Stone countertops are a major investment in a home’s value, and the last thing you want is to damage a surface that should last as long as the home. However, improper maintenance and cleaning of natural stone like granite and marble can lead to a noticeable haze or cloudiness that detracts from the appearance of your countertops. Depending on the severity and cause of the problem, the cloudy appearance of your stone may be reversible. If you’re new to natural stone care, here are some of the reasons your stone countertops might be cloudy.
Abrasive Cleaning Products
Never use products that are acidic or abrasive in nature when cleaning natural stone countertops. Using corrosive or acidic cleaning products on granite and especially marble can eat away at the stone and leave discolored spots or a cloudy appearance to the entire surface. When you use the wrong cleaning product, you can destroy the polished layer and cause damage to the stone.
Food and Drinks
In addition to corrosive cleaning products, spilling acidic food and drinks on natural stone can lead to damage and dullness over time. This will be more noticeable if you fail to seal your stone regularly. Sealing provides a protective layer that stops liquids from saturating into the stone. Be careful to wipe up spills right away, especially if they are organic such as coffee, food, fruit, and tea, or oil-based such as cooking oil, grease, and milk. Acids like citrus juice can also cause serious damage called etching.
Hazing After Sealing Stone
You may also notice a haze or cloudiness after sealing your stone countertops if you didn’t seal them correctly. In this case, the haze is the result of allowing the sealer to dry on the surface of the stone. The correct way to seal stone is to apply the sealer in three-foot sections and buff it into the stone until the surface is completely dry. Never simply apply a sealer and allow it to “soak in.”
Dullness from Improper Cleaning
If your countertops are more dull than cloudy, the problem may be that you are using the incorrect cleaning product that isn’t necessarily damaging the stone but is instead leaving a film. Granite can be safely cleaned with mild dish soap and water, but this can leave a layer of soap film that dulls the appearance of the stone. Even the water from the sponge or towel you use can leave cloudiness on your counters. Because granite and even marble is so brilliant and shiny, cleaning it with anything but a specially formulated stone cleaner is like cleaning glass without glass cleaner: every streak can show.
Use a non-acidic natural stone cleaner to remove soap film and hard water deposits. At Granite Gold®, we recommend deep cleaning your countertops with a granite countertop cleaner like Granite Gold Daily Cleaner® before agitating the surface with the Granite Gold Scrub Sponge® and drying. This should remove the cloudiness and allow you to follow up with simple daily cleaning. To learn more about caring for natural stone like granite, marble, and travertine and to find out about the products we provide, call us today at 1-800-475-STONE.