I have granite countertops. I have been cleaning them for years, but is there a best way to clean my granite countertops?
What is Granite?
Granite counters are natural stone. You can recognize granite by its large crystal flakes and it generally does not have veins of color.
Granite is an igneous rock. That means granite is formed by magma that cools very slowly into a hard rock below or within the Earth’s crust. You will see visible crystals of pink feldspar, white or grey quartz, and black mica. There is no horizontal banding in granite.
It makes a great countertop because granite is one of the hardest substances in the world. The only material that is harder than granite is a diamond. The hardness of granite makes it durable. Unlike other stone types, granite will not crumble or break over time.
Granite is a very common igneous rock, underlying much of the continental crust. So, it is plentiful to turn into beautiful countertops. Granite typically comes from Brazil, Italy, India, Canada, and China. Brazilian Granite even has wild colors with blue granite!
How Are Granite Countertops Made?
From huge chunks in the quarry, granite is transported to cutting facilities. Big chunks are cut into big slabs. Often the big slabs are shipped whole around the world.
When you go to the stone yard and pick your slab, it is already polished but may not be sealed. It is then cut to suit your cabinets. The templates can be made by hand or computer. Then the slab is cut up and the edge treated. Your edges and counter pieces are now polished again and sealed.
What are granite countertops sealed with?
Granite sealers are composed of a resin dissolved in water or a petroleum-based solvent. The granite sealer is applied to the stone creating a film and left on the surface long enough for it to be absorbed into the pores of the stone.
A sealer will not polish granite or make it shine. Standard impregnating sealers absorb into the stone and do not affect the color or surface finish. Granite polishing is done on big machines using intense friction.
Dark-colored granite has less absorption than light-colored granite. To test if your granite countertop needs to be sealed, pour a tablespoon of regular tap water onto the counter and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Wipe away water with a dry cloth. Is there a darkening of the stone?
If there is darkening, your counters could use some sealer.
The water should bead, and if color hasn’t changed, the stone still has a seal.
How best to clean my granite countertops?
Dry wipe off all of the crumbs and debris first. Then make solution of hot water and dish soap. Wipe the counter surface with the warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. If you want to disinfect you can use a 50:50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water after the wash and rinse.
Do not use vinegar, Windex, citric acid-based cleaners, bleach, or Clorox wipes on granite. You should avoid using all acid-based cleaners — lemon, orange, vinegar, or bleach-based — on granite. … That means those Clorox disinfecting wipes (which contain citric acid) that make cleanup so easy are actually quite bad for your granite’s seal. Frequent uses of these acidic substances will dull the granite and weaken the sealant. Do not use abrasive cleaner either, or pads because granite can be scratched.
When it comes to specialty cleaners, it is OK to use those products, but you’re paying for a product you don’t need. Mild soap and hot water will do the job. Just remember to rinse well because soap build-up can dull the counter. If you would rather just use a cleaner made for stone.
Steam Cleaning My Granite Countertops
If you have a steam cleaner you can by-pass any chemical cleaners. You must have sealed granite to begin with, so do the quick check, but if you want to disinfect you can’t beat the steam.
Steam naturally dissolves dirt, bacteria, and germs, while giving your countertops a shiny like-new look. You can use the steam glass attachment for you smooth countertops.
Post steam cleaning, use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down surfaces.
If you do not have a steam cleaner, read on…
What if I have stains on my granite counter already?
If you already have stains in your counter top, your sealer has worn out. Before you attempt to re-seal, you will need to remove the stains.
To remove stains from granite, 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 away the paste. Rinse with warm water.
How do I Reseal my Granite Countertops?
The first part of resealing is a thorough clean. Then read the instructions on the sealer of your choice. All sealers need to penetrate the stone.
A water-based sealer will be easier to apply.
Spray a 3-foot section wipe off immediately with a lint free cloth
Buff dry with a second lint-free cloth
Repeat the process two or three times
Give the counters 24 hours to seal before applying any polish.
My Granite Counters are Dull
Remember that sealer will not make granite shine. If your granite counters are dull, it may be too much of a good thing, soap! Using dish soap or other soap-based cleaners can result in a film that makes surfaces look dull. It’s an easy fix, though. Simply get a quality soap film remover to get the shine back.
If it is not a soap build up dulling your countertops, it is time to polish.
Most granite countertops haver been polished during their creation and you are just bringing back the polish.
How do I Polish my Granite Countertops?
Buy a polish spray that will help your natural stone surface keep its original shine and luster.
Simply spray and a wipe the countertop to polish. The streak-free formula will leave behind a beautiful result.
This natural stone polisher spray is perfect for granite and marble and all other natural stone and is also great on Corian and quartz surfaces such as Silestone and Cambria.
The granite polish is non-toxic, non-acidic, biodegradable and pH balanced. It contains no phosphates or ammonia and is safe to use on surfaces where food is handled.
Restoring Granite Contertops
If your counters are in very bad shape, a wipe type polish will not bring them back. Sometimes your granite counter can be too deeply scratched or damaged for home remedies to work.
It is time to contact a granite restoration professional to get your granite countertop professionally looked at. Professionals use special tools and either wet or dry polishing techniques on the granite countertops. Be careful with these techniques as they can cause irreversible damage if they are not done correctly.
If you are a do-it-your-selfer, you will need to purchase a polisher, pads, and cutting creams. And learn how-to polish.
Granite Countertops and how best to clean them
I hope you enjoyed this closer look at how to clean your granite countertops.
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