1. Regular Maintenance
Although granite counter tops have become a popular choice for many homeowners, the vast majority are unsure of how to properly clean and maintain the stone’s surface. While you can purchase “granite cleaner” there are other ways you can safely clean and preserve these durable, yet beautiful counter tops.
Prepare counter tops for proper cleaning.
Before you begin to actually clean the counter top, remove excess debris and move appliances or items so you can reach all areas.
• Wipe up any spills or sticky residue on counter. The best way to avoid staining your counter top is to remove liquids or sauces immediately from your counter top. If the liquid has set, use a hot wet rag to loosen and remove the caked on debris.
• Wash with warm soapy water and remove crumbs or other debris. Use a basic soapy rag to clear counter tops of remaining crumbs, debris or other matter before you thoroughly clean your counter tops.
Create your homemade granite counter top cleaning formula.
Be sure you use cleaners that are pH balanced and include no acid or acidic type chemicals.
Fill a bucket or your sink with warm clean water. If you can use filtered water, even better.
Combine mild dish detergent with rubbing alcohol. Mix three parts dish detergent with one part standard rubbing alcohol. Alcohol works well because it has antiseptic and cleaning properties but contains a pH level of 7.0–the same PH level in water.
Mix well and allow water to cool slightly. You want water to be very warm, but not scalding or extremely hot. Make sure your soap and alcohol are well mixed for a nice balance.
Do not use any ammonia, vinegar, or lemon cleaners on granite. Although granite is an extremely tough surface, it is susceptible to acidic formulas, which eat away at its surface. Vinegar, and lemon all contain more acid than is safe for granite.
Buff and dry counters thoroughly. Although your counters will be clean, most cleaners may leave streaks if not dried immediately.
• Use a microfiber cloth to dry and buff counters. This will not only remove streaks, but enhance the counter top finish and shine.
• Use a new dry microfiber cloth if the other cloth becomes soggy or wet. A wet cloth won’t allow you to dry the counter so exchange the original cloth for something new.
2. Cleaning with Baking Soda
Use baking soda poultices for tough stains. What happens when a dirty spot becomes a stubborn stain, not capable of being washed away simply with your homemade granite cleaner? Use baking soda for more stubborn stains that won’t do away after a rub or two.
• Baking soda is renowned as a cleaner. Also called sodium bicarbonate, this versatile cleaner is used for everything from a deodorant and pool cleaner to a toothpaste and fabric cleaner. In addition to these uses, it’s an effective cleaning agent on granite.
Find out what type of stain you think you have. Treating water- and oil-based stains with baking soda works in different ways. If you can, try to find out if your stain is water- or oil-based. This will make your job a lot easier when it comes to mixing your baking soda poultice.
Mix a baking soda poultice using baking soda. “Poultice” is a fancy word for a soft, moist mixture. Depending on what type of stain you have, here’s how you mix your poultice:
• Water-based stains: 1 cup of baking soda, 5 tablespoons (73.9 ml) of liquid dish soap, and enough hydrogen peroxide to make the mixture into a yogurt consistency.
• Oil-based stains: 1 cup of baking soda, 5 tablespoons (73.9 ml) of liquid dish soap, and enough water to make the mixture into a yogurt consistency.
Apply the poultice to the spot of the stain on the counter top. Cover the counter top with the poultice, cover the poultice with plastic wrap, and let stand for at least a day before wiping off.
3. Sealing your granite
Seal your granite counter top to prevent stains from seeping into the porous stone. Sealing your granite countertop every couple of years is a good way of making sure that you don’t have to clean very much. A granite countertop is properly sealed when water splashed on the surface beads up. When water no longer beads up on the surface of the counter top, it’s time to give it a good seal.
Clean your granite counter top thoroughly with a granite cleaning formula. You can make one of your own, as you might have in Method One, or you can buy one from a specialty store.
Let the granite dry completely after cleaning before sealing. Give the granite a good 10 to 15 minutes to make sure all moisture has evaporated before moving on to the next step.
Spray the sealant evenly over the entire surface of the granite. Make sure the sealant covers each area of the granite. In order to ensure this, it’s best to use a sealant that has been transferred to a spray bottle.
• Do not wipe the sealant into the granite. Wiping the sealant with a cloth or paper towel absorbs the sealant into the cloth, not into the stone. For best results, resist the urge to wipe the sealant. Let it do its own thing.
Wait 10 to 15 minutes for the sealant to penetrate the counter top.
Wipe away any excess sealant after 15 minutes. If you see a haze effect on the surface of the granite, be aware that it cleans off — it won’t be permanent. Your granite counter top is now expertly sealed!