How to Clean Granite Countertops

How to Clean Granite CountertopsThis is your guide on how to clean granite countertops to keep them looking spotless. All granite is not alike. In fact, what you’re calling granite may not even be granite. Some of the countertops and other architectural stone sold as granite may have only the appearance of granite. When it comes to cleaning granite countertops, knowing whether the material is genuine granite is important, because some cleaners that are considered safe for granite may react negatively with your stone. The acid in vinegar, for instance, eats away at calcium, which is not usually present in granite but may be in your stone.

And then there are the different types of surface finishes to consider, from raw stone to highly polished stone to chemically sealed stone. That may sound complicated, but cleaning the stone should not be. The best approach on how to clean granite countertops is the simplest.

To care for granite, keep oil sand and dirt, especially on flat surfaces, where it can be ground down by shoe soles or boots. The grit can scratch the stone. For walls, floors and other such surfaces, use either a vacuum cleaner or a dry dust mop. For countertops and tables, dust with a clean, dry rag. Wipe up spills immediately to avoid staining.

How to clean granite countertops in kitchens and bathrooms: first try using only warm water, wiping with a soft cloth or sponge. Let caked-on food soak a bit before wiping. You should be able to remove spills, crumbs, sauces and other things this way. If not, then add a little dishwashing liquid to the water. Rinse well with lots of clean water. Too much soap can leave a film or cause streaking. Avoid stronger cleaning products, such as bath and tile cleaners or scouring powders, as these can stain or scratch your stone.

For cleaning granite countertop stains, keep it simple and be patient. Most stains are solid residue jammed in between the crystals of the stone after the liquid that carried it has evaporated. The trick is to put the solid back into solution so it can be removed. First, determine whether your stain is water-based (for example, from spilled grape juice) or oil—based (salad dressing).

  • If the stain is water-based, pour hot water (from the tap, not the kettle) on the stain and let it stand for a few minutes. Wipe away the excess water. Then stack 5 millimetres of paper towels on the stain and saturate with hot water. Cover with a piece of plastic (plastic wrap or a plastic drop cloth will do) and a flat, heavy weight, such as a cast-iron frying pan or a book (careful not to ruin the book). Let it stand for about 10 hours. (Do it overnight, and you won’t have to worry about anyone moving it.) Next, throw away the paper towels and the stain should go with them. Let the spot dry and then observe. If some of the stain is still present, repeat the treatment.
  • If the stain is oil-based, follow the same procedure, only instead of water, use acetone (but do not heat). After the 10 hours is up, throw away the paper towels and rinse the spot with clean water. If necessary repeat. Acetone can be found on the paint thinner shelf in hardware stores.

I hope this guide on how to clean granite countertops brings you cleaning success!

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