Granite countertops are a sleek and attractive upgrade that can really elevate the aesthetic of a kitchen; they’re also quite susceptible to unsightly scratches and stains if not cleaned and maintained properly. Here, a complete guide on how to clean granite countertops and keep them looking lovely for years to come, courtesy of the cleaning experts at the American Cleaning Institute (ACI).
How to Clean Granite Countertops So They’re Sparkling (and Stain-Free)
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Products to Avoid When Cleaning Granite Countertops
According to the American Cleaning Institute, it is imperative that you avoid using any abrasive or acidic cleaning products on granite countertops, as these can weaken the protective sealant on the countertop and “cause scratching, staining and pitting” of the surface over time.
Alas, quite a few common cleaning products fall into this category, such as Clorox wipes and regular bleach, window and glass cleaners like Windex, vinegar and anything that has ammonia or citrus as an ingredient. In other words, you definitely don’t want to bring out the big guns when cleaning granite.
How to Clean Granite Countertops
So now that you know all your go-to cleaning products are off-limits, you’re probably wondering what you can do to safely restore your granite countertops to their former glory (i.e., gunk-free and gleaming). Well, it’s really quite simple...
What You’ll Need:
How to Do It:
- Mix a small amount of gentle dish detergent together with warm water.
- Saturate a microfiber cloth in the soapy solution, wringing it out as much or as little as you need to get the job done.
- Give the granite countertops a thorough wipe down to banish the build-up and grime.
- Then, dampen a clean microfiber cloth with fresh water and wipe the surface down again to remove any soapy residue.
- Dry the countertop: Depending on how wet the surface of your counters is at the end of this process, you can either wipe them down again with a dry microfiber cloth or simply leave them to air dry.
How to Remove Stains from Granite Countertops
While the cleaning method described above is perfectly adequate for everyday cleaning, it probably won’t be enough to tackle any particularly stubborn stains that have seeped into the surface of your granite countertops. (Turmeric, anyone?) Prevention is the key to keeping a granite countertop stain-free, which is why the experts emphasize the importance of wiping up spills and spots immediately. That said, if you let a spill linger a little too long and now have a stain to contend with, this expert-approved method should do the trick.
What You’ll Need:
How to Do It:
- Combine baking soda with just enough water to make a thick paste.
- Liberally apply said paste to the stain(s).
- Let the paste sit and work its magic for at least 30 minutes. (Baking soda, with its considerable absorptive power, and porous granite are a match made in stain-removal heaven.)
- Using the basic cleaning method described above, remove the baking soda and wipe the countertops clean with a gentle solution of soap and water.
- If the stain is still present, reapply the baking soda paste, tape a layer of plastic wrap over the spot and allow it to sit for 24 to 48 hours.
- Remove the plastic wrap, repeat step four and celebrate your success.
How to Care for Granite Countertops
Aside from regular wipe downs, the ACI says that the best way to care for granite countertops is to reseal them from time to time, though “the frequency at which this needs to be done will depend on the type of sealant used,” as well as other factors, like how much abuse they’ve taken, for example.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to take the guesswork out of the equation. Per the natural stone specialists at Quality Granite and Marble, you can quickly determine whether your granite countertops are due for a resealing by pouring a quarter cup of water at various spots on your countertop: “If the water absorbs into the stone in less than five minutes, the stone does need to be sealed. If the water is still standing after 30 minutes, no sealer is needed. Anywhere in between five and 30 minutes, the stone may benefit a sealer.” Roger that.
As for the resealing process, that’s simply a matter of following the instructions on the product label—just be sure to pick one that’s formulated specifically for granite and stone, like this one from Granite Gold.