A lot of people invest in granite countertops because they think of it as a strong, sturdy material that will be able to stand up to all sorts of wear and tear. Although this is true, if you want your granite to last and continue looking as beautiful as the day it was installed, it is important that you care for it correctly.
When it comes to cleaning granite countertops, not just anything goes. In fact, the stone can actually end up being damaged by certain techniques and products that work perfectly well for other kitchen surfaces. Thankfully, with a bit of care and attention, you can keep your granite countertops sparkling clean without threatening the integrity of the stones.
Here are the steps to clean your granite countertops safely and effectively.
1. Start off with dish soap and a soft sponge
Keep it simple by using a solution of mild soap and warm water. You can just wet a sponge with water from the tap and squirt dish soap into its center. What’s important to remember here is that granite does scratch easily, so it’s necessary to use a soft, non-abrasive sponge or cloth. A microfiber cloth is ideal, but at the very least avoid using a rough dish scrubber.
Once you’ve adequately moistened your cloth and got the suds going, be sure to squeeze out any excess water that remains in the cloth. Granite is a highly absorbent stone and can easily become discoloured if it is regularly exposed to standing water. You want the sponge or cloth to be just damp when you apply it to the countertop.
2. Wipe the countertop gently
Once you’ve prepared the cloth, you can begin gently wiping the countertop in small, circular motions. If you’re dealing with something like dried spaghetti sauce, you might need to put in a little more effort, but it is still important to stick to the non-abrasive method. How to deal with stains will be outlined below.
Once you’ve finished wiping down the countertop and have removed any stuck-on food or other debris, it is time to dry it completely with a different, dry, soft cloth. This will ensure not only that the countertop is protected from potential water damage, but it will also eliminate any remaining streaks.
If you want your granite to retain that initial, eye-catching shine, it is worth it to spend a little more time buffing up the surface after you’ve finished cleaning.
3. Remove stains from your granite countertops
A noticeable stain can turn your beautiful shining countertop into an unsightly eyesore if not addressed. Thankfully, for the most part, stained granite countertops can be cleaned with household items so common that you probably already have them in your pantry. Regardless of whether or not you know what caused the stain, it is advisable to begin the process of removal by applying baking soda.
If you suspect that the stain has been caused by water damage, you can mix the baking soda with a very small amount of hydrogen peroxide before you apply it. For oil-based stains, on the other hand, simply mixing the baking soda with water is more appropriate.
Either way, make sure you develop a thick paste and spread it generously over the stain. Then, you should cover the marked area with plastic wrap and tape it down firmly around the edges. Leave it in place overnight before gently wiping it away.
4. Add protection to your granite countertop
Typically, when a granite countertop is installed, it is finished off with a layer of sealant. In the event that stains keep appearing and you’re struggling to remove them, chances are that the sealant is no longer functioning as it should. In this case, your best bet is to hire a professional to completely clean and then properly reseal the stone, thereby preventing future problems.
Although the temptation to bring out different cleaners to try to remove a stain can be strong, it is important that you stick to the simple cleaning methods mentioned above. Don’t underestimate the damage that household acids can do to your absorbent granite countertop. Never apply vinegar, lemon, lime, or any type of citrus directly to granite countertops.
Ammonia or ammonia-based cleaners like Windex should also be avoided, as should bleach, steel wool, and abrasive sponges. At the same time, it is important to remember that everything changes with time and your granite countertop will eventually show signs of wear. It is not unusual to have to reapply the sealant in order to keep your counters looking great.