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CLEANING GRANITE COUNTERTOPS

Cleaning Granite Countertops InfographicCleaning Granite Countertops Infographic

Most homeowners today, if they had a choice, would choose granite for their countertops, but cleaning granite countertops may pose a challenge for some.

Granite is beautiful, strong, and sturdy. But Buyer Beware! If you wish to protect your investment, you must understand some basic good and bad about maintaining and cleaning granite countertops.

THE GOOD

  • Granite countertops are very resistant to bacteria. A good thing to know, especially when installed in the kitchen.
  • Granite is also very stain-resistant as long as the granite is sealed.
  • You do not need any specialty products for cleaning granite countertops but they won't harm the surface, so go ahead if you must.

THE BAD

  • Granite must be sealed properly to prevent permanent stains.
  • If you have inherited granite countertops in a home you have purchased, check to see if the sealant is still secure by splashing a few drops of water on the surface. Wait a few minutes. If the water beads up, the seal is secure. If the water has soaked into the granite, it is time to reseal. (See below).
  • Granite is very absorbent and can become discolored under standing water. Wipe it down but wring out the cloth thoroughly beforehand.
  • Granite is not as porous as marble but you must clean up spills as soon as possible so they won't have time to penetrate the surface and make permanent stains.
  • Extra care and attention is called for when cleaning granite countertops with various cleaning solutions.
  • You cannot use acids such as full-strength vinegar, window cleaner, bleach or even ammonia-based cleaners when cleaning granite countertops. They will break down the sealant and eat away the surface.
  • Granite scratches easily so DO NOT use abrasive scrubber cleaners. Use soft cotton or microfiber cloths or a soft sponge.

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS
FOR CLEANING GRANITE COUNTERTOPS

  • Best everyday cleaning solution: A mild dish soap diluted with water.
Mild Liquid Dish SoapMild Liquid Dish Soap
  • Best cloth to use: A microfiber cloth is the best cloth to use. It is soft and won't leave a lint residue. Let it soak in the cleaning solution to permeate. Then wring it out to remove excess liquid before cleaning. Use a fresh clean cloth to dry the counter thoroughly if the first cloth gets too wet.
Microfiber ClothsMicrofiber Cloths
  • Remove dried up liquid or sticky residue first: If allowed to dry on the counter, take a hot wet cloth to loosen and remove it before continuing the cleaning.
  • If Disinfection is needed: Use a mixture of half water and half 91% isopropyl alcohol in a spray and mix well.
91% Isopropyl Alcohol91% Isopropyl Alcohol
  • CAUTION: Do not use too much alcohol! It is a strong solvent and can break down sealers. Since it is antiseptic and contains a pH level the same as water, it is okay to use periodically to disinfect, remove soap residue, and restore shine. Spray it on the granite, allow it to sit for 3 to 5 minutes, then rinse with warm, not hot, water. Dry thoroughly.
  • To eliminate any streaks, make sure to completely dry the cleaned surface.
  • To make the granite shine after cleaning:Use Armor All. This handy product is not just for cleaning inside your car. Just spray a small amount onto a microfiber cloth and wipe a thin layer over the counter. Then take a clean cloth and wipe until the granite shines.
Armor AllArmor All
  • For general stain resistance: Use a little bit of cooking oil on a soft microfiber cloth and wipe it on the countertops. Then buff it gently.
Cooking OilCooking Oil

HOW TO REMOVE STAINS FROM GRANITE COUNTERTOPS

  • Baking soda: Always start with a paste of baking soda and water. That is because baking soda is a very effective cleaning agent on granite. Gently scrub the spot with the paste using a soft cloth and then rinse thoroughly with water. This procedure might have to be repeated.
Box of Baking SodaBox of Baking Soda
  • For Water Based Stains: Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 5 tablespoons of a mild liquid dish soap and then enough hydrogen peroxide to make the mixture resemble a smooth thick batter.
Cup MeasureCup Measure
Box of Baking SodaBox of Baking Soda
TablespoonTablespoon
Mild Liquid Dish SoapMild Liquid Dish Soap
Hydrogen PeroxideHydrogen Peroxide
  • For Oil-Based Stains:Mix 1 cup baking soda with 5 tablespoons of a mild liquid dish soap and enough water to make the mixture into a smooth thick batter. Spread the thick paste over the stain and cover it with plastic wrap. Tape down the edges and leave on overnight or for a couple of days before rinsing and wiping down the granite. When it is dry, use a soft cloth to wipe it away and rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Cup MeasureCup Measure
Box of Baking SodaBox of Baking Soda
TablespoonTablespoon
Mild Liquid Dish SoapMild Liquid Dish Soap
Plastic WrapPlastic Wrap
  • Cornstarch:This common baking product can help remove grease stains. Sprinkle it over the area and leave on for about 15 minutes. Then wipe it off with soap and water. If the grease spot has already set and caused a stain, spray the area with water, spread a thick layer of cornstarch over it and leave it on for at least 24 hours before wiping it off. Rinse thoroughly with water and dry thoroughly.
CornstarchCornstarch
  • Iron & Rust Removal: Mix an iron removal product such as Iron Out with flour to make a thick paste. Spread the solution over the rust stains and tape plastic wrap over it for at least 24 hours. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the paste away and then wash with water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.
Iron OutIron Out
Baking FlourBaking Flour
Plastic WrapPlastic Wrap
Soft Bristle BrushSoft Bristle Brush
  • Razor Blades and Fine Steel Wool: Use the razor blade to help scrape off hard water build-ups. Follow with a fine steel wool pad to get rid of any remaining stain.
Single Edge RazorSingle Edge Razor
Fine Steel WoolFine Steel Wool
  • Vinegar: Although full-strength vinegar should not be used for cleaning granite countertops, it can be useful for removing lime stains if used very carefully. Just soak a paper towel in vinegar and place it on the lime deposit. Leave it there for about 20 minutes and then use a single-edge razor to remove the rest of the deposit off the countertop.
Distilled White VinegarDistilled White Vinegar
Paper Towel RollPaper Towel Roll
Single Edge RazorSingle Edge Razor

SEALING YOUR
GRANITE COUNTERTOP

It is best if sealant is applied right after installation. If you are not having good results when trying to remove stains, your sealant may not be functioning properly. In that case, it would be prudent to hire a professional to clean and properly reseal the granite.

SEALING YOUR
GRANITE COUNTERTOP
YOURSELF

If you would like to seal your granite countertops yourself, here is the procedure:

  • Clean the granite thoroughly.
  • Dry the granite thoroughly.
  • Spray the sealant over the entire area. Putting the sealant in a spray bottle may make this job easier and will ensure all areas are covered.
  • Wait 10 to 15 minutes for the sealant to penetrate and do not wipe until then.
  • After 15 minutes, wipe away any excess sealant.
Granite SealerGranite Sealer
Granite Sealer in Spray BottleGranite Sealer in Spray Bottle

IN CONCLUSION:

If you choose granite countertops (or have no choice in the matter), just keep in mind the good and the bad and keep up with maintaining and cleaning granite countertops as needed. They will continue to be beautiful and serviceable for many years to come.


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