Granite Countertop Cleaning: A Guide to Proper Care and Maintenance

Granite Countertop Cleaning A Guide to Proper Care and Maintenance

Granite countertops are beloved in a kitchen and bath for their natural beauty, durability, and style. But like any surface, a granite countertop requires regular cleaning and care to keep it looking pristine. Aside from going to a cabinet store for your new cabinets, considering the right countertop is also important. Follow this guide to learn the ins and outs of granite countertop cleaning, protecting granite’s polished surface, removing everyday messes, disinfecting, and more.

Table of Contents

Understanding Your Granite Countertops

Not all granite is created equal. The earthy stone varies in porosity, density, and resilience depending on the source quarry. Certain granites like black granite are less porous than lighter granites. The finishing sealant also affects stain resistance. Educate yourself on your specific granite material’s qualities and always follow the manufacturer’s care recommendations.

Key Do’s and Don’ts


  • Clean with gentle pH-neutral soaps and cleaners
  • Rinse thoroughly after cleaning
  • Blot spills quickly to prevent staining
  • Reseal granite annually or as needed
  • Use sealers formulated for granite


  • Use abrasive cleaners or scrubbing pads
  • Allow spills to sit unattended
  • Use bleach, ammonia, citric acid, or alkaline cleaners
  • Place hot pans directly on granite

Maintaining the Seal

According to the Marble Institute of America, it is important to seal granite countertops during installation and to re-seal them annually to prevent stains and damage.

Granite is naturally porous and sealing prevents liquids and essential oil from penetrating. Reapply sealer every 6-12 months. Look for water-based sealers specifically made for granite. A stone care professional can also handle sealing to ensure full coverage.

Daily Granite Cleaning


Frequently dust granite with a soft microfiber cloth or dust mop. This removes dulling dirt and debris that can wear away the finish over time.

Removing Smudges and Prints

Wipe down granite at least once daily using a soft cloth, sponge, or paper towel with a small amount of mild soap and warm water. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean cloth. This helps keep granite shiny.


Regularly disinfect granite countertops, especially in kitchens. Mix a non-abrasive granite cleaner with warm water in a spray bottle. Spray onto the granite material and let sit briefly before wiping clean with a soft cloth.

Spot Cleaning

For stuck-on messes like food residue, grease, and soap scum, spray a degreasing granite cleaner directly onto the spot and let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Scrub gently with a soft cloth. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Avoid using too much force during spot cleaning.

Dealing With Spills and Stains

Despite being sealed, spills can still occur. Always blot liquids immediately before they have time to soak in. For best results, tailor your wipe and cleaning method to the type of stain:

Water Spots and Rings

Because granite is porous, water beads and rings can leave a mark as minerals in the stone oxidize. Mix equal parts water and 35% hydrogen peroxide. Apply to the spot with wet a soft cloth. Let bubble for 2-3 minutes and wipe away.

Oils, Grease, and Food

Lift away any solid debris first. Mix a few drops of dish detergent with warm water and wash the soiled area. Rinse and dry thoroughly afterward, then follow up by disinfecting.

Wine, Coffee, and Juice Stains

Based on research from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), acidic substances like wine, juice, and tomatoes can potentially etch and dull the surface of granite countertops. They advise immediate cleanup of spills using a specially formulated granite cleaner or neutral cleaner diluted with water.

Hard Water Stains

For cloudy spots caused by mineral deposits in water, use undiluted white vinegar. Apply it to the stain, let sit for 5 minutes, then rinse. This dissolves alkaline hard water minerals.

Etch Marks

Acidic liquids like citrus juice can potentially etch the polish. Rub a poultice paste of baking soda and water into the damaged area using a soft cloth. Let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing clean. This will slowly lift the etching.

Deep Clean Granite Countertops

Over time, sealing can wear down, allowing bacteria and grime to build up. Use these steps to deep clean granite:

  1. Remove everything from the counters and clean any debris.
  2. Fill a spray bottle with warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap.
  3. Liberally spray granite and let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Scrub the entire surface in circular motions using a soft sponge or cloth.
  5. Rinse granite thoroughly then dry with a fresh microfiber cloth.
  6. Follow up by disinfecting the entire surface with a granite-safe cleaner.

Repeat deep cleaning every 1-2 months to keep granite in top condition. Avoid using too much pressure during deep cleaning to prevent damaging the surface.

Handling Special Granite Stains and Issues

For more stubborn stains on granite, try these home remedies:

Dried Food, Gum, or Grease

Place a plastic bag or plastic wrap atop the sticky area. Using a warm iron on a medium setting, slowly iron over the plastic. This method further heats the gunk so it can be scraped away gently.

Mold or Mildew

Mix 1 cup of bleach and 1 gallon of water. Using a spray bottle, spray the solution onto the moldy areas. Let sit for 10 minutes before rinsing and wiping dry with a clean cloth.

Etched Areas and Scratches

For light damage, rub 00 gauge steel wool gently over the area using long strokes. Clean afterward with soap and water. This can minimize the visibility of some scuffs and etch marks.

When in doubt, call a professional granite restoration company for issues like stains in textured granite or deep-set etching. Unique granite may require specialty cleaning methods.

Maintaining Other Stone Surfaces

While granite is the most popular, other natural stone top surfaces like quartz and marble have unique care needs:

Marble Surfaces

Avoid using acidic cleaners on marble, which can damage its calcium carbonate surface. Use pH-neutral options safe for natural stone. Seal marble regularly to limit etching.


Quartz is less porous than granite but still requires regular cleaning and disinfecting. Only use cleaners formulated for engineered stone to protect and avoid the deterioration of quartz.


Slate is stain-resistant but requires sealing. Use a stone-safe pH-neutral cleaner and avoid abrasive pads. Slate can chip if struck, so use care when cleaning.

Keeping Granite Gleaming

With routine cleaning and prompt attention to spills, your granite countertops will maintain their luster and beauty. Be gentle yet thorough when wiping down granite. Check sealants annually and reapply as needed. And don’t hesitate to call in a professional, granite countertop cleaner for occasional deep cleaning services to remove set-in stains and rejuvenate the stone’s polish. By providing your granite counters a little TLC, they’ll last you a lifetime.

Bayram Gulsen

Bayram Gulsen is the owner of Cabinets City. He always had this passion to redefine cabinetry to be at its best along with his dedicated team and the author of Cabinets City blog: You can find Bayram on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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