I have never recommended Granite as an option for counter tops, I even wrote a whole spiel on why not to. They are pretty, to be sure, but they are one of the most high maintenance counter top options you can buy. You have to spend the extra money to seal them and still they stain at the drop of the hat.
However, if you have already bought some for your house, you will just have to make due. So here is a guide for you poor souls on how to clean your pretty new baby.
Disinfecting Granite Counter Tops
If your granite counter top is unsealed or needs to be resealed, it is a literal breeding ground for bacteria. If the seal is wearing thin, every piece of raw meat that touches it leaves bacteria to grow. As granite is a very pourous stone, you cannot just wipe bacteria away like you can with corian or laminate. Once bacteria gets on the surface, it likes to stay in the pores.
You cannot just use any old counter top cleaner either. It needs to have a neutral pH balance. Some companies, like 409, make a cleaner specifically for granite. Some people recommend mixing in vinegar to warm water to disinfect it, but vinegar dulls the shine and can eat away at the sealant.
If you do not want to purchase a cleaner, try mixing three parts dish detergent and one part rubbing alcohol into a bucket of warm water. The rubbing alcohol sanitizes and has a neutral pH balance.
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Removing Red Stains from Granite
Ah, red stains, granites worst enemy. This includes everything from wine to beets. Anything that leaves a red stain on your counter top.
This stain requires more patience that most other stains. You can scrub all you want, but most likely you will never get that red tinge out. You need to make a poultice for your wounded counter top. A poultice consists of a cleaner mixed with some sort of white absorbent material mixed into a paste. Most people will highly recommend flour.
In a container mix flour and bleach until you get a thick, but pliable past. Smooth this mixture over the stain and let sit for about 2 hours. Wipe the poultice away and wipe the area with a mixture of warm water and dish soap. If the stain is in there deep you may need to apply another poultice, but the bleach usually does the trick.
Removing Oil Residue from Granite
Cooked some bacon and it splattered grease onto the granite, eh? It happens. Too bad no matter how many times you wipe it down, that residue just seems to stay.
The easiest thing is to wash with soapy warm water or a granite cleaner, then apply baking soda. You can also make a paste out of baking soda and peroxide if you want to get in real deep. Let this site with a wet cloth over it for a few hours. Repeat if necessary.
Removing Rust Stains from Granite
Granite is stone, so naturally, it does not rust itself. However, rust from metal stains granite extremely easily.
Rust stains can be just as difficult as red stains. You can use the poultice method mentioned in red stains for this as well. If the stain is not that bad, you can try wiping it away with some diluted lemon juice, but the acid in the lemon can eat away at the seal of the granite.
You can also purchase a pH neutral rust remover like Bio rust or EvapoRust.
Removing Ink from Granite
Ink is the world's biggest pain in the rump on any material.
This method depends on the color of your stone. If it is a light stone, clean the ink away with peroxide. If it is a dark stone, use acetone.
Removing Water Stains from Granite
In a world where you like water is your best friend, it can also be your worst enemy if left on granite.
This one is easy. Not 'apply more water' easy, but still pretty simple. Make a solution of water and a dash of rubbing alcohol and buff the stain away. The alcohol will help dry the remoistened water out of them.
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Removing Paint from Granite
I'm sure your four year old with the brand new finger paints has no idea how paint got on your granite counter top.
Some people will recommend using a razor blade to chip the paint away. This works on acrylic paints, but you also have to be very careful. The razor blade my scratch up your finish. You can also use paint thinner to clean away paint, but make sure it is mineral spirits and not harsh chemicals. Acetone also works for this. If the paint was oil based it is likely to leave a stain, you may need to use a poultice of bleach and flour to remove the stain.