How To Clean Granite Countertops [5 Easy Steps!]

how to clean granite countertops

Keeping your granite countertops clean and shiny is easy with just a few simple ingredients. Remember that most granite countertops have a sealer applied to stop them being porous. This sealer needs to be re-applied usually yearly.

Some commercially available cleaners will damage the sealer. Therefore, we have some easy suggestions for you to keep your countertops looking fantastic.

You’ll find that you’ll have most of the required cleaning agents in your pantry. But, you can also purchase a commercial cleaner that has been specifically designed for granite countertops.

Easy Step-By-Step Method To Clean Granite Countertops

Here’s an easy method to keep your countertops clean and sparkling with products that you already have at home.

  1. Remove any leftover food and crumbs from the countertop. Clear the countertops of all appliances when you want to give them a really good clean.
  2. Wet a sponge with warm water and apply some dish soap. Scrub your countertops with this sponge to remove any stuck-on foods and spills. Don’t use abrasive pads to avoid scratching the surface. Remember though, that you shouldn’t use dish soap on your counters every day as this can cause a build-up and eventually dull the shine.
  3. Remove any stubborn build-up with a razor blade. This won’t scratch the granite as long as you rest the entire edge of the blade on the counter.
  4. For stubborn stains you can also make up a paste with baking soda and water. Use a soft cloth to rub the stain with this paste. If the stain is very tough, cover the stain with the paste and some plastic wrap. Tape down the plastic to keep it in place. Wait for the paste to fully dry. This could take a couple of days. Once dry, you can simply wipe the paste off and rinse the spot with warm water.
  5. Once the countertop is clean. Rinse the sponge with warm water and remove any soap suds from the counter. You might need to rinse and repeat to remove all the suds and any soap residue.

How To Disinfect Your Granite Countertops

Disinfecting your granite countertops is easy using some isopropyl alcohol and water. Follow these steps.

  1. Fill a small spray bottle with 50% isopropyl alcohol and 50% water.
  2. Spray this mixture on your countertops and leave for 5 minutes.
  3. Using a clean dish cloth, wipe the counters to remove any excess moisture.

A Simple Method To Add Shine To Your Granite Countertops

The glossy look of your granite countertop is not achieved by applying any type of coating. It’s actually achieved by abrasively polishing the granite to reveal the natural shine in the stone. Think of it like polishing up gemstones.

A simple way to add shine to your countertop is to pour some olive oil onto a soft cloth. Wipe this over your countertops. Then, buff it gently to add that shine. This will also add some stain-resistance to your countertops.

You don’t want to do this too often though, as it can cause build-up over time. This defeats the purpose as it can increase the dullness.

If your countertop is quite old and has become really dull, it may need to be removed and repolished to reveal the shine in the stone.

Good Daily Habits To Develop To Keep Your Countertops Looking Great

If you simple develop these daily habits, you’ll have no problem looking after your gorgeous granite countertops.

  • Wipe up any spills immediately. Acidic foods such as coffee, wine, tomato sauce, fruit juice and soda could stain the surface of the granite. If you wipe these up straight away, you won’t have any problems with having to clean stains later.
  • Make it a habit to use coasters under bottles, glasses and cans. Your granite won’t etch but it’s just good practice to use coasters to protect the granite surface.
  • Use trivets under hot pots and pans. Even though the granite can withstand the heat, this is still a good practice to develop. You could find that dirt can get trapped between the pots and pans and the countertop. This could cause light surface scratches. Especially in high-use areas. These scratches can easily be repaired but it’s best to avoid them in the first place.
  • Use a cutting board. This is also to avoid dulling your knives. Plus, it will save your granite from any possible scratches.
  • Never sit or stand on your granite countertops. Granite might be extremely hard but it is not flexible. Therefore, too much weight might crack the stone.
  • Avoid storing toiletries or liquids on your countertops. Products such as cooking oils, perfumes, creams, lotions and hair products can often leak. If these leaks are overlooked, they can causing staining of your granite over time.

Products That You Shouldn’t Use On Your Granite Countertops

Avoid using any acidic type cleaners on your countertops as these will weaken the sealer and make your countertops look dull. This includes natural products like vinegar and lemon juice.

Avoid using products like Windex or bleach or any generic cleaners for the same reasons. These cleaners contain alkali’s and acids that will eventually wear down the granite sealer.

Also, avoid any ammonia-based cleaners.

Avoid using powder or cream cleansers designed for bathrooms. These products contain abrasives that will dull the surface of the granite.

Cleaning Routines

Daily

All you need to do to your countertops on a daily basis is to give them a wipe over with a sponge and hot water. This will remove any surplus food crumbs and spills that may occur.

Weekly

Wipe your countertops down with a good commercially available granite cleaner after clearing off any appliances. A granite cleaner will also condition the countertops and protect the sealer.

Alternatively, you can use our step-by-step cleaning routine mentioned previously. Just remember to rinse the dish soap off really well to avoid any build-up.

Monthly

To keep your countertops glossy, you can use a commercially available granite polish. This will enhance the shine and gives a little extra protection to your countertops.

Yearly

Once a year, you should test the effectiveness of the sealer. Not all countertops will have to be re-sealed once a year. You can easily do this test with some lemon juice and cooking oil.

It’s recommended that you conduct this test in an inconspicuous area of your counter. This could be in a corner or an area that is always covered with an appliance.

  1. Drop a small amount of lemon juice onto the counter about the size of a dime.
  2. Do the same with a small amount of vegetable oil.
  3. Observe the granite under the puddles of lemon juice and oil.
  4. If the granite starts to darken after about 4 to 5 minutes, it’s time to reseal it.
  5. If the granite never darkens or it takes longer than 30 minutes, then your countertop is fine and doesn’t need resealing.
  6. You can also do this test with just water.
  7. Drop a small puddle of water onto the countertop and observe.
  8. If the granite darkens within 4 to 5 minutes, then it needs resealing.
  9. If it takes longer than 30 minutes to darken or it doesn’t darken at all, then there’s no need to reseal it.

Note: The darkening of the granite means that it’s absorbing the liquid. If you see this happening any time during the year, it’s a good idea to reseal your countertops.

It’s also good to note that dark and dense granite countertops might not require sealing at all. This is because the stone is so dense that it’s not porous in the slightest. It also means that this type of granite countertop will never stain.

If you do have a dark granite countertop, you can do this test to see whether it needs sealing or not.

  • Put of a drop of vegetable oil on the countertop.
  • Let it sit overnight.
  • In the morning, wipe the oil off.
  • If there is no stain where the oil was, then your countertop does not need sealing at all and it will never stain.
  • If you do notice a stain, then wash it with some hot water and dish soap.
  • If the stain is gone, your countertop is impervious to staining but could handle one coat of sealer.

What If You Notice Chips Or Even A Crack In Your Granite Countertops?

Chips and pits in your countertop can easily be repaired by applying a clear epoxy resin into the holes in the granite. You can purchase a granite repair kit to do this yourself.

However, if you notice a crack in your countertop, this is best repaired by a stone repair specialist.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What cleaners are safe for granite?

Hot water and dish soap is fine for granite countertops. You can also use 70% isopropyl alcohol.

Can you use Lysol wipes on granite countertops?

No. Lysol wipes contain harsh ingredients including ammonia that can damage the sealer and the granite.

Is hydrogen peroxide safe for granite?

Yes. You can make a great water stain cleaner by mixing baking soda with a small quantity of hydrogen peroxide.

Final Thoughts

Granite countertops are highly durable and look great. It’s really easy to keep them clean if you follow our suggestions.

The most important thing to remember is to never use generic cleaners on them as these can damage both the sealer and the granite surface. Use a specially formulated granite cleaner or just hot water and a little soap. And, wipe up any spills immediately to avoid staining.

Have you found your granite countertops easy to keep clean? Do you have any other tips to share with us? Please leave them in the comments below.