Expert tips on how to clean granite countertops the right way

Surprise Granite
July 2, 2021
5 min read
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close-up of clean kitchen granite countertop
Content Overview

You've just updated your kitchen and you can’t stop admiring your beautiful new granite countertops. Or maybe you’re dreaming of a kitchen renovation, looking at samples and wondering how granite would work in your home. In either case, you’ll need to know how to care for your new counters.

Granite takes a little bit of TLC, but caring for it doesn’t have to be complicated. Read on to learn how to clean granite countertops to keep them looking gorgeous for years to come.

Seal Your Counters

Before you put anything on your counters, including any sort of cleaning agent, the first thing you need to do is seal them. Granite is a natural stone and so has pores that can absorb everything from food spills to cleaning chemicals. This can stain and damage your granite permanently, and there’s little you can do to fix it. 

When your granite counters are installed, check if they’re sealed by placing a few drops of water on the counter. If it beads up and stays, your counters are sealed; if the water absorbs in after a few minutes, they aren’t. Check the seal on your counters every few weeks, and plan to reseal your granite at least once a year.

Never Use Harsh Cleaners

When you’re cleaning your granite, there are a few key rules you need to follow each time. First of all, you should never use harsh cleaners, especially bleaching agents, on your granite. Because it is a porous natural stone, these cleaners can damage the surface, even stripping through the sealant you put on to etch the stone.

Make sure you always avoid ammonia, window cleaner, bleach, and even natural acids like vinegar, lemon, or lime juice. As we’ll discuss in a moment, it’s best to stick to a gentle, non-abrasive soap and water. There are also safe ways to disinfect your granite without resorting to these harsh cleaners.

Proper Tools

Just as harsh chemicals can damage your granite, harsh cleaning tools can, too. While your sealant is designed to protect against daily wear and tear, that doesn’t mean it’s untouchable. You can scrub it off and, if you keep scrubbing with the wrong thing, scratch the surface of your granite itself.

Try to avoid scrubbing sponges, and certainly never use steel wool or other metal scrubbers on your granite. Instead, go for gentle cloths, including an old washcloth or a damp paper towel when cleaning your granite. The best option, of course, is a microfiber cloth that will keep your sealant and your granite in pristine shape.

Daily Cleaning

When you’re going through your kitchen routine every day, make sure the last thing you do before you wrap up is wipe down your counters. The more often you clean your counters, the less likely you’ll be to encounter tough messes and stains. Start by clearing your counters off or moving items out of your way as you clean so you can get any crumbs or spills lurking behind canisters. 

Fill your sink up with soapy water as hot as you can comfortably manage and soak a clean cloth. Wipe down your countertops, paying special attention to corners and any places where there was a spill, especially of something acidic. Finish by wiping your counters dry with a microfiber cloth to avoid streaking on your stone. 

Disinfecting Granite

In the last year, we’ve all become a lot more aware of the germs lurking in nooks and crannies around us. While keeping your home clean is important, your daily wipe down should be enough to keep your countertops sanitized. However, there are ways to disinfect your granite from time to time if you’re concerned about viruses and bacteria growing on the surface.

Place some 70 percent isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle and spray a light coat over your clean, dry counters. You don’t need to dilute the alcohol, and in fact, the CDC says that alcohol loses much of its disinfectant property when diluted below 50 percent strength. Let the alcohol sit on your counters for about five minutes, and then wipe them down with water and dry them with your microfiber cloth.

Removing Stubborn Stains

We hear some of you out there saying, “That’s great, but a gentle cloth, soap, and water aren’t going to remove some of the stains on my granite.” We know tough messes can be a headache, and the urge to pull out the bleach can be strong. But there are better ways to handle these messes without putting your beautiful countertops at risk. 

If you have gunk or buildup stuck on your counters, get a razor blade in a scraper and, keeping the entire edge of the blade in contact with the counter, scrape away that spot. Always be careful when using this method, and wear gloves to prevent cuts. You can also make a paste of baking soda and water, spread it on the stain, allow it to sit until it dries, and wipe it away.

Learn How to Clean Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are beautiful and, when cared for properly, can last for decades in pristine condition. Make sure you never use any harsh cleaners or scrubbing pads on your countertops. Instead, wipe them daily with warm soapy water and use a razor blade to carefully remove any tough stains.

If you’d like to learn more about how to clean granite countertops, check out the rest of our site at Surprise Granite. We specialize in residential and commercial stone sales and design, and we bring pride and passion to every project that we undertake. Get a free estimate for your kitchen design today, and discover the granite fabrication and home remodeling solutions for all your kitchen and bath needs.

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