How to Get Stains Out of Granite Countertops

kitchen with granite countertops

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Most homeowners tend to think of granite countertops when planning a kitchen remodel, and for excellent reasons. Granite countertops are beautiful and durable, so they are the best options for kitchen use. Additionally, granite is available in many colors and designs, so finding one to match your kitchen design is a cinch.

Aside from beauty, durability, and versatility, granite countertops are also a great choice because they are easy to maintain. It is resistant to heat, scratches, and most stains with reasonable care.

However, since it is a natural stone, most have some level of porosity. It might stain, and these can be hard to remove with the dish soap that is all you would normally need to keep it clean. If your granite countertops do have stains, there are some great ways to remove them. Here are some suggestions on how to remove different types of stains on granite countertops. 

Basic cleaning tips

Cleaning granite counte

Keeping your granite countertops is easy if you use common sense. While a sealer can help delay the stone from absorbing liquids, it will not prevent it indefinitely. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Clean up any liquid messes as soon as you can. Even if your countertops have a sealer, leaving the spill on it for a long time can result in stains.
  • Blot at the spill with a clean cloth or paper towel instead of wiping it to keep the liquid from spreading.
  • Disinfect your countertops with a weak solution (3%) of hydrogen peroxide. Leave it on the surface for a few minutes before wiping off any excess with a soft, dry cloth.
  • Learn to understand the ingredients of commercial cleaning products. Some chemicals are too abrasive or acidic for natural stones, and leave a splotchy or dull residue. Use only products with the chemicals specified below.
  • Perform a water bead test to check if the sealer is intact. This is simply dripping water on random sections of the countertops. If the water beads, the sealer is intact. If it spreads, the sealer needs a new application.

Removing stains

Removing stains from granite is not hard if you use the right method. This will depend on the source of the stain. Strong chemicals might remove them, but they could result in surface damage to your granite. Additionally, using the wrong method will simply be a waste of your time.

 The key is to choose the right method in removing a particular stain, and the best way to do this is to identify the source of the stain.  If the stain is old, you might still be able to identify what caused it by the way it looks as described in the following sections.

Water deposits

 One of the most common sources of stains on granite countertops is, surprisingly, water. Most municipal water contains some traces of minerals such as magnesium and calcium. These are harmless to humans, but they do leave a residue when the water evaporates. The residue is quite hard and not easy to remove.

The recommended method for removing water residue build up is mechanical. Get hold of a special type of steel wool for natural stones, typically 0000 grades. A very fine steel wool will not scratch the granite, but will remove the residue. Apply it to the spots with a gentle, circular motion until the marks are gone.

Soap residue

Before and after photos of dull/shiny counters

While mild dish soap is the best way to clean the granite countertops, failing to rinse the soap off completely can leave a film of soap on the surface. Over time, the soap residue can build up, making the surface look dull.

You can remove this reside with a solution of water and ammonia. Combine 1 tablespoon of ammonia with a cup of clean water and shake it up in a spray bottle. Mist the granite countertops with a generous layer of the solution and leave it on for a short time. Wipe off the solution with a clean cloth to make your countertops should gleam again.

Oil marks

oil products in kitchen

It is also a very common type of source of stains as most kitchens use oil and other oily types of substances such as butter. An oil-based stain is distinctive because it darkens the stone.

The recommended solution for this oily problem is to use baking soda. Baking soda draws in moisture, so it is good, neutral substance to get rid of oil. Most homeowners have some baking soda in their pantries or refrigerators, so this homemade solution is ideal and easy as well.

The trick is to make a paste, or poultice, of baking soda with some type of liquid. In this case, you will want to mix baking soda with water until you get a paste of the consistency of peanut butter. Lay down a layer of the paste on the stain and leave it on until it dries up completely. You might want to isolate the paste by taping a piece of cling film over it.

Once dry, remove the plastic and scrape off the paste. Clean the area with water and check to see if the stain is out. If the baking soda poultice has not drawn out all the oil completely, repeat the process until it has.

You will be using this process for other types of stains as well, although you may have to use other chemicals in addition to the water and baking soda.

Organic stains

Granite countertops may also develop stains from organic materials such as fruit juices, wine, tea, and coffee. You can tell these are organic stain because it has a brownish appearance, no matter the color of the granite.

The good news is this is typically a surface stain, so you just need to loosen it. You can do this by rubbing gently on the area with a 12% hydrogen ammonia solution. You can add a drop or two of ammonia if you have it. The stain should come off quite easily. Clean the area with a clean, damp cloth, then dry thoroughly with another cloth.


Getting stains out of granite countertops is not that hard if you follow these tips. They usually work, so you will not need any heavy-duty cleaning chemicals that could damage the surface of your countertops.

You do need a heavy-duty reliable company if you plan to put in new granite countertops in your kitchen, however. Cabinets City is your best choice for this type of upgrade in Chicagoland.

We have a showroom full of granite and marble slabs as well as some of the best brands of cabinets in the country at the best prices compared to Cabinets To Go and Advance Cabinets. These include Schrock, Fabuwood, J and K, Forevermark, and Wolf Cabinets, each of which come with manufacturer warranties. We always deliver on time, so you will not have to worry about keeping your schedule to stay in budget.

We can advise you on the best countertops and cabinets for your kitchen. Give us a call for a free consultation and quote, or visit our showroom in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. We service cities such as Chicago, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Hoffman Estate, Elk Grove Village, and surrounding areas.

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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