Cleaning Granite Countertops

by April Reinhardt
(last updated January 23, 2012)

Due to its aesthetic qualities and high durability, polished granite is a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops. Granite countertops are always installed by professionals who seal the granite during installation to protect against stains. If granite countertops are not sealed, stains will change the color of the granite, and the stone could harbor bacteria. You do need to reseal your granite countertops once each year. Simply purchase granite sealer from your local home improvement store and follow the directions on the product, but always use a nontoxic sealer on food preparation areas.

If your granite countertops are sealed properly, you will never need to use bleach or harsh chemicals to get rid of stains. Instead, use mild soap and water to clean up spills right away. Other things you need to know and do when cleaning your granite countertops are:

  • To deter grime buildup, clean your countertops often with a soft cloth, mild soap, and hot water.
  • Always dry your countertops after cleaning them.
  • Since granite is stone, you can clean your granite countertops with stone soap, available from a stone dealer or your local hardware store.
  • Stains on light-colored granite show more readily than on darker granite. Foods such as tomatoes, grape juice, and coffee will stain granite quickly, largely because of the acidic content in the foods. In order to remove stains from granite, you need to use a poultice to pull the stain from the stone. There are several poultices that you can make from ingredients already available in your kitchen. Mix a few squirts of dishwashing liquid with one cup of flour and add a few drops of water to make a thick paste. Apply the poultice to the stain, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow it to sit overnight. The next day, scrape away the poultice with a plastic or wooden utensil, and then rinse the stained area with a soft cloth and water.
  • If the stain was caused by grease, milk, or oil, make a poultice of one cup of flour mixed with a few tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and allow the poultice to sit on the stain overnight.
  • To remove ink or permanent marker, use acetone or lacquer thinner.

If you have stains that you simply cannot remove, call the company that installed your countertops for advice. Avoid placing gritty objects on your granite countertops, and never place hot pans on sealed granite surfaces. The heat will not harm the granite, but it will destroy the sealer.

It is wise to use coasters under all cups and glasses, since some beverages contain coffee or fruit juices, and both will stain or etch granite countertop surfaces.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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