

When choosing a cleaner to use, choose one that’s safe for your granite. Some cleaners contain ammonia or other substances that could damage your countertop.

The easiest way to test whether a cleaner is safe for your granite is to check the ingredients list. If you see anything containing ammonia, then avoid it.

To clean granite countertops, you should use soft materials like cloths instead of brushes. Brushes tend to scratch the surface of the granite, which can lead to more cracks.

Use a gentle sponge, and don’t use abrasive pads. When using a sponge, make sure that it’s clean first. Once you’ve cleaned off any dirt that may have built up, scrub the whole surface of the countertop, gently but thoroughly.

Wipe away excess water immediately after washing your granite. Do not allow the water to sit on top of the countertop, either. This could cause the granite to discolor and gradually become less attractive.

The Definite Don’ts

Never use acidic products, like vinegar or lemon, as they will corrode the lovely surface. 

You don’t want to use harsh chemicals like bleach, either. Bleach has been known to damage certain types of granite. It could even cause discoloration or oxidation.

Also, using harsh cleaners could cause staining on your countertop. If this happens, you’ll probably have to strip off the offending stain before attempting to polish your countertop.

Another common mistake made when cleaning granite is the use of hard brushes. Hard scrubbing brushes are designed to be used on softer materials, such as wood floors.

They can easily scratch your granite counters, causing unsightly marks. Try using a soft cloth instead.

Where You Might Go Wrong 

Many people make the mistake of using the wrong ingredients and products when it comes to granite.

You might think that vinegar is a great idea since it’s used in so many other DIY cleaning products, but it may cause damage.

If you don’t want to use mild dish soap, you can clean the granite surface with a special granite cleaner. Strong acidic substances will do terrible things to your granite!

When it comes to cleaning a granite countertop, or any granite surface, it’s important to use a clean microfiber cloth. A clean cloth, especially microfiber cloths, do an excellent job in keeping your granite countertop looking its best. 

Final Thoughts

Granite countertops require that special granite countertop maintenance, but it’s all worth it. By taking care of your stunning surfaces, they will serve you for many years to come.

It’s essential to remember to use simple, non-acidic ingredients when it comes to cleaning, and use soft materials for cleaning. A damp cloth and baking soda paste should be enough to get rid of all types of stains. 

Using lemon juice will only lead to chemical damage, and an abrasive scrubber will damage the granite sealer. Avoid any acidic cleaners, even if you are desperate to remove stains from granite. It pays off to have a little patience. 

If you are planning on deep cleaning your kitchen, take care to treat your granite slab well! If you take care of it, it will, in turn, take care of you. Good luck with your daily cleaning! 

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