How to Clean Granite Countertops—and Remove Stubborn Stains and Water Marks

Avoid harsh cleaners or abrasive scrubbers, which may damage the stone and erode its sealant.

Granite is one of the most popular types of stone for kitchen countertops—and for good reason. Harder than marble, it has antibacterial and heat-resistant properties, so you can set down hot pans and dishes without ruining the material. Because of its unique composition, granite should be cleaned carefully; it's critical to avoid harsh cleaners or abrasive scrubbers. Properly maintaining your granite countertops will ensure the material gets even better with age—a must for such a frequently used surface in your home.

modern kitchen with granite countertops

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How Often to Clean Granite Countertops

Granite countertops should be cleaned every day with soap and water to limit the build up of dirt and bacteria, especially after cooking; deeper cleaning can be done once per week. "If you notice any spills or stains on your granite countertop, it's important to clean them up as soon as possible to prevent them from setting in," says Alicia Sokolowski, the president and co-CEO of Aspen Clean.

How to Clean Granite Countertops 

A gentle, all-purpose cleanser or dish soap won't erode granite countertop's sealant or cause physical damage to the stone. "Granite is a delicate stone, though it is not as sensitive as marble," says Jennifer Parnell, the co-founder of Humble Suds. Still, when you clean your granite surfaces, avoid using anything acidic. "This includes lemon juice, products with citric acid, vinegar, or corrosive cleaning agents, such as bleach or ammonia," she says. "You also want to avoid any scratchy sponges or scrubbers."

  1. Use a microfiber cloth to remove crumbs or other debris before adding your cleaning solution. 
  2. Combine warm water and natural dish soap. 
  3. Dip a clean microfiber cloth or sponge in the mixture. 
  4. Wipe the countertops. 
  5. Rinse with clean water to remove soap residue. 
  6. Wipe the countertops dry with a clean microfiber cloth. 

How to Remove Stains on Granite Countertops

For heavy-duty messes, you have a few options depending on the nature of the spots you're trying to remove.

Sticky Stains

For sticky stains, a little hot water goes a long way. 

  1. Dip a damp microfiber cloth in hot water. 
  2. Place the cloth over the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. 
  3. Wipe the countertops dry with a clean microfiber cloth. 

Water Stains

If you notice some water rings or stains on your granite countertops, don't fret—these are easy to remove. 

  1. Wipe the stain in a circular motion with a microfiber cloth. 
  2. Apply a mix of gentle dish soap and water (or all-purpose cleaner) to the stain. 
  3. Wipe dry with a microfiber cloth, going in the same circular motion. 

Tough Stains

For stubborn stains, you'll need something stronger than water and dish soap. "Water and baking soda are your best allies for [tough] spills and stains," says Sokolowski. 

  1. Mix baking soda and water to form a paste. 
  2. Apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. 
  3. Wipe away the paste with a soft cloth. 
  4. Rinse with clean water.

How to Make Granite Countertops Last Longer

In addition to routine cleaning with gentle cleansers, you can extend the lifespan of your granite countertops by being diligent about spills and messes. "Wipe up spills as soon as they happen to prevent stains and etching. Acidic liquids like lemon juice and vinegar can damage granite if left to sit for too long," says Sokolowski. It may help to keep coasters handy to place under glasses and other cups to prevent water ring stains. Additionally, re-sealing the granite every one to three years will help protect it from stains and other damage.

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