Granite countertops are a timeless feature in many homes. Trending since the early 2000s, many homeowners opt for granite because the natural stone is more than pleasing to the eye. It’s stain and bacteria-resistant, too. That said, to keep your granite countertops in good condition for years to come, you’ll need to follow a specific cleaning and care routine.
Let’s look at how to clean granite countertops properly:
Make sure the countertop is sealed. If your granite countertop isn’t sealed, or the sealant is wearing off, that should be your priority. Granite is a naturally porous stone. The sealant stops food particles and liquids from seeping into the stone itself. How can you tell when it’s time to seal your granite countertop again? If you notice water no longer beads up or that it is harder to wipe up spills, don’t wait longer than you have to. For ultimate longevity, have your countertops sealed every two to four years. You can do it yourself if you’re confident, but many people opt to call in professionals. After your granite countertops are properly sealed, you’re good to clean them. Clean them every day for the best results.
Avoid harsh cleansers. Chemicals, acidic cleaners, and abrasive cleaning tools spell disaster for your granite. Opt for warm water with mild dishwashing liquid and a clean microfiber cloth. Though vinegar is a great cleaning product, it’s not something to use on your granite countertops. It can weaken the sealant and ultimately dull your granite. Abrasive sponges, steel wool, etc. can scratch your countertops.
Clean spills as soon as possible. Even though granite isn’t as porous as marble, it can still soak up oils and stains. Wipe any stains immediately with a soft cloth to prevent them from seeping into the stone.
Use gentle dish soap with warm water to clean. Wet a cloth with warm water and apply a few drops of your favorite mild dish soap. Wipe the entire surface once. Run the cloth through fresh water and wring it out periodically to help prevent the spreading of grease, food, and other contaminants. Once you’re done with the soap, rinse the cloth. Wipe down with fresh water to remove soap residue.
Dry your countertop. When you’ve finished cleaning stained granite countertops now it’s time to rinse and wipe. Use a clean and soft microfiber cloth to dry them. If you don’t, you may end up with water spots.
Consider special granite cleaners. When you’re in the cleaning products aisle of your favorite big-box retailer, you’ll find products specifically labeled for cleaning granite countertops. While these are useful, they’re not required. Mild soap and water work just as well.
Or, make your own granite countertop homemade stain remover. If you want something quicker than soap and water, make your own DIY stain remover! Use a mixture of 50% water and 50% isopropyl alcohol, aka rubbing alcohol. Scent it with about 20 drops of your favorite (non-citrus) essential oil. Good options include tea tree, lavender, rosemary, or eucalyptus. Keep it in a spray bottle so you can spray it on the counter whenever you want to disinfect granite kitchen countertops.
Removing Stains from Granite
Cleaning your granite countertops every day is enough to keep things looking great. But sometimes, you may find that a spill created a stain.
Baking soda paste is the best granite stain remover. It’s a safe and natural way to remove stains while protecting the stone.
If the stain is oil-based: Mix the baking soda with water.
If the stain is water-based: Mix the baking soda with hydrogen peroxide.
If the stain is organic (food): Mix the baking soda with hydrogen peroxide.
Generously apply the paste over the stain. Scrub the counter gently with a soft cloth. Rinse. Repeat if needed.
If you’re dealing with a tough stain and repeated scrubbing doesn’t remove it, apply the baking soda paste. Cover the area with a piece of plastic wrap and tape down the edges. Leave the paste in place at least overnight, though a few days is okay, too. Then rinse and wipe down with a soft cloth. Hopefully, the stain disappears.
What’s Safe to Use on Granite Countertops?
Mild dish soap like Dawn and Ivory (make sure you use a scent that doesn’t contain citrus extracts), Castile soap: a natural alternative to dish soap, Warm water, Hydrogen peroxide (This is slightly acidic, so you want to use it sparingly for spot cleaning. Organic stains usually respond to peroxide when other methods fail), baking soda, isopropyl alcohol, and soft cloths like microfiber.
What Should I Avoid on My Granite Countertop?
Unfortunately, many DIY cleaners and common household cleaners aren’t suitable, including vinegar, lemon juice, citric acid, Lysol, Windex, ammonia, and bleach.