Tips for Keeping Granite Countertops in Top Condition

kitchen with granite countertops

Most people choose granite almost by default when considering their options for kitchen countertops. It is easy to see why, as granite is not only super durable, it is also quite beautiful and distinctive, and works for most kitchen styles, so interior designers love it as well. Having granite countertops in the home ups its value, so it is a great choice all around.

The thing is, while maintaining granite countertops is easy, they do have some level of porosity like most natural stones. They can stain if the sealer fails or you allow liquid to sit on them for a long time. It takes common sense and just a bit of care to keep it in top condition. These tops for keeping them in top condition should be all you need.

First things

hand wiping down granite countertops
The easiest way to keep granite countertops stain free is to wipe up any liquid that spills on the surface as soon as it does. Pay special attention to oils and acids such as wine, which tends to stain more quickly. It is usually a good idea to blot rather than wipe to avoid spreading the liquid over a larger area, but that should not matter too much if the seal is intact.

You should also make it a habit to wipe down your granite countertops with a weak solution of ordinary dishwashing liquid and water, making sure to rinse it with clean water before drying it thoroughly. Do this even if you do not notice any spills to keep it safe for food preparation and dining as not all dirt is visible. This habit also keeps your granite countertops pristine.
However, if stains happen anyway, you need to know what to do. Here are the steps for stain removal.

Diagnose the problem

image of a liquid spill on granite counter
Not all stains are created equal. Removing a stain successfully will depend on the source, and that can be acid, oil, organic, rust, or even water. In most cases, you can tell the source by the appearance of the stain. Oil, for example, tends to darken the stone beneath the surface, while water stains are white residue that stays on the surface.

Methods for stain removal

Use the prescribed methods for specific stains to remove it and not cause additional damage to your countertops.

Water

water stains
You might be surprised to hear that water can be a source of stubborn stains, but it can. Water is not just water. Municipal water is safe to drink, but it still has small amounts of minerals in them, specifically calcium and magnesium that makes water “hard.” Higher concentrations of these minerals make the water “harder,” and result in the whitish deposits when water evaporates on granite countertops that can be quite stubborn.

When you get water stains, you can remove it by scrubbing on it gently with special steel wool for natural stones that has a very fine and soft mesh. That should remove the marks easily, after which you should clean the area with clean water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Oil

oil products in kitchen
All kitchens have some type of oil-based materials around, so spilling or spattering some on kitchen countertops is nearly inevitable. That should not be a problem if you blot and clean it up immediately. However, if the stain has set in and soap and water does not cut it, you can use a poultice to lift the stain away.

A poultice is just a paste, and in this case, you need to mix baking soda with enough water to make the paste with the consistency of creamy peanut butter. Spread a thick layer of the paste over the stain and leave it to dry. Baking soda absorbs liquids quite well, so it should draw out the oil as the water evaporates. You need to isolate the paste until it dries out, so tape a sheet of cling wrap over it until it does, typically 24 hours.

Remove the dried paste off the kitchen countertops with a plastic scraper, and wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth. Check if the stain is out. If it is not, repeat the process until it is all gone.

Organic

coffee cup on kitchen counter
Coffee, fruit juice, and tea are all organic materials that can stain granite countertops something awful. In most cases, they do not seep into the stone, but stay on the surface as a brownish scale.
You can remove organic stains by using a solution of 12% hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia. Use a soft rag to rub some of the solution on the stain. You should see it disappear like whiteboard marker. Older stains might take a bit more rubbing, but it will get there in the end.

Rust

rust circle on kitchen counters
Rust results from a reaction of iron to oxygen, and most cans have some iron in them. If you keep cans on your granite countertops, and they get wet, they can leave some nasty stains over time. These are almost impossible to remove without a commercial cleaner, but you can try gentler methods first.

One of them is dusting the stain heavily with dry baking soda. Sprinkle it with some water to dampen it a little and leave it for up to 10 minutes. Using the scrub side of a damp sponge, rub the area gently. Check if this is removing the stain even a little. If it does, keep at it until the stain is completely out. If you do not see any change, you might have to get a commercial rust remover specifically formulated for natural stones.

Soap

dull granite countertops
Soap is a mixture of chemicals that can leave a residue on any surface if not rinsed off completely. This is not precisely a stain, but it dulls the surface considerably, leaving your granite countertops looking old and tired.
Remove soap residue or scum by spraying it with a weak solution of one tablespoon of ammonia in two cups of water. Leave it on the surface for a minute or two before wiping it off with a dry cloth. This should restore the luster of your granite countertops.

Conclusion

Granite countertops are a breeze to keep in good condition and stain free if you follow a few simple rules. These methods for removing stains should help. If you do not have granite countertops yet, we can help with that. Fairfax Kitchen Bath guarantees you will love your new kitchen for life.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products.

We sell only top quality products for all your kitchen remodeling needs, from natural and engineered stone slabs, cabinets, shelves, sinks, faucets tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, and hardwood flooring. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Schrock Cabinetry,
Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

Contact us today to get free in-home design consultation and quote for your kitchen remodeling project.

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Sam Kazanci <br/><span id="position">Owner</span>

Sam Kazanci
Owner

Sam Kazanci is the owner of Fairfax Kitchen Bath Remodeling. He has experience to build and remodel the kitchen and baths with his team and the author of fkb blog: You can find Sam on LinkedIn and Twitter.