Did you know your typical, common household cleaner is doing more harm than good when it comes to cleaning your granite countertops?
If you’re investing in natural-stone surfaces, then it is important to know the best way to clean granite countertops, the types of cleaners that work the best, the types of cleaners that should be avoided and other things you should consider in order to maintain your granite or other natural-stone countertops for years to come.
Why Cleaning Your Granite Countertops Is Important
Granite is a natural, porous stone that has been quarried from the Earth. Like any porous material, it can absorb some of the liquids and other substances that it comes in contact with. Anything without a neutral pH, including acidic chemicals in common household cleaners and residue from foods and beverages, can cause lasting damage to granite.
This means that one of the first considerations to keeping granite clean is to make sure if you spill anything – whether coffee, wine, gravy and more – that it is cleaned up right away. Even if the stone is properly sealed, any spills that aren’t cleaned up in ample time will eventually break down the protective seal and penetrate the surface, leaving behind unsightly stains.
Substances that are particularly acidic – such as coffee or pasta sauce – contain calcium carbonate. The reaction with calcium carbonate and a calcareous stone, such as granite, can lead to additional damage, called etching. Etching is surface damage that looks like a dull mark or stain on the natural stone.
Having grown up in the stone industry, we learned firsthand the importance of a basic three-step process for proper care and maintenance of stone surfaces:
Step 1: Clean Often
Even if your surface appears clean, the safest bet is to clean it daily and after every meal preparation. The most minuscule particle could have a detrimental effect on your natural stone.
When cleaning, you should also avoid common cleaners and abrasives. They will break down the protective seal, and you could be faced with costly repair or replacement.
Step 2: Seal Frequently
Truth is, you can’t over-seal natural stone surfaces.
Frequently sealing granite countertops and all other natural stone surfaces maintains maximum surface protection, penetrating stone surfaces to provide superior, long-lasting resistance to staining, etching and soil build-up.
To know if it’s time to seal your granite countertops, you can check the integrity of the seal with an at-home water test. Pour water (about 3 inches in diameter) on the surface in several locations and let it sit for 30 minutes. If you see a dark mark or ring, the water is penetrating the stone and it’s time to reseal.
Step 3: Polish Regularly
Polishing stone provides two great benefits.
First, polishing after cleaning will bring out the stone’s natural beauty.
Secondly, it will reinforce the protective seal and provide ongoing protection against water spots and fingerprints.
Cleaners to always avoid using on granite or other natural-stone countertops include:
- Glass cleaners
- Citrus based cleaners (orange, lemon, etc.)
- Bath-tile cleaners
- Multi-purpose cleaners
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Any cleaner that is not specifically formulated for natural stone
Instead of cleaning your granite countertops, these products actually dull the professional finish and strip the protective seal, leading to costly repair or replacement.
That’s why the best way to clean granite countertops is by choosing a natural-stone cleaner that will maintain the integrity of your granite countertops.
Granite Gold Daily Cleaner® is a neutral pH daily cleaner that you can use to clean your granite countertops as often as needed. It is safe on food-prep surfaces, contains a streak-free formula that safely deep-cleans and quickly removes all types of spills and soils from natural-stone surfaces. It even leaves behind a fresh citrus scent, giving your home a clean smell without the acidity that is harmful to granite.
Cleaning vs. Disinfecting Granite Countertops
In a time when protecting our homes from harmful bacteria and viruses is more important than ever, it’s also important to understand the distinction between cleaning granite and disinfecting granite.
The CDC as well as numerous state departments of public health advise a two-step process: clean first with soap/detergent; then disinfect. The CDC states cleaning is “the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.”
Disinfecting, according to the agency, does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
Cleaning with Granite Gold® will help you accomplish the first step: removing germs, dirt and impurities from the surfaces. For the second step — disinfecting — we recommend MicroGold® Multi-Action Disinfectant Antimicrobial Spray. It’s a sister brand of Granite Gold® and has been tested and proven effective to kill the COVID-19 virus.
How To Clean Granite Countertops
Natural-stone countertops such as granite should be cleaned regularly with a stone-safe cleaner like Granite Gold Daily Cleaner®.
To clean your granite countertops, follow the simple steps below:
- Rotate nozzle to either the “spray” or “stream” setting.
- Spray Granite Gold Daily Cleaner® 6-8 inches from surface.
- Wipe dry with a paper towel or lint-free cloth.
- For vertical surfaces, use “foaming action” by pulling out the tabs at the end of the nozzle.
Perform this simple cleaning task to maintain the brilliance of your granite countertops.
How To Disinfect Granite Countertops
Remember cleaning is meant to remove organic materials and organisms that could be carrying germs and bacteria, while disinfecting granite countertops is intended to kill the germs upon contact.
Just as you can’t use just any all-purpose cleaner on granite, you also shouldn’t trust any store-bought disinfectant to protect your home from harmful microorganism and be safe for your granite. There are different ingredients and classifications that indicate how well a disinfectant will work and exactly what microorganisms they will kill. And, although they may kill germs or viruses, most are very damaging to your granite countertops.
Our Weekly Granite Maintenance Recommendations
In addition to cleaning your granite countertops, we recommend that you polish your granite or other natural-stone countertops weekly with high-quality natural-stone solutions in the Granite Gold® line-up.
Regularly polishing your granite or other natural-stone countertops reinforces the protective seal and helps prevent fingerprints, water spotting and soap scum buildup. Have more questions about how to clean and disinfect granite countertops? With three generations of natural-stone care experience under our belts, we are ready to help. Reach out to our knowledgeable team of Stone Care Experts at 1-800-475-7866 and let us help you maintain the natural stone in your home.