One of the most beautiful ways to update your kitchen is to add granite countertops. Besides their natural beauty, granite countertops also add to the value of your home. Stylish, heat resistant and scratch resistant, granite countertops are one of the best investments you can make for your home. As an owner of granite counter tops, it is imperative to know the proper way for cleaning granite countertops. Knowing the products and techniques that will effectively clean your granite countertops will help you get the longest life out of them, meanwhile protecting your investment.
There are a wide variety of products available on the market as well as different techniques that can be used to make sure you are effectively cleaning granite countertops. Whether you wish to use commercial products that are ready to use right out of the bottle or you like to be environmentally friendly and make your own solution, there is a perfect way to keep your granite counters clean to suit your lifestyle and budget. With products available at every price point as well as cleansers that you can make yourself, the options are endless when it comes to cleaning granite countertops.
Everyday Cleaning of Granite Countertops
For everyday cleaning of granite countertops, the most effective method to use is warm soapy water and a soft cloth. Simply fill a bucket with warm water and add a few drops of a disinfectant soap such as Dawn. It is recommended to use distilled water over city water to control the amount of chlorine or other minerals that come into contact with the precious stone. Swirl the water around until it is nice and sudsy and then use your soft cloth to wipe the counter down thoroughly. It is then important to rinse your washcloth thoroughly, making sure there is no soap residue left. Proceed to wipe away the soap residue on the counter, making sure to wipe it all away; this step must not be skipped because if soap residue is left on your counter, it will eventually lose its shine. If you find over time that your counter has a dull finish to it, that typically means that there is a soap residue build up, simply rinse the washcloth again and wipe the counter down with fresh, hot water. Once finished, to give your counter a nice shiny finish, use a microfiber cloth to give it one more wipe down and you will be left with a clean and shiny countertop.
Weekly Cleaning of Granite Countertops
Soap and water are a very effective way to clean countertops on a daily basis, but over time the soap residue can build up and eventually take the natural shine off of your gorgeous granite countertops. To prevent this from happening, it’s necessary to use a non-abrasive stone cleaner with a low pH balance and no harsh chemicals. The stone cleaners that you can buy at most local stores are safe to use as long as they are used correctly. After dusting your countertop with a microfiber cloth and removing any large debris and dust, hold the stone cleaner at least 6-8” away from your countertop and spray. Immediately after spraying, wipe the cleaner up with a clean, soft cloth. You will instantly regain the beautiful luster and shine of your countertop if you continue to perform this cleaning weekly. There are also several homemade cleaners that you can make to make cleaning granite countertops on a weekly basis simple and effective.
If you wish to use something a little stronger than soap and water on a daily basis, there are a wide variety of choices at your local hardware store for cleaning granite countertops. While shopping for a cleaner, try not to grab the first one on the shelf. It’s important to choose a cleaner that is non-abrasive, has no harsh chemicals and is safe for daily use. Any cleaner can say that it’s safe for granite, but really analyzing the ingredients is the best way to assure that you are keeping your granite safe from scratches. It’s best to use special stone cleaners that are pH balanced. Another name that these cleaners could be labeled as is neutral base cleaners; this basically means that it has no harsh or abrasive ingredients that could potentially scratch the surface of your countertop. Two of the main ingredients that are to be avoided are ammonia and ingredients that are lemon or lime based.
Homemade Cleaning Solutions
Along with safe commercial cleaners, there is a very easy homemade solution that you can make to clean your granite countertop. By making your own cleaning solution, you are assuring that there are no harsh chemicals being used on your countertop, causing it to lose its beautiful shine. The most important factor to remember is to only use ingredients that have a neutral pH. Any ingredients that have an acidic nature such as vinegar or any products containing lemon or lime can leave scratches or etches on your countertop. Alcohol on the other hand has a pH of 7.0 which is the same pH level of water, making it a neutral choice to use on your countertop. All it takes is 25% alcohol, a few drops of dish soap such as Dawn and three parts water to make your homemade cleaning solution. Shake these ingredients up in a spray bottle and you have an inexpensive, effective cleaner for your granite countertop.
How to Remove Stains
Granite is very porous, which means that it naturally absorbs liquids, so it is imperative to clean up spills or stains immediately after they happen to avoid permanent damage to your granite countertop. The most important thing to remember is to never wipe the stain, simply blot it as soon as it is discovered with a clean, white cloth or paper towel. The longer period of time that a stain sits on the granite, the more likely it is to be permanent. The basis for removing stains from granite is a poultice. A basic poultice is simply a mixture of a couple of tablespoons of dish soap and a cup of white flour or talcum powder mixed with enough water to make a thick paste. In place of the soap, there are designated chemicals that can help resolve different types of stains.
Organic stains such as coffee, tea, fruit or gravy – Use hydrogen peroxide in place of the dish soap. Apply the solution to the stain and scrub with a non-abrasive cloth until the stain has disappeared.
For all other types of stains, choose the appropriate chemical for your type of stain and mix it into your poultice. After blotting up your spill or stain, liberally apply the poultice to the counter top and cover it with plastic wrap overnight. Remove the plastic wrap and check to see if the poultice has dried. If it’s not dry, cover it again and check back in a few hours. If it is dry, carefully scrape it off and thoroughly rinse the area. Your stain should be removed!
The appropriate chemicals for specific stains include:
- Ink or Magic Marker – Rubbing alcohol
- Oil Based Stains, Grease, Tar, Cooking Oil or Cosmetics – Acetone
- Mold or Mildew – Bleach or Hydrogen Peroxide
- Metal such as Iron or Rust (from nails, cans or flower pots) – Poultice
When you make the commitment to beautify your kitchen with granite countertops, it’s important to know the proper way to clean them in order to prolong the usefulness and life of your investment. Cleaning granite countertops is an easy and cost-effective way to ensure that your countertops keep their luster and shine for many years to come. A very porous surface, granite is very susceptible to stains and scratches. Making sure you perform daily cleaning whether with warm water and soap or a commercial cleaner will help your counter remain in good condition. Along with daily cleaning, weekly maintenance is also important to make sure your countertop keeps its beautiful shine. Over time, soap residue can build up on your counter causing it to eventually lose its shine. To make sure your granite countertops are clean a weekly cleaning with a commercial or a homemade cleaning solution you will preserve your counter’s beautiful shine.