Cleaning Granite Countertops

Granite counters require maintenance to keep them looking and performing their best.

If you love to cook in the kitchen, granite countertops are a great addition to your home. Granite is one of the sturdiest countertop materials on the market. It stands up well to everyday wear and tear and is resistant to scratches. It also resists heat well. Granite is a porous material, so it absorbs liquids. However, as long as you apply a sealant yearly, your granite countertop should last you for years to come. Applying a sealant is easy; just follow the instructions on the sealant packaging.

Keeping your granite countertops clean is just as important as sealing them. Below we share steps on how to make your countertops shine with a DIY granite cleaner.

Step 1: Clean Off the Counters
Begin by removing everything off of the counter. Take all appliances, crockery and keepsakes, and move them to another surface like the kitchen table or stovetop. Once the counters are free of large items, use a dry sponge to brush away any debris.

Step 2: Scrub the Surface
Since granite countertops have a sealant on them to keep them shiny and stain-resistant, you want to avoid using anything too acidic or basic on the granite. Frequent use of vinegar, Windex or bleach will dull the granite and weaken the sealant. Instead, a little soap and water should do the trick. Add dish soap and warm water to a sponge, get a good lather and begin cleaning. Avoid using abrasive pads, as granite can be scratched. Scrub your countertops from back to front in an "S" pattern. You may need to scrub a bit more if there is a really stubborn or sticky spill.

Step 3: Remove Stubborn Stains
If scrubbing doesn't work, the spot might require a razor blade. Use the blade to scrape away any gunk or build-up on the countertop. Don’t worry, you aren't going to scratch the surface. Simply make sure that the entire edge of the blade rests on the counter. Once satisfied, rinse your sponge and wipe up the suds. You may need to rinse your sponge, ring it out and wipe up the remaining suds a few times. Make sure your counters are free from any large puddles or leftover suds. Note: Wear gloves when working with sharp objects.

If you don't have a razor blade on hand, another method for removing stubborn stains from granite is to make a paste of baking soda and water. Gently scrub the spot with the paste and a soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly. It may take several tries to get out a tough stain. For an extremely tough stain, put the paste on the spot, cover with plastic wrap and tape down the edges. Let it sit until the paste dries. This can take a couple of days. When the paste is dry, use a soft cloth to wipe it away. Rinse with warm water.

Step 4: Disinfect the Surface
In a spray bottle, create a 50/50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water. One cup alcohol and one cup water should do it. Spray the entire counter down with the water/alcohol mixture and wait five minutes. After five minutes, wipe the moisture off the counters from back to front with a clean dish towel using a sweeping "S" motion. Once you've completed these steps, your counters should be clean and disinfected.

Step 5: Add Shine
To put a shine on your granite, pour a little cooking oil on a soft cleaning cloth and wipe it across the countertop. Buff it gently. This makes the counter a little bit stain-resistant and gives it a glossy shine.

Even if you know how to clean countertops correctly, your granite will need to be resealed periodically. Normal wear and tear will wear the sealant off, leaving the counter dull and susceptible to stains. Knowing how to clean a granite countertop will make the sealant last and keep the counter beautiful for years.