Posted by Max Kater

By Contributing Editor, Jane Sandwood

 

Your Guide to Cleaning Granite Countertops 

Granite and stone kitchen countertops are a beautiful way to add texture and depth to your kitchen. But they are expensive and prone to staining and cracking. With the right products and a little extra care, natural stone can be a practical and even durable choice that will enhance the look and value of your home for decades. But how to clean them without resorting to specialty cleaners and labor intensive polishes?

Stone is naturally porous and is therefore more susceptible to staining and marks than their man-made options like Corian, or tile. We love stone for its natural beauty, but harsh cleaners can destroy the surface and reduce the lifespan of your costly surfaces. If you decide to invest in granite or stone kitchen counter tops, swapping out your regular supermarket stuff to something without bleach, ammonia or the usual chemical nasties is a really good idea.

The First, Most Important Step

Granite is a natural material. It’s a stone that’s been used for building for a long, long time. Before it arrives as a ready to install bench top, it’s been quarried, cut, and polished. Since it is a stone, however, it must be sealed. There are a couple of ways to do this. Professional and DIY options abound. We recommend having it done professionally at installation before going it alone with an at-home sealant. 

You should always check with your manufacturer to get full instructions on sealants and how often to reseal, but typically, granite should be sealed about once a year. Sealing helps to protect your lovely countertops from heat, spills and standing water that might mark the surface. Good to know: When water stops beading on your granite surface, it’s probably time to re-seal.

Let’s Get Cleaning

First of all, don’t stress about it. Cleaning granite is actually incredibly simple. If you choose the right cleaning products, you can clean as often as you like without worrying about harming the finish.

For light, everyday cleaning, use a mild, non-abrasive cleaner like our Counter Safe All-Purpose Cleaner. Just spray and wipe with a dry, lint-free cloth and you’re done. Easy.

For a more serious deep clean, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and gather your materials. Here’s what you need:

- A small bucket (or large bowl)
- A mild plant-based dishwashing liquid
- A clean, non-abrasive sponge
- A clean, lint-free cloth for drying

 

Start by taking everything off the counter. Don’t skip this step (seriously). If you do, moisture can gather under things left on the counter and if allowed to sit there, can damage your surface.

 

1. Sweep clean (get rid of crumbs, etc.) you can use a dry cloth or just a damp paper towel.
2. Start with soap. We recommend using a mild, plant-based Dish Soap and warm water. We typically dilute to a 90% water-to-soap ratio (you only need a small amount of soap) depending on the type of stone and size of your countertop. If in doubt, use less; it’s always easier to add more soap than to start again.
3. Use your sponge to gently clean your worktop, working from the back to the front. If you start to see a white lather, dilute with more water. The idea is that you shouldn’t have to rinse them, just buff to dry. You’ll want to rinse your cloth in clean, non-sudsy water often to make sure you’re not just moving dirt around.
4. Dry your counter. Buff it till it shines. Your sealant will have a built-in sheen, but once properly cleaned and polished, it will positively gleam. There it is!

 

Granite worktops are durable, practical, and beautiful. If you use the right products, they can also be deliciously easy to clean. Preventative sealing, followed by daily maintenance using gentle, naturally made products, and the occasional deep clean, will keep them looking gorgeous for years to come. 

 

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