How To Clean, Seal and Polish Granite Countertops

by | Jun 10, 2023 | Kitchen Cleaning

A Guide to Cleanin’, Sealin’, and Buffin’ Your Granite Countertops, Baby!

For those fancy schmantzy kitchens, granite is the cat’s meow – it’s got pizzazz, it’s got style, and it comes in more colors than a psychedelic tie-dye T-shirt. But this kind of countertop fabulousness doesn’t come cheap, so you gotta know what’s cookin’ and how to make it sparkle.

What’s the secret sauce of granite?

If you go crazy for granite, you’ll find a smorgasbord of options, truly like a lava-fueled buffet. Granite’s like a fingerprint – every morsel is as one-of-a-kind as the volcano that made it. You might find various rock stars like silica, mica, feldspar, or quartz, all groovin’ together like a mineral orgy. And hey, it might not even be granite, but no worries – appearances are everything.

Pro Tip: Color doesn’t matter (in granite). You might think dark granite is harder than light granite, but don’t judge a rock by its hue, baby.

To test your granite’s groove, get a sample from the store, like a little sneak peek of your future countertop’s personality. This is your chance to do some funky tests, like the lemon and water test.


The Lemon and Water Test for Granite Countertops
What you need:

  • – A slice of your granite
  • – H2O, the elixir of life
  • – Lemon juice (from a real lemon, not a plastic one)
  • – Optional: cooking oil, coffee, fruity delights (think strawberries or blueberries)
  • – Decorator’s tape
  • – Granite sealant
  • – Optional: magnifying glass

Step one: Let the party commence! Divide your test granite with decorator’s tape, and then seal one half with the sealant of your choice. Trust in manufacturers’ instructions, or follow the tips’n’tricks below.

Step two: Balance your granite on a level surface, then add a tiny pool of water on each side. Beside the water, add some lemon juice (remember, no mixing!). If you’re feeling really risky, add some cooking oil, coffee, or fruity treats.

Step three: Let your granite mingle and marinate for at least an hour.

Step four: Wipe the granite clean, inspect it, and admire its beauty. Look at it from different angles, shine some light on it, and don’t be shy to whip out a magnifying glass for an up-close and personal look.

What you’re searching for?

1.  Dark spots where the water and oil were (if any) – this means your granite is a bit on the thirstier, more porous side. You’ll want to seal it and take special care to clean up spills.

2.  A slight change in shine or surface where the lemon juice was – this means your groovy granite is sensitive to acid. But don’t fret – sealant can help reduce etching and keep your countertop lookin’ smooth and sassy.

How to spiff up a granite countertop

How To Clean, Seal and Polish Granite Countertops

1. For your run-of-the-mill tidying, don’t go summoning the cleaning chemicals from Planet Porclainia for your granite work of art. Wipe the mishaps posthaste, and steer clear of placing any messy culprits upon the granite.

2. Water could be a frenemy to granite, leaving a remnant of its presence. But, washing granite with H2O remains the chief tidying tactic. Use it sparingly – don’t unleash a buffet of agua – and briskly wipe and dry the countertop once spiffed up. Water damage looms only if the stone has time to really soak it all in.

3. Always opt for a pH neutral cleaning concoction for granite surfaces to avoid an etching escapade. A gentle dish soap with agua will do. Acidic or alkaline miscreants could cause granite to denounce its lustrous glory.

What NOT to employ for granite counter-cleaning shenanigans

  • Lemon-y goodness
  • Vinegar visions
  • Citric sour-cery
  • Ammonia
  • Bleach-y beacons
  • Window wonderland (Windex)
  • Lysol lather

What you SHOULD grab for granite cleansing

  • Dish soap superheroes (e.g. Ivory, Dawn)
  • Castile knights
  • Warm water waves
  • Baking soda bravado
  • Isopropyl alcohol shenanigans

Can I enlist these to spiff up my granite countertop?

 

YESNO
Dish soap pals (e.g. Ivory, Dawn)Lemon juice
H2OVinegar
Baking sodaCitric acid
Isopropyl alcoholAmmonia
LysolWindex
Bleach

 

To clean those glorious granite counters, begin by wiping dust or naughty spills with a clean, damp microfiber cloth. Then, employ warm water with a dab of dish soap to shower the surfaces. Wring out the cloth, and use the sparkly water to remove any soapy evidence. Over time, soap’s residue can leave a sneaky film, especially on the darker granite.

Pro Tip: Ensure your dish soap is citrus-free and devoid of essential oils. These little buggers can wreck granite countertops even in teeny quantities.

Prone to scratching?

How To Clean, Seal and Polish Granite Countertops
  • Steer away from abrasive chums on granite or natural stone surfaces. Wire wizards, brushes, and sponges could leave a shabby scratch. Microfiber cloths reign supreme, as they won’t wreak scratchy havoc and will collect dust and dirt with aplomb.

  • Tempted to scrub a sticky smudge? Hold your horses! Soak those stains with water or a pH neutral potion, then wipe ’em away softly. Use a plastic scraper with great care to remove any larger villains, like dried-up condiments.

  • Post-cleaning, dry your counter completely with a fresh microfiber cloth. If water loiters on granite countertops, discoloration may ensue.


Voila! Clean granite counters sans any special, pricey cleaners.

How to oust dried spills from granite counters

Despite valiant effort, a spill may slip by once in a blue moon. Fear not, your granite will survive!

How To Clean, Seal and Polish Granite Countertops
  • Avoid bleach and ammonia or DIY remedies like vinegar or lemon. These harsh cleaners could damage granite over time, making it lackluster and prone to staining.

  • Turn to 50/50 isopropyl alcohol and water instead. Spritz the spill, and coax it out gently with a microfiber cloth. If needed, dampen a paper towel with the solution, press it over the splotch, let it rest for a handful of minutes, and wipe it away.

  • A paste concoction of baking soda and water can work wonders for stubborn stains. Apply its magic, scrub gently with a microfiber cloth, and wash away with warm, soapy water.

  • With the granite gleaming, rinse with clean water and dry it to keep that granite in tip-top shape.

How to banish stains from granite counters

How to remove stains from granite countertops? Got a stained granite countertop? Fret not. The stain’s origin determines the cleaning course.

How To Clean, Seal and Polish Granite Countertops

Water marks

Telltale water marks lurk post-evaporation, but porous granite or big spills can leave darker spots. Use warm, soapy water to cleanse the villain, rinse away soap’s trace with a damp cloth, and dry completely.

If the stain persists, try a baking soda and water paste. Stubborn marks can meet their match with fine steel wool (#0000) gently buffing the spot. But remember, wet steel wool on granite is a no-no!


Oil-based stains

A paste of baking soda and water is the oil-fighting champ. Massage it gently into the stain, and let it sit for about an hour. Remove paste remnants with a damp cloth, and dry the spot well. Be prepared to repeat for large or deep marks.


Organic stains

Fear not the treacherous food stains! Fruits, coffee, soy sauce, and more can all sully granite, but hydrogen peroxide is the stain-fighting secret weapon.

What manner of stain troubles my granite countertop?

WATEROILORGANIC
Hard water woesCooking oil capersStrawberry shenanigans
Mineral deposit misfortunesPizza grease chaosTomato juice trials
Soap scum sagasLipstick lunacyCoffee catastrophes

 

DIY and all-natural granite purifiers

How To Clean, Seal and Polish Granite Countertops

1.  Alas, ’tis a grievous truth that the majority of common DIY elixirs are tolerable not for the noble natural stone. Both vinegar and lemon juice are corrosive and bring woe upon your proud granite domains. Should thy granite countertops be sullied with a stain, prepare ye a miraculous poultice of the humble baking soda and water.

2. Combine a pair, nay, perhaps thrice, tablespoons of water with a sufficient amount of baking soda to create a viscous paste. Delightfully grace the stain with the concoction and use a gentle cloth to work thy magicks in circles of infinity. Thoroughly cleanse the realm with fresh water to erase any remnants, and parch thy granite that no watermarks form upon it.

3. To rid thy granite countertops of foul and evil spirits, conjure a potion of one part isopropyl alcohol to three parts water. Include just a smattering of dish soap, and encase this wondrous solution within a spray bottle. Shower thy granite with the mystic mist and allow it to bask for a full ten minutes before casting off any excess with a dry microfiber cloth, hence amplifying your granite’s inherent antibacterial enchantments.


A Pro’s Proclamation: Shouldst thou fancy mingling fragrances within thy cleaning solution, beggars must not be choosers, but ’tis best to avoid the citrus essential oils, instead summoning tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, or lavender.

As a more natural surrogate for dish soap, seek solace in those with eco-friendly constituents. The venerated Castile soap shall prove harmless for your granite. Merely replace dish soap with a few droplets of Castile.

How to make thy granite glisten like the heavens

How To Clean, Seal and Polish Granite Countertops

The allure of the fabled granite countertops lies within their mirror-like visage, and thou doth wish for them to be immaculate. There exist numerous paths to shining thy granite counters: a specialist granite sheen may be purchased for thy hard surfaces, or attempt one of these divine cures.


Baking soda


As acclaim’d by wizards of the deep clean realm, baking soda is wondrously diverse, indeed potent and gentle, an ideal cleans’r for a myriad of surfaces including your cherished granite countertops. Entwine three parts baking soda and one part warm water, till smooth. Utmost delicately beseech your granite with an airy overlay of the mixture and softly buff with a pristine cloth. Whisk away remnants using a moistened cloth, and set to dry the granite, revealing a smooth and lustrous plane.


Cooking oil


Forsooth, whilst ’tis known that cooking oil can, in fact, cast a blight upon granite, it too, in modest quantities, can provide an effective polish. Any common oil such as from the vegetable or olive may suffice. Sacrifice a tiny droplet of oil to a supple, clean cloth and buff your granite within circular movements. Disregard not the edges of thy countenance! The oils shall bestow a radiance unto your granite and shall render it immune to the advances of water.

Perchance thy granite appears dull by etching’s cruel tricks, whereby the granite facade hath been disfigured. Small etches can be vanquished employing the polishing powder of tin oxide, while no polish shall ever undoeth the destruction wreaked upon it by a deep etch. Nay, summon a professional to refinish the stone and return your granite to its early days of splendor.

Which vile substances dare besmirch granite countertops?

How To Clean, Seal and Polish Granite Countertops

Bleach/ammonia

Contain ya jibber-jabber, me hearties! Your ordinary home cleaners can cripple your granite, ’cause they ain’t pH chillaxed. So before ye ladle on a chunky chowder, test it on a tiny scrap o’ yer workshop, or ye’ll be facing carved corners and kaleidoscope hues.

Heat

Whodathunkit? Your red-hot cauldron can disfigure your groovy granite! Shore ’nuff, granites got heat resistance, but the sealants they wear ain’t as cool. Be cautious with cookin’, or ye may spy charcoal doodles and cracks! Best save ’em with heat-shielding doodads.

Fresh fruit

Aye, fruit ain’t as innocent as it seems, me buckos! They sport acid mantles and vibrant hues. So, beware o’ berries, grapes, naval invaders, and tomato foes, lest they wreak havoc upon yer granite. Stand guard, and shield yer worktops from them fruity knaves.

Coffee

Coffee got enough acid jazz to rough up yer granite groove, dull it down, and invite nasty stains. Keep them grounds far from your counter, slap a coaster under cups, and slap a silicone rug under your caffeine machine for double security measures.

Makeup

Who’d a thought it, right? That beauty kit o’ yers can foul up yer granite stage with its oozin’ dyes and oils; turns out they ain’t sweet harmony for natural stone. Store ’em trinkets elsewhere or lay down a protective shield on your surface.

Should granite countertops be sealed?

How To Clean, Seal and Polish Granite Countertops

Totally! Yer granite mateys need that sealant crew to fend off swarthy, spill-warped galleons. Unshielded granite; now that’s a scurvy fate, open to the abuse of daily chores.

Sealants come in two flavors: topical sealants be the surface slickers, while impregnating sealants be the soak-in sailors. Topicals are temporary and wane quickly, but both be ne’er forgotten and be relubbered yearly.


Color enhancers

Color busters are smudged on like topical groupies, but they ain’t no vanguard. They glam up the granite with a wet and wild sheen, breathing life into the rock. Use ’em to camouflage etching marks and snazz things up for mat granite crewmates.

Mix ’em with sealant, but don’t sail looking for fool’s gold instead of that good ol’ proper stone guardian.


How to seal a granite cave
You’ll need:

* Dish sauce or granite cleanser
* Balmy waters
* Microfiber cloths
* Granite guardian

(A primer on sealing granite; heed the manufacturer’s map for best results.)

Step 1: Squash yer granite with warm soapy mist (or granite’s own elixir of cleanliness).

Step 2: Dab the remaining stains with a damp microfiber cloth.

Step 3: Schmooze that counter with a dry cloth.

Step 4: Give it a rest, wait for the moisture to vanish, about 10-15 minutes.

Step 5: Unveil your granite’s battlefield with a sealant drizzle, coating each inch.

Step 6: Schlep the sealant into the granite with a clean dry microfiber cloth.

Step 7: Stand at ease! Then in 10 minutes wave the excess sealant buh-bye with a microfiber mop.

Pro tip: If the sealant dries up, top it with a little more and then make it scoot.

Telltale signs of granite resealing


Most maritime granite tales say, “a year must pass!” But it depends on yer granite’s gallivanting and how it taunts the salts. Perform a water spritz test to reveal its stealth mode; if it beads, your sealant stands strong. If not, batten down the hatches, new sealants await!

How to nurture granite countertops

How To Clean, Seal and Polish Granite Countertops

To keep your granite crew shipshape, follow Davey Jones’ blueprint for damage prevention: hot stuff and living grubs keep away; dodge the dusty scourge; shiver-me-timbers to spills; say “ahoy” only to gentle lubbers; and most importantly, never skip a sealing ritual.

Avoid calamity in the first place, matey, and watch yer granite surfaces like a hawk. Swab the deck daily with a damp cloth, and buff away bead droplets till they’re gone like a ghost. In time, them tips become second nature and ye can brag about yer granite without breaking a sweat. Happy sailing, ye granite-loving buccaneers!

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