Granite countertops add a flash of luxury to any kitchen. Granite is a strong, durable and long lasting countertop option. It is also an investment. Many times homeowners spend more on the granite than any other part of their kitchen renovation, so caring for and cleaning the granite properly is of high importance. Granite has many added benefits besides looking good including heat resistance and scratch resistance. Although it is a scratch resistant surface that does not mean it is scratch proof. Granite requires proper care to prevent damaging and ruining the countertops.

Routine Care

Blot spills up immediately. Lay a thick layer of paper towels over spills quickly to prevent the liquid from soaking into the granite where it will cause a stain. Throw away wet pape
r towels and continue to blot the granite surface with clean, dry paper towels until you have absorbed all of the spilled liquid. Never rub or wipe a spill on granite because you will spread the liquid and possibly cause a potential stain to become larger. Wet a clean, rag or soft sponge with water and squeeze out the excess so it is still wet but water is not dripping from it. Wipe the granite countertops to remove any stuck on or sticky liquids. Immediately dry the countertop with a soft cloth.

Dust your granite countertops daily with a microfiber cloth. Leaving dust on your countertops attracts grease splatters that combine with the dirt and dust and leave a sticky mess. Simply wiping away the dust with a rag prevents buildup.

Wipe your granite countertops with a sponge or rag dampened with water at least once a day. Buff the countertops dry with a soft, well worn cotton cloth or microfiber to prevent water spots.

If your countertops become particularly dirty, clean them with a ph neutral cleaner made specifically for natural stone. Ph neutral cleaners will not scratch the surface.

Apply a high quality natural stone sealer to the countertops to protect the granite from stains. Dip a soft, clean rag into the stone sealer and wipe the sealer over all granite surfaces. Reapply sealer to the granite every two to four month depending how much you use the countertop space. If the countertops are used daily for cooking, baking or general use, consider resealing the granite every two to two and a half months for the best protection.

Thoroughly clean the countertops and remove all stains before applying a stone sealer.

Common Stains on Granite Countertops

Greasy, Oily Stains

Cooking grease, salad oil, olive oil or butter all leave behind a greasy stain on the countertop that seeps deep into the granite if it is not removed as soon as possible. Removing a grease or oil stain requires the use of a poultice to pull the oils or grease out of the stone.

Rust Stains

Leaving a piece of metal on the granite surface can leave an orange brown rust stain on the
countertop especially if the metal is wet, has existing rust or is left for a long period of time. Although a rust stain really affects the appearance of the countertop negatively, don’t panic, your countertop is not permanently damaged, rust stains can be removed from granite.

Red Wine Stains

Every homeowner who has granite fears the dreaded red wine stain. Even quickly wiping up a red wine spill can still leave a pink  or deep red hue in the stone. With the use of a poultice, you can remove the evil red wine stain from the granite. It make take more than one treatment, but it is possible to remove the red wine stain and leaving the granite stain free.

Tea or Coffee Stains

A drop or two or a whole coffee mug or tea cup ring of either coffee or tea on a granite countertop can soak into the porous granite and leave its telltale mark on the countertop surface. Depending on the color of the granite, the coffee or tea stain may not be as noticeable, but if your have a light color or white granite, it will be very noticeable. To remove coffee or tea stains from granite you have to draw the stain out of the stone.

Ink Stains on Granite

Wet a soft, clean rag with acetone, also known as nail polish remover. Place the acetone soaked rag along the outer line of the stain and pull the rag toward the middle. As the rag fil
ls with ink, change to a clean section of the rag and rewet it with acetone. Continue to pull the rag from the edge of the ink stain to the middle. Do not wipe the ink in a circular motion or move the rag back and forth over the stain as you will spread the ink and cause a larger stain than the one you started with. Move the rag in only one direction. After the stain is removed from the countertop, drop the rag into a bucket of water to prevent spontaneous combustion. Acetone is highly flammable, never use it around a lit stone, oven candle, pilot light or cigarette.

Milk Stains

You’ve heard the old adage don’t cry over spilled milk, but spilling milk on a granite countertop can give you a good reason to cry. Milk with soak into the granite and leave a white, hazy stain. After quickly blotting the milk off the surface, within the next day or two you may see the stain develop. Don’t cry now – make a poultice to pull the milk stain out of the granite. Add 3 tablespoons of flour and 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to a bowl and stir it until the two
ingredients are well blended. If the stain is large adjust the amounts proportionately to make more of the poultice. Pick up the mixture on a rubber spatula and spread a thin even coat over the milk stain. Place plastic wrap over the poultice and tape down the edges. Let the poultice and plastic wrap remain on the milk stain for 10 to 12 hours. Take the take off and remove the plastic wrap. Scrape the poultice off the countertop with a wood spoon. Wet a clean rag with water and wipe the area to remove any poultice residue. Buff dry with a soft cloth.

General Granite Care Warnings

Never scrub granite with scouring powders or steel wool, you will scratch the surface.

 Do not use acidic cleaners whether natural or store bought on granite. Always avoid white vinegar, lemon or orange cleaners. Acidics will etch the granite.

 When using bathroom cleaner, oven cleaner, tile cleaner or grout cleaner cover the granite surfaces with a drop cloth because the cleaners can permanently damage the surface.