When the time comes for deciding on what material to choose for your kitchen counters or bathroom vanity, most people instantly think of granite. Its durability and beautiful colors make it a popular choice for many homeowners because it adds to the home value. It is also a favorite with interior designers because you can always find granite slabs that will go with any design and color theme. Granite countertops are quite easy to maintain, so that’s also a bonus. However, you may still encounter some problems with staining, especially if your granite counter is not sealed and you let liquid sit on the counter long enough to seep through. Granite is a natural stone, and usually porous.
If you do notices stains on your counter after cleaning it, here are some things you can do to remove them.
Before attempting any of these stain removal techniques, keep in mind these basic steps.
Identify. The best method for removing a stain will depend on its source. Make sure you know what type of stain it is before taking steps to take it out.
Make sure you remove whatever liquid is still on the granite counter as soon as possible to prevent the stain from getting worse. Use a paper towel or soft cloth to blot it, rather than wiping. Wiping or rubbing at the stain will only spread or deepen the stain.
Choose wisely. You may have to use some chemicals to remove a stain. Make sure you use only the recommended chemicals below, and even then use them sparingly to avoid damaging your granite.
General cleaning tip for natural stones
Natural stones usually have some level of porosity, although granite tends to be less so. Most will not require a sealer, although we typically seal granite slabs before and after installation to be on the safe side. Whether sealed or not, you can minimize stains by cleaning your countertops regularly with plain water, and blot any spills immediately. If you are too late and the stain has set, you can try the following method to remove them without damaging your granite countertops.
Removing stains from granite countertops
When you discover a stain on your countertops, try to identify the source. It may not always be possible, especially if the stain is old. However, make your best guess, and choose the appropriate removal method below.
The best way to clean granite countertops is with diluted dishwashing soap and water. However, you can develop stains if you do not rinse out the soap completely, leaving your counters looking dull. You can remove this thin layer of soap scum by spraying it with a solution of ½-cup ammonia in 1 gallon of clean water, and wiping it dry with a soft, clean rag. This should restore the shine of your counters.
Moss and algae
Hidden areas in the counter can encourage the growth of moss or algae. You can remove them quite easily, but they will leave a mark on your counter. Get rid of any stubborn plant matter by diluting 1 tablespoon of bleach in two cups of water and spraying it on the stain. Rinse the solution off thoroughly with water.
Kitchen counters often play host to lots of oils, from butter to cooking oil. An oil-based stain turns natural stones dark, and it may seem like mission impossible to get rid of them. However, you can use a thick paste of baking soda and water to draw out the oils. Put a thick layer of the poultice over the stain, extending a bit over it, and leaving it in place for at least 24 hours. Place cling film over it and tape it down to keep it isolated. When the paste is completely dry, gently remove it using a plastic scraper or old credit card. If some of the stain is still there, do the process again until the stain is completely gone.
Coffee and other organic materials such as fruits can leave a brown surface stain on your granite. You can remove them using a solution of 12% hydrogen peroxide and a couple of drops of ammonia. Use a soft cloth to gently clean the area and watch the stain magically disappear.
Placing metal cans on your kitchen counters will sometimes leave rust stains on them if you leave it there long enough. Fortunately, rust stains are normally just on the surface, so you can remove it with just a bit of baking soda and elbow grease. Sprinkle a generous amount of dry baking soda on the stain and sprinkle a few drops of water over it. After a few minutes, take an damp sponge and using the scrub side, gently work in the baking soda. Remove the baking soda with water and check your progress. You may have to repeat the process a few times to get the rust stains out completely.
You may be surprised to know that water can leave some nasty stains on countertops, especially in hard water areas. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium, which dries up into white marks on your counter. You can usually simply buff them out with very fine steel wool. Look for one marked for use with natural stones.
It is very easy to maintain granite counters, much easier than most other countertop materials, and they last a lot longer. If you are considering granite countertops for your next kitchen or bathroom remodel, we can help you. KNC Granite has a large array of granite slabs from which to choose. You can check actual slabs at our showroom in Lanham, Maryland.
We do not only supply top-quality granite stones, however. We are experts at fabricating and installing kitchen counters or bathroom vanities. We also specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects, delivering on time and on budget.
Aside from natural stones, we carry some of the top brands of engineered stone, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all of which come with manufacturer warranties. Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote.