How to Clean Granite Countertops in 4 Easy Steps

Dina Cheney
Written by Dina Cheney
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated August 23, 2021
Kitchen island with granite counter
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You can easily clean and maintain your granite countertops by disinfecting and resealing them on a regular basis

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Granite countertops are known for their durability. They’re also shiny and resistant to stains, thanks to the sealant typically applied to their surfaces. Still, the natural stone is not indestructible. Since granite is porous, it absorbs liquids: water can leave streaks and acids can etch. Plus, abrasive tools and certain chemicals can degrade the sealant. 

Read on for the best ways to clean your granite countertops. Armed with this know-how, the next time you spill wine or pasta sauce on the shiny surface, you won’t panic.

Project difficulty score: 1/5Time needed to complete the project: 10 minutes–2 daysTools and materials needed:

  • Granite cleanser: homemade or store-bought

  • Baking soda

  • Hydrogen peroxide

  • Isopropyl alcohol

  • 2 soft sponges 

  • 2–3 microfiber cloths

  • Plastic wrap

  • Tape

  • Spray bottle

1. Clean Your Granite Countertops

You can clean your granite countertops with either a homemade or store-bought cleanser. The steps are slightly different depending on which one you choose.

Use a Homemade Cleanser

It’s easy to make your own granite cleanser. Here’s how to do it and how to clean your countertops with this solution:

  • Combine water and a small amount of mild dishwashing soap

  • Get down on eye level to remove crumbs with a dry soft sponge

  • Apply cleanser to a moistened soft sponge or microfiber cloth and wring out the excess

  • Gently apply all over in small circular motions

  • Rinse and dry completely with a dry microfiber cloth 

Use a Store-Bought Product

You can also buy a cleaning product, which should cost about $4 to $7. Follow the instructions on the package, but the procedure should usually be close to the following:

  • Get down on eye level to remove crumbs with a dry soft sponge

  • Using a clean cloth, apply cleanser to the countertops by spraying or rubbing in with a circular motion

  • Dry completely to avoid leaving streaks

Don’t Use These Items When Cleaning

When cleaning granite countertops, never use steel wool or scrub brushes or sponges, which could damage the sealant. Also avoid bleach or ammonia-based solutions (like window cleaners) for the same reason. Other no-nos are vinegar and citrus juice, which can etch the natural stone.

2. Remove Any Stains From Your Granite Countertops

Kitchen with a granite kitchen island
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A significant part of cleaning granite countertops is removing stains. The substance you use depends on whether the stain is oil- or water-based.

  • To get rid of an oil-based stain, make a thick paste of baking soda and water

  • For a water-based stain, make a thick paste of baking soda with a bit of hydrogen peroxide

The method for removing either type of stain is the same:

  • Apply the paste to the stain

  • Scrub using a soft cloth

  • Rinse

  • Dry well

Get Rid of Stubborn Stains

If that technique doesn’t remove the stain, it doesn’t mean your granite is ruined. Just try this procedure:

  • Re-apply the paste

  • Immediately cover the area with plastic wrap and tape down the edges

  • Leave overnight or up to a couple of days to draw out the stain

  • Remove the plastic wrap

  • Scrub using a soft cloth

  • Rinse

  • Dry

When to Hire a Pro to Remove Stains

If there’s still a stain, it probably means that the sealant has worn off or the stain is deep enough to require a professional cleaning. (You’ll know your sealant has degraded too much if you sprinkle a few drops of water on the countertop, and they disappear within five minutes.) After a professional deep-cleans your granite, they should reseal it. 

If there are chips in your granite countertop, you’ll need to hire a local granite countertop repair company to fix them.

3. Sanitize the Surface

After cleaning, you can disinfect your granite countertop. Here’s how to do it:

  • Combine equal parts of isopropyl alcohol and water in a spray bottle

  • Apply to the surface

  • Leave on for five minutes

  • Use a clean dish towel to wipe dry from back to front, using a sweeping motion

4. Maintain Your Granite Countertops

The cost of granite countertops can be high—but they’ll upgrade your home. Take care of your countertops to avoid staining and other issues.

“Many homeowners are unaware that if produce is laid directly on granite and begins to decay, it can also degrade the sealant of the granite and will cause a stain that often is not easily removed,” says Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dustbusters janitorial company in Williamsport, PA. “This is also true of hot pots and pans that are sat directly on the granite without a layer to shield the heat."

Here are some general guidelines for how to maintain your granite countertops:

  • Reseal your granite countertops once or twice a year

  • Immediately clean up spills, especially from acids, like tomato juice

  • Instead of wiping spills, blot them

  • Try not to place cooking oils directly on the surface

Cost to Clean Granite Countertops Yourself vs. Hire a Pro

Your granite countertops are an investment—that’s why it’s important to take care of them. From pasta sauce to wine stains, keeping your granite countertops clean and sealed takes a bit of work, but it’ll help them look great for years to come. 

Here’s a look at how much it costs to clean and seal your granite countertops yourself versus hire a stone countertop company in your area.

  • DIYing: $10–20 to buy the cleaning supplies

  • Hiring a pro: $5-8 per square foot for cleaning, polishing, and sealing

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