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Granite Countertops: Cleaning and Maintenance Guide

Granite is one of the most widely used natural stones for kitchen countertops. It does a fantastic job of naturally resisting stains and heat, making it an ideal surface for even the busiest of kitchens. That being said, granite countertops do require some cleaning and maintenance as they are a porous material. You must also remember that lighter granite surfaces require a little more cleaning care and maintenance than darker shades of granite.

Below, you will learn several key tips that will have your granite countertop looking brand spanking new, for several years or even decades to come!

How to deep clean granite countertops?

Keeping your granite countertops clean and pristine looking is a fairly easy process, if you follow the steps mentioned below. It is sufficient to carry out this recommended cleaning just once a week once every two weeks, as long as you generally wipe down your countertop every day.

Clear your countertop – First things first, remove all items placed on your granite countertop. This includes large appliances like mixers, blenders or food processors that you normally don’t move. This is important because areas under these large appliances can sometimes collect dirt and debris that can look very different from other areas on your countertop, when you do decide to move them

Clear loose debris – With a dry and soft sponge, gently push away all loose debris that has accumulated on your granite countertop

Warm dish soap + water + soft towel/sponge – Use warm water with a mild dish detergent to gently clean your granite countertops, one small area at a time.

soap and water to clean a granite countertop

It’s important to remember that you must not muscle your way into this cleaning. Gentle scrubbing is more than enough. To tackle stains that won’t come away easily, you can follow additional cleaning tips mentioned below

Tackling tough stains – For stubborn stains, use one of the following appropriate methods;

Hardened debris – Food or organic matter that has hardened over time can be easily scraped away from a granite countertop. Use a razor blade at a 45° angle to gently dislodge the matter. Follow it up with a quick towel and dish soap scrub. Granite is quite scratch resistant but you must still use a razor blade gently and only at the advised angle, to avoid any scratches

Stubborn stains – For stains that won’t go away with gentle scrubbing, create a paste using baking soda and water. Apply this paste on the stained area of the granite and wait for between 5 and 30 minutes. Then, use a wet towel to wipe away the paste. It is important that you do not scrub away at this paste that you have applied on your granite.

If the paste has hardened and won’t come off with a towel wipe, you can use the flat end of a soft silicone or plastic spatula to gently scrape away the hardened paste. Then, follow it up with a soap and towel wipe.

Really stubborn stains – If a stain won’t come off even with the above described soak and clean method with baking soda and water, you can simply try it again. But this time, let the paste sit on the stain for 24 to even 48 hours! Once you have applied the paste, cover it with a plastic wrap like cling-wrap. Then, use tape to hold down this plastic wrap smothering the paste over the stained area of your granite. Poke a few holes to ventilate this patch. After 24 or 48 hours, gently scrape or wipe away the paste as mentioned above. Having such really stubborn stains could mean that your granite could use a coating of sealant. More on that later in this post.

Disinfecting your granite countertop – This is an optional step. To disinfect your countertop, use a 50-50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water. Use a spray bottle to mist the entire surface of your granite countertop. Leave for about 5 minutes and then towel wipe and dry.

Adding shine – A neat little trick to make your granite countertop really shine is to use any cooking oil to buff it. The key is to use very little. Apply a few drops on a fresh and dry soft microfiber towel and buff it into your granite, one small area at a time. Reapply oil as and when your towel runs dry. The very light oil coating will not only give your granite countertops a brilliant shine, but also further protect it against stains. Use very little oil. If your countertop is oily or slippery to the touch after this buffing, you have used too much oil.

Common Granite Countertop Cleaning and Maintenance Errors

Sometimes, it helps more to know what not to do than what to do. This especially applies to how you care for your granite countertops.

Granite countertop cleaning and maintenance DONT’S

  1. Do not use steel scrubbers or steel wool scrubbers. Resist the urge to scrub away stains with these scrubbers. They will leave scratches on your precious countertop!
  2. Do not use popular homemade cleaners like vinegar, lime etc. Homemade cleaning solutions are usually great as they are organic. But, when it comes to granite, vinegar, lime, lemon or citrus cleaning solutions are all a no-no. They all contain citric acids that can cause your granite to etch and look damaged. These acidic cleaning solutions also strip away the sealant on your granite countertop, making it susceptible to more staining
  3. Do not use ammonia based cleaners like Windex, Lysol and others – This is another common error. Besides potentially damaging your granite countertops by etching it, such cleaning solutions will also leave chemical residues that can mix with food you prepare and consume off your granite countertops
  4. Do not use bleach
  5. Do not use disinfecting wipes. It’s very convenient to use disinfecting wipes to quickly disinfect your granite countertop. But, most disinfectant wipes contain citric acid that will harm your granite, especially when you use them regularly!
  6. Do not use your granite countertop as a cutting board!

General Granite Countertop Maintenance Tips

  1. Clean up spills with a towel or sponge as and when they happen
  2. Blot up spills instead of wiping and spreading the stain on your granite countertop
  3. Use coasters
  4. Use trivets to avoid letting hot containers come in contact with your granite countertop
  5. Avoid storing containers like oil containers that are prone to leaks and drips onto your stone countertop

Sealing Your Granite Countertop

Depending on the type of granite you have chosen and how often you use your granite countertops, it might be required for you to seal your countertop every 6 months to two years. Sealing protects your granite against staining.

How do I know when my kitchen countertop requires sealing?

Take a little water and pour it onto your granite countertops. After 5 minutes, check to see if the water remains beaded or pooled on top of your granite countertops, like when you first poured it. If it stays beaded, your countertop is still sealed. If however the water has partially or fully sunk in, it is time for a sealing.

How to seal a granite countertop?

Buy any quality brand of granite sealer. Every manufacturer’s instructions will vary slightly. But, the steps below are usually what is recommended to properly seal a granite countertop.

  1. Clean and dry your granite countertop
  2. Spray the sealant and let it sit for 3-5 minutes
  3. Spray the sealant a second time and let it sit for another 30 minutes
  4. Use a fresh and soft microfiber towel to wipe off excess sealant that remains
  5. Your granite countertop sealing is done!