How To: Clean Your Granite Countertops

I know at first this doesn’t really seem like necessary “how to.” I think most of us have learned how to wipe off countertops by now, right? Right. Except that granite countertops require a slightly different cleaning ideology. Don’t worry, it’s no 12 step process.

"Hooray! I've mastered the art of countertop cleaning!"

 

The key to keeping your countertops streak free, build-up free, and looking like new is simple. I think it can be broken down into three easy rules:

1. Less is More

The polish and shine of granite countertops comes from the polishing process.  Similar to wood, you start with a very coarse polishing pad and move onto progressively finer pads until the stone shines. This means that you don’t need a specific product to keep your granite looking like new. For everyday cleaning I like to use just plain water or a chemical-free all-purpose cleaner (the kind you would find at a health food store) for sanitizing. We also give our customers an unlimited supply of high end 3-in1 Cleaner, Sealer, Polisher that can be used as often as you need it.

Sealing & cleaning are so easy your puppy could do it!

 

2. No chemicals, abrasives, or wax based products

That means NO WINDEX! Homeowners ask me why their granite is dull looking. I ask “Are you using Windex?” and the answer is almost always “yes.” If your granite doesn’t look shiny or it looks greasy, then I’m guessing you’re use either a  chemical or something soapy like dish detergent. The chemicals dry out the your stone, and the soapy products leave a buildup on the granite that just gets thicker every time you use more of it to get that smear off.

3. Seal it once a year

While sealing is not always essential (it depends on the color of stone), we highly recommend it.  Granite is naturally porous. Sometimes, liquids can absorb into the stone. They will evaporate back out, but depending on which granite (they all have different compositions and therefore different rates of evaporation) it could leave a mark for a couple hours or even a day while it does so. Sealing is a simple process. We give our customers an unlimited supply of bottles of 100% silicone sealer. Once a year, you pour it onto the countertops, wipe it in, wait 15 minutes, and wipe off the excess. The sealer stops liquids from absorbing into the granite. This means your granite will be easier to clean, and retain its original luster. This is a great way to maintain your granite since silicone has a very low chemical reactivity.  It’s safe. It’s sanitary.

Did you break the housekeeping rules? Subscribe to our blog, and stay tuned for upcoming “do-it-yourself” stone restoration tips.

Happy Cleaning!

-Lori

 

19 Responses to “How To: Clean Your Granite Countertops”

  1. Donna Stuart says:

    planning to put leathered granite all over my kitchen counters
    i cook a lot and clean a lot!
    what are the cons of leathered granite? do you sell a lot of it?
    are your customers happy?
    any help would be appreciated
    donna

    • Katie says:

      Hi Donna,

      Thanks for messaging. We put leathered granite in kitchens all the time! You treat it exactly like polished granite. The only difference is how it looks (leathered doesn’t have the shine that polished does). Please let me know if you have any other questions!

  2. Angela says:

    I had black leathered granite put in my kitchen. Three problems–1) the seams are surrounded by excess putty, 2) the backsplash and back of counter got silicone on them, & 3) the edges are not as polished/shiny as the counter finish. How do I correct these three problems? Thank you!

    • Katie says:

      Angela,

      Thanks for messaging us. These are primarily installation/fabrication issues. There is nothing you can do about the edges at this point. Unfortunately, these would have to be refabricated in a shop. The “putty on the seams” is hopefully not putty. If there seems to be a lot of Akimi/epoxy, they are really poor seams. A seam should be an 1/8th of an inch wide. Again, this is an installation issue. Silicone is the right product to use where the backsplash meets the countertop, but it should be clear and undetectable. This can be taken out and redone properly. I would contact the company that originally installed the kitchen and explain your disappointment. You are justified and you have a good eye for quality work which you did not get. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck!

  3. Marjorie says:

    Great tips, thanks! We have leathered granite in our kitchen and the crevices have collected a good deal of debris and paper towel lint that seems impossible to remove. No matter how much we clean them, they always look dirty. Any tips? Thank you!

  4. Tiffany says:

    I can’t wait to see the answer as well. We just had black leathered granite installed. The tiny pits/crevices almost look like some of them are filled with the construction dust. And parts of the granite are hazy and other parts are blacker (streaky). The fabricator says the streakiness is a characteristic of the stone. She also said they sealed it before bringing it out. From everything I read i wonder if this streakiness is uneven sealant. And what to do about the crevices that appear dirty? Will acetone take care of both of these? I am reluctant to try hut hopeful for a solution. The fabricator is very difficult ao if there is something simple i can do myself, I’d rather at this point. Thoughts??

    • Katie says:

      Tiffany,

      Thanks for the message. First of all, the streakiness you are seeing could be a result of the stone. It also could be the way it was leathered. For example, if it was leathered by hand, in a fabricating shop opposed to at a manufacturer. Another reason could be the way the sealer was applied. Using Acetone is a good start. Use a rag and wipe the surface of the stone with Acetone. Then, reseal the stone with a 100% silicone sealer. Another idea is to apply ager to the stone to enhance its rich color. We get our ager from a company called GranQuartz. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thank you!

  5. Barry says:

    We just had honed black absolute installed in our kitchen. Now that it’s in, we’re hearing all sorts of stories about water stains, oil stains, fingerprints, etc. Did we make the wrong granite choice? How do we keep it clean and stain free? Should it be sealed? If so, with what? I’ve read that Method Granite Cleaner works very well. Is this a product that you recommend? Thanks!

    • Katie says:

      Hi Barry,

      Thanks for the message. We have installed dozens of honed Absolute Black and never get complaints about staining. As far as maintenance on the stone goes, make sure that you apply a 100% silicone sealer. We recommend doing it once or twice a year. Another idea is to apply ager to the stone to enhance its rich color. We get our ager from a company called GranQuartz. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thank you!

  6. Kathy says:

    We also have black leathered granite that we love in our kitchen. However, any drop of water leaves a watermark on the surface. We use a water softener, but live in a hard water area. Any idea how to remove the water spots without removing the sealer?

    • Katie says:

      Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for the message. It sounds like the sealer that was used is the problem here. The first step I would take to remove the water stains is to get a product called TSP from a local hardware store. This will remove the mineral deposits that have “stained” your stone. Then, I would reseal. Make sure that you apply a 100% silicone sealer. We recommend doing it once or twice a year. Another idea is to apply ager to the stone to enhance its rich color. We get our ager from a company called GranQuartz. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thank you!

  7. susan martin says:

    what is recomended to clean black leatherd granite. i was told simple green??

  8. Andrea says:

    We just purchased a home with dark green granite but it’s a greasy mess, I’m guessing the previous owners cleaned it incorrectly. No matter what cleaner I use (all ones made speicifically for granite) it’s still greasy. Any suggestions? Even though the color is not something I like, it would cost a fortune to replace it, my kitchen is huge!

    • Hannah says:

      Hi Andrea,
      I’m guessing you’ve just got a ton of product build up. I would recommend getting just a super simple chemical free surface cleaner (the really environmentally friendly ones that you get at the health food stores…check the back…no chemicals). First clean the counter with water, let it dry, clean it with the chemical free cleaner, let it dry, then clean it with just water and paper towel and dry it off with paper towel. Then get a bottle of sealer from your local fabrication company. Seal the counter by rubbing the sealer in with paper towel, waiting 15 min, and wiping it back off, making sure any excess is gone. After that, try cleaning only with water for a few weeks and see if that helps. Once you have build up from soap and other harmful cleaners, adding more on top won’t help. I hope this helps! You should be able to get it looking ok without replacing it.

  9. pamela says:

    We have built up cooking oil on dark green granite countertops. The area looks hazy and is sticky. Have used dish soap and water to clean without a great outcome. Please recommend safe way to clean the granite. Also, can I buy 100% silicone sealant at Home Depot type stores?

  10. Becky says:

    We installed leathered black granite a while back and had applied a sealer but found it to be very tacky. Was told to remove it with Goo Gone and then applied acetone. After doing so it has left the counter very smooth but much duller in colour. Is there anything else that should be done?

    • Hannah says:

      Fabricators can apply what is called “ager” to the granite. It basically darkens the stone and makes the colors richer. Get in touch with a local shop, and they should either be able to come do that treatment for you (best to have a professional do this since it’s permanent) or tell you how/where you can get the material and service.
      -Hannah

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Recent Comments

Hannah: Sorry, I have no idea where to get that. We only deal with countertop material.
Steve Buchanan: I wonder if you supply the softer, high talc component soapstone that can be carved, as well as the...
Hannah: No, I don’t think so. Just make sure you are buying from a reputable place that will be around to make...
Hannah: Fabricators can apply what is called “ager” to the granite. It basically darkens the stone and...
Hannah: Depends on what borders it. I would say, pick a grout that best matches the material that is connecting to...

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