Granite countertops are a popular pick in countless kitchens around the world. However, maintaining their innate beauty can be tricky, particularly when it comes to cleaning. Although you might reach for your go-to disinfectant or favorite cleaner to tackle cleaning the countertops, take a minute to glance through the ingredients.
If you’re not sure what to look for or what not to look for, we’re here to help. Continue reading to learn more about what cleaners are suitable for granite and which popular cleaners you should leave behind.
What Should You Not Put On A Granite Countertop?
Granite countertops are somewhat finicky in the grand scheme of things. You can’t slap just any cleaner on there without reaping the consequences. There are hundreds of cleaners, many boasting an “all-purpose” label.
Since granite is rather particular when it comes to cleaning, there are a few key ingredients or cleaners to avoid using on your granite countertops. Here is what you should steer clear of:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Glass cleaners
- Grout cleaners
- Orange, lemon, or other types of citrus cleaners
- Bath tile cleaners
Cleaners of these varieties or those containing these ingredients can strip the protective sealant from the stone. After the sealant is stripped away, the cleaners can seep into the stone, damaging its natural beauty. Most of these cleaners will dull the stone.
On top of that, once the sealant is stripped, the countertop is susceptible to stains. Grease, dirt, fruit juices, and other colorful foods and liquids can leave deep-set stains in unsealed granite. While it is possible to remove various stains, it’s better to avoid them altogether.
Popular Cleaners That Can Damage Granite Surfaces
Okay, we outlined the various ingredients above. But who wants to spend hours wading through the hundreds of cleaners to find those that don’t have these certain ingredients? Not us. So, here are a few common cleaners that contain ingredients that may damage your granite countertops:
- Lysol Lemon All-Purpose Cleaner: This cleaner contains two big no-no’s for granite countertops: lemon and ammonia. The acid in lemon can break down the sealant often used on granite countertops. In addition, the ammonia may scratch the surface of the granite or even start to eat away at the stone.
- Bleach: This one is a no-brainer since we mentioned it above. But, we can tell you what it’ll do to the stone. Bleach can degrade the sealant on top of the granite and stain the stone due to its porous nature.
- Windex: Although we’re not entirely sure why we would use glass cleaner on countertops, you just never know. The problem with Windex lies in the various ingredients that are notorious for damaging granite. Although the most common damage done at the hands of Windex is simply dulled stone, it can also strip the sealer from the surface.
- Windex Multi-Surface With Vinegar: Windex also produces a multi-surface cleaner that is hard on granite countertops. While it works great on other surfaces, granite isn’t one of them. The concoction can dull and etch the stone, leaving you with all sorts of issues.
- Disinfecting Wipes: Although disinfecting wipes are a handy-dandy tool for, well, disinfecting surfaces, you should avoid using them on granite. Many of these wipes sit in a solution that contains citric acid, which is known to damage the sealant on granite.
- Clorox All-Purpose Cleaner With Bleach: This cleaner has a multitude of chemicals, some of them leaning towards the harsher end of the spectrum. The presence of bleach, as indicated in the name, can damage the countertop. In addition, the chemical cocktail contains fragrances that can wear away the sealant.
- Pledge Multi-Surface Cleaner: Pledge is known for its distinct lemon scent. And while the smell of lemons wafting through your home is pleasant, the citric acid isn’t so lovely to your granite. It may damage the sealer protecting the stone, making it prone to damage.
Of course, the list continues on and on, as dozens of cleaning products contain harsh ingredients. Some products from a particular brand are okay for use on granite, while others aren’t. For example, Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbena cleaning products wouldn’t be the best option, but others may not contain lemon byproducts and may be safe to use.
Can You Use Lysol Wipes On Granite Countertops?
While you technically can use Lysol wipes on granite countertops, you should avoid using them to clean the surface. Why? The cleaner contains harsh ingredients that can damage the sealer, causing it to lose effectiveness.
In addition, certain scents of Lysol (think lemon) contain citric acid, which will strip the sealer from the stone. Given that the sealer wards off stains and grime from getting embedded deeply in the pores of the stone, it’s best to avoid damaging the sealer.
Lysol also contains ammonia, which is harmful to granite. So, avoid using Lysol wipes on your countertops for best results.
Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe For Granite Countertops?
Dawn dish soap shouldn’t harm your granite countertops. However, frequent use of soapy water can leave an unappealing build-up on the stone, dulling the counter’s shine.
While it works well for occasional cleaning, you should try to avoid frequently cleaning the granite surface with Dawn dish soap.
What Can You Safely Use On Granite Countertops?
When it comes to cleaning granite countertops, you don’t need any fancy chemical concoction. A diluted mixture of mild dish soap and water works just fine. Or, if you prefer a store-bought variety, look for a commercial granite cleaner.
How To Clean Granite Countertops
Like we said, cleaning granite countertops doesn’t require sophisticated cleaners. This cleaning method is perfect for daily cleaning or as a once-in-a-while cleaning option. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Mild dish soap
- Microfiber cloths
- Commercial granite cleaner (optional)
Dilute a few drops of dish soap in a bowl of warm water. Soak the microfiber cloth in soapy water. Apply it to the counter with the cloth, frequently rinsing with clean water. This way, you don’t end up pushing suds and grime all over the counter.
To make sure you have removed all of the soapy residues, clean out your cloth with warm water. Wipe the counter once or twice, rinsing in between to ensure the counter is free of soap residue.
Once you’re done, ensure you dry the counter with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. If you don’t dry the stone, you could end up with water stains on the counter.
If you’d prefer to use a commercial granite cleaner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging.
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You can also concoct a mixture with an alcohol base. To do this, mix one-half cup of rubbing alcohol with one-half teaspoon of dish soap and a cup and a half of water. This is great for disinfecting and degreasing granite countertops without harming them. If you’d like, you can add a few drops of essential oil for a nice smell, like basil, lavender, or cinnamon.
To use the disinfecting spray, wipe down the counters with a microfiber cloth, then generously spray the solution on the counter. Wipe it dry with a microfiber cloth.
How To Remove Water Stains Or Oil-Based Stains In Granite Countertops
If your granite countertop has a few stains here and there, no worries. Usually, you can easily remove stains with a simple mixture. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Baking soda
- Plastic wrap
- Plastic scraper
- Microfiber cloth
- Painter’s tape
In a small bowl, mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with a splash of water to form a thick paste. Apply the mixture generously to the offending stain, then cover the area with plastic wrap. Seal the edges with tape, so the mixture stays put.
Allow the paste to sit overnight, or even for a couple of days if possible. Once the paste has sat for a time and dries, carefully scrape it away with a plastic scraper. After you remove the paste, saturate a clean microfiber cloth with warm water and wipe away the residue.
Follow up with a clean, dry soft cloth and dry the stone completely. Stubborn stains may require a few applications to remove. If the surface of the granite appears etched, use a granite polish, then buff the spot with a felt pad to restore its original luster.