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How to Prevent & Remove Stains from Granite Countertops

by | May 17, 2024 | Granite Countertops

Granite countertops add elegance to any home. However, to maintain their beauty, proper care and maintenance are essential. Stains can mar the appearance, but with the right techniques, you can prevent, manage, and even remove stains from granite countertops.

Why Granite Can Stain

Imagine granite countertops like a sponge, but a really hard one! This sponge can soak up things like water, juice, or even oil if they’re spilled on it. That’s because granite has tiny holes in it called pores. These pores are so small that you can’t see them with your eyes, but they can trap liquids if you’re not careful. 

So, just like you wouldn’t want to spill juice on your favorite shirt, you want to be careful not to spill things on granite countertops. 

Causes of Stains to Avoid

Understanding common causes of stains can help you take preventive measures effectively. The following are things to look out for on your granite countertops.

Spills from beverages like coffee, wine, or juice can penetrate the granite’s pores. Likewise, cooking oils, grease, or oily foods can seep into the granite if not cleaned promptly. On the other hand, acids found in citrus fruits, vinegar, or certain cleaning products can also etch the surface of the granite. It can also cause discoloration if left in contact with the countertop for too long.

Some fruits, vegetables, or plants can release pigments that may stain the granite if not cleaned up quickly. It may seem obvious but spills from pens or markers can leave behind stubborn stains on the natural stone slab. This is definitely something to handle as soon as possible.

Lastly, be wary of water rings. Although granite is resistant to water, prolonged exposure to water or moisture can sometimes leave behind mineral deposits or rings.

Preventing Stains and Regular Maintenance

By following these tips, you can keep your granite countertops looking beautiful for years to come. For both sealed and unsealed granite countertops, use the following prevention and maintenance ideas.

Prevention Comes First 

While most are, if your countertops are not sealed, consider applying a high-quality sealant to create a protective barrier. Have your guests place coasters under glasses, and use trivets under hot pans to prevent direct contact with the granite surface. 

The most important thing to remember is to wipe up spills immediately to prevent them from seeping into the granite’s pores. Use a soft cloth or paper towel and a mild, pH-balanced cleaner. It’s best to avoid using acidic or abrasive cleaners as mentioned. They can damage the countertop’s finish or sealant, making the granite more susceptible to staining.

Ensure Quality with Maintenance

On a regular basis, clean your granite countertops with a mild detergent mixed with warm water and a soft cloth or sponge. Avoid abrasive scrubbing to prevent scratching the surface. Wipe down your countertops to remove any standing water, especially in areas prone to water accumulation, such as near sinks.

If your granite countertops are sealed, check the sealant’s effectiveness by performing a water test. If water no longer beads up on the surface, it may be time to reapply the sealant. Always avoid cutting or chopping directly on granite, as this can dull your knives and potentially scratch the surface. Make sure to use a cutting board as a protective barrier.

You can also hire a professional stone restoration specialist as needed for deep cleaning, resealing, or repairs. This will guarantee the beauty and longevity of your granite countertops.

The Right Way to Treat Stains

Always remember to test any cleaning or treatment method on a small, inconspicuous area first. This will ensure it doesn’t cause damage or discoloration to your granite countertops. For treating stains on granite countertops, you can use various methods and products depending on the type of stain:

  1. Poultice: A poultice is a paste-like mixture made by combining a powdered cleaning agent (such as baking soda, talc, or diatomaceous earth) with a liquid (such as hydrogen peroxide, acetone, or a commercial stone cleaner). Apply the poultice to the stained area, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit for several hours or overnight. The poultice helps draw out the stain from the granite’s pores.
  2. Commercial Granite Cleaners: There are many commercial cleaners designed for granite countertops available. Look for products labeled as safe for use on natural stone surfaces. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and always do a test first.
  3. Mild Detergent: For light stains or general cleaning, you can use a mild detergent mixed with warm water and a soft cloth or sponge. Gently scrub the stained area in a circular motion, then rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
  4. Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide can be effective on organic stains, such as those from food or beverages. Apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to the stained area, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it away with a cloth.
  5. Acetone: Acetone is useful for removing oil-based stains, such as those from cooking oils or grease. Apply a small amount of acetone to the stained area using a soft cloth, then wipe away the stain. Be sure to ventilate the area and avoid prolonged exposure to acetone fumes.

When to Call the Granite Countertop Experts

If you’re unsure about the best treatment method, consider consulting a stone countertop specialist. They’ll have the expertise and specialized equipment to remove stains without causing damage. Some issues, while unlikely, may not be manageable with these recommendations.

To learn more about natural stone countertops and their maintenance, connect with us!

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