How do you clean granite countertops?

 

This is a question we get a lot, and to be honest, one that we’ve avoided for some time.  See, we have simple butcherblock in our home, and using vinegar water, and maybe some baking soda we can clean up pretty much any stain very easily.  Our last resort for a tough stain that just won’t come out is a quick sand and re-stain.  You can do this with wood, not so much with granite.  I suppose you could say “out of sight out of mind” or “not my problem” but without having granite in our home we knew nothing about how to care for or clean it.

 

Hard as a (granite) rock!

 

On a scale of 1-10 (literally, the Mohs scale runs from 1 being Talc – think talcum powder – and a diamond being a 10) granite falls between 6-7.  You wouldn’t want to hit your head on it!  That’s the appeal of granite, heavy, durable, indestructible… almost.  Vinegar and other acidic materials can etch and dull the surface of your granite countertops.  So skip the vinegar based homemade cleaners or you could end up doing some irreparable damage.  Citrus based Essential Oils are also a no-no for granite countertops, like vinegar, the acid can dull and etch the surface.  Not all granite countertops are the same, some may behave differently to vinegar or acids.  To be safe, it’s best to avoid any harsh cleaners or homemade concoctions with vinegar or citrus.  Another thing to consider is the type of sealer you have on your granite countertop.  Some granite sealers are a polymer based and some are more traditional wax.  Either way, if you use a harsh cleaner, you could inadvertently strip off the sealer, leaving your granite countertop exposed to stains.  Vinegar and citrus oils, with their high acidity, will slowly deteriorate surface sealers and cause dulling or discoloration.

 

What is safe for Granite Countertops?

 

The key to cleaning granite countertops is to be gentle.  Not just with what you choose to clean with (no stiff bristles or scour pads) but also what kind of cleaner you use.  Never use an acid like vinegar or citrus based Essential Oils, instead use something gentle and ph neutral.

Here’s our recipe for a DIY granite cleaner

 

What you’ll need:

  • 16oz Spray Bottle – dark glass is preferable.
  • Alcohol – cheap vodka works well, rubbing alcohol will work too.
  • Castile Soap – available at most natural food stores or online
  • Essential Oils – No Citrus – Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Lavender, Clove will work well.
  • Water – tap water is all you need.

 

How to mix:

 

Add a half cup of the alcohol first, about 4oz, then add 6 – 8 drops of Essential Oil.  The Essential Oil will help add a pleasing fragrance to the cleaner.  Give the bottle a gentle mix then add about a tablespoon (a few squirts) of Castile Soap and mix again.  Lastly fill the bottle up with water, leaving enough room to gently mix your granite cleaner.

Use a soft cloth or sponge to clean and wipe down your granite counter.  Don’t be afraid to use some good old fashion elbow grease for particularly stubborn sticky grimy stuff.  In the end, to keep your granite countertops looking their best, be gentle.

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