The co-author of this article is Michelle Driscoll. Michelle Driscoll is the owner of the Mulberry Maids Cleaning Service in Colorado. She received a Master of Health degree from the Colorado School of Health in 2016 and understands how important a clean environment is for health.
The number of sources used in this article is 18. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.
Although granite countertops are very popular, some do not know how to clean and care for the surface of the stone. Hard granite is prone to contamination, and you will gradually remove the protective surface layer if you use the wrong cleaning agent. Wipe up spilled liquid immediately, and then use a special granite cleaner or homemade mixture to clean and sanitize the countertop. If the protective coating is worn off (usually after 2-3 years), apply a new coat to protect the countertop from dirt.
Tools and technology for cleaning granite countertops
Being a natural stone, granite countertops are often sanded to protect the surface from staining and other types of damage. There are some types of granite that cannot be covered with a finishing layer, for example, black granite. Before you start cleaning it, you should know if granite is covered with an airtight finish or not. You can do a simple water test. If water is collected in balls on the countertop, then granite is covered with a finishing layer. If the water flows and drowns in granite, your countertop does not have a sealant.
The main feature of cleaning granite countertops and most stone coatings is the use of a neutral, non-chelating detergent. Most cleaning products, including glass cleaners, have additives known as chelates. They dissolve mineral lumps in water, softening water and increasing cleaning efficiency. Good idea overall, but not for stone. Chelating agents do not know the difference between the minerals in stone and in water.
They respond to both those and those, resulting in microscopic etching of the stone. For this reason, over time, the granite surface seems to be sandy. A cleaner for granite countertops, designed for stone, as a rule, they are marked because they do not have chelating agents, they must also be neutral.
Here are some tips to keep your granite in good condition:
Granite consists mainly of silicates: quartz, feldspar, mica, and due to this, colorful specks and sparkling veins are visible in it. Such colorfulness makes granite interesting for decorating kitchens and baths. This is one of the most durable stones used for interior decoration. Granite is resistant to heat, water, it is not easy to scratch or destroy it with acids in the kitchen. In addition, granite has antibacterial properties.
Nevertheless, it makes sense to protect the surface of granite so that it lasts longer. A special sealant is produced, during the processing of which the granite surface is compacted and protected from stains. This tool should be designed specifically for the kitchen, so that toxic substances do not form when the treated surface interacts with food products.
You can also use the following tips:
- Always use coasters for glasses, especially under those in which alcoholic drinks or citrus juices are poured, and do not forget about coasters for dishes with hot dishes.
- Do not place dirty substances - frying oil, cosmetics and oil-based creams directly on the granite surface of the countertop.
- Protect the granite floor from abrasive substances, sand and dirt. Wipe them more often from dust with a dry mop.
- Minimize floor contamination by placing mats near the front door — indoors and out.
- When using a vacuum cleaner to clean the granite floor, make sure that the attachments and wheels are in top-notch shape, as worn-out equipment can scratch granite.
- Do not leave puddles of spilled liquids on the granite. Blot immediately, without rubbing, with a paper towel (when wiped, the puddle becomes wider). Wash the place with a mixture of water and a mild dishwashing soap, repeat this several times. Dry with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary.
- Avoid harsh cleaners. Granite may contain small amounts of minerals that are sensitive to acid, so do not use cleaners containing lemon, vinegar, or other acids. Do not use abrasive powders or abrasive creams designed to remove rust. Stay away from ammonia, bleach, and cleaning products containing solvents or caustic that can remove protective sealant from granite.
Safe cleaning solutions for granite
Granite work surfaces should be cleaned daily with a damp cloth or a damp cloth with a small amount of mild dishwashing liquid, and then wiped dry with a microfiber towel. For deeper cleaning, fill the aerosol dispenser with equal parts of alcohol and water. This mixture gives the granite surface a pleasant shine.
You can use a commercially available cleaner for stone surfaces. Ready spray safely cleans granite countertops, floors, walls and showers.
Most importantly, granite surfaces need to be cleaned with a soft cotton cloth or a mop with a clean rag and use neutral cleaners, mild liquid dishwashing detergents, or prepared cleaners designed specifically for granite. After cleaning with soapy water, wash the surface with water and wipe it dry with a soft cloth to remove stains and streaks from water.
Removing stains from a granite surface
Although granite surfaces get little dirty, stains can still form on them, especially in places where food is cooked, or in the bathroom and shower. Common spots are oily or organic. At the spot of oil stains, the stone darkens. Try to wash such a stain with a liquid detergent with bleach. Stains from organic substances (coffee, tea, tobacco, various foods) are pinkish-brown. Try to remove the stain with hydrogen peroxide. If necessary, use only wooden or plastic scrapers. If you have to use ammonia or acetone, the airtight layer may break, and you will have to re-coat the granite with sealant.
How to remove limescale from granite?
Limescale and efflorescence on natural or artificial stone have an unsightly appearance. But everyone wants granite or marble surfaces to look perfect. The best solution to keep them clean is regular cleaning. The easiest way to deal with limescale when its layer is small. With regular cleaning with any soapy composition and soft brush, you can keep even those places that are often wet (for example, in the kitchen, bathroom or shower) clean.
In case of severe pollution, special cleaners will help restore the original appearance of furniture and stone trim. They are suitable for granite, marble and other materials. In our online store there is a variety of chemistry for stone, for example:
- Spot removers.
- Compositions for daily cleaning.
- Means for cleaning lime scale, rust.
- Dyes for stone.
- Adhesive products.
Why not use acid when cleaning stone surfaces?
We must refrain from using vinegar or lemon juice to remove limescale and rust on limestone, marble or granite surfaces. Such acids can be used, for example, when descaling a teapot made of plastic or stainless steel. However, calcium carbonate (which you are striving to remove) is not only the main ingredient in limescale. It is also found in granite and marble. For this reason, you must very carefully choose the means for removing limescale on natural or artificial stone. A strong cleaner that dissolves calcium carbonate can damage marble or granite countertops.
Gloss of glossy surfaces of any stone can be muffled by acid-containing cleaning compounds. Such agents can create microroughnesses. Thus, after applying vinegar, a dull abrasive area may appear on the polished surface of the stone.
Also, do not try to clean the scale with any metal tools. When removing limescale, a knife can damage the surface underneath. This applies equally to natural and artificial stone.
There are specialized cleaners for natural stone. For the reasons described above, it is better to use acid-free products. This is important when cleaning countertops or tiles made of limestone, granite or marble. Detergent must be applied to the surface to be cleaned, wiped with a damp cloth or a rag and left for a while. If the pollution is severe, it is recommended to cover this area with plastic wrap.
What to do if there is no special stone cleaner at hand?
If there is no specialized tool for cleaning stone surfaces, you can use baking soda dissolved in water. The table top must be washed with a soft brush or sponge. When cleaning stains, you need to gently rub, as grease and dirt will subsequently collect in the microscopic scratches that form on the surfaces.
Another improvised tool that can clean granite, marble or artificial stone can be done by mixing ground chalk with hydrogen peroxide. The consistency should be approximately like that of thick sour cream. It is necessary to apply the mixture to the stain and cover with a film. After drying, the crust is removed from the chalk, the surface is wiped with a rag. The procedure can be repeated several times.
There are various means for the manufacture, repair and care of stone products, for example, epoxy resin, which you can buy in our online store.