Granite Countertops, The Best Way to Clean Them.

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I have granite countertops. I have been cleaning them for years, but is there a better way to clean my granite countertops?

What is Granite?

Granite counters are natural stone. You can recognize granite by its large crystal flakes; 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.

The crystals in a granite countertop
The crystals in a granite countertop

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!

Granite countertops can come in a variety of colors. Dark colors have a better natural seal.

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 by computer. Then the slab is cut up and the edge treated. Your edges and counter pieces are now polished again and sealed.

From the quarry to your house. There is a lot of cutting and polishing to make a granite countertop
From the quarry to your house. There is a lot of cutting and polishing to make a granite countertop.

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 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 buildup 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 bypass 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 your smooth countertops.

Post-steam cleaning, use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down surfaces.

If you do not have a steam cleaner, read on…

Granite Gold Everyday Cleaner

What if I have stains on my granite counter already?

If you already have stains on your countertop, 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 it 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 cleaning. 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 and wipe it 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.

Granite Gold Water-Based Sealer

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 have 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 wipe the countertop to polish. The streak-free formula will leave behind a beautiful result.

This natural stone polisher spray is perfect for granite, marble, and all other natural stone. It 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.  There are no phosphates or ammonia, and is safe to use on surfaces where food is handled.

Granite Gold Polish

Restoring Granite Countertops

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.

When is it 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. These techniques 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. It makes you think about how the counter was made in the first place.

Remember that it may be time for a professional at some point in your counters life. The good thing is the granite countertop lasts a really long time.

Buy the Granite Gold line of products here.

For a Daily Cleaner

To reseal, Granite Gold Sealer

Granite Gold Polish

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