How to Remove Stains From Granite Countertops

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If you are worried about damaging your countertop and are looking for the best ways on how to get stains out of granite, you’ve come to the right place!

Removing stains from granite countertops seems to be a very easy task, but making sure that you’re following the right cleaning method can help preserve your countertop’s beauty. So here, the A1 Stone World team has compiled tips on removing stains from granite countertops based on the type of stain regardless of how deep it is.

Ways on How to Get Stains Out of Granite

Light-colored granite countertop

Professional cleaning services for granite in Jacksonville, FL can help you restore your countertop, including the removal of tough stains. But if you can do it on your own to save money, there’s no harm in trying.

There are different ways on how to remove stains on your countertop depending on the type of stain. So before cleaning, make sure that you know what caused the stain first.

NOTE: Determine if the discoloration is an etch or a stain before you proceed with the methods below. These methods will only work on stains and not on etches that are caused by chemicals and are permanent damages which can only be removed by polishing your countertop.

Water Rings or Spots

Granite will stain from water, especially tap water which can leave behind minerals that can cause discolorations. Here are ways on how to remove water stains:

  • Scrub the stain using a soft-bristle brush like a toothbrush with soapy water.
  • Use a mixture of 4 parts water and 1 part denatured alcohol.
  • Buff it out with a Grade 0000 steel wire wool.
  • Make a baking soda paste mixed with diluted hydrogen peroxide, bleach, or ammonia. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean the stain using the paste. Rinse the area afterward.
  • Scrape superficial deposits gently using a razor blade or a Brillo pad.

Oil-Based Stains

Unlike water, oil doesn’t easily evaporate and causes dark discolorations that are hard to remove. These stains are caused by cooking oil, grease, creams, peanut butter, cosmetics, and others.

You can remove them by mixing a few drops of acetone or ammonia with a liquid cleanser. Or, you can use grease-lifting dishwashing soaps like Dawn.

Organic Stains

Stains caused by organics including fruit juice, wine, coffee, tea, and foods will range from brown to pink colors and are easier to remove compared to oil-based ones:

  1. Use 12% hydrogen peroxide. You can also mix it with some ammonia but be careful when using this solution with dark-colored granite as it can also cause discoloration.
  2. Rinse the stain and then allow it to dry.

Rust Stains

Rust stains are copper-colored and often occur under metallic items on your countertop. These stains are difficult to remove and can even be permanent. However, you can try using a special poultice to remove it.

Paint and Ink Stains

For superficial stains caused by paint, pens, or markers, you can scrape them off using a razor blade. If this doesn’t work, try using hydrogen peroxide to clean stains on white granite stones and lacquer thinner on darker stones. Take note that these chemicals are strong so use them with caution for spot treatment to prevent discoloration.

If All Else Fails, Try Creating a Special Poultice

If nothing of the DIY methods above worked for you and the stain is too deep for simple stain removal methods, making a special poultice should work.

All you need is to mix baking soda, water, and a specific liquid solvent that will depend on the type of stain. For hard water stains, ink, paint, and organic stains, use 6% hydrogen peroxide as the liquid solvent. For oil-based stains, use acetone and use rust remover liquid for rust stains.

After preparing the needed materials, follow these steps:

  1. Mix the right liquid solvent with baking soda and water to create a peanut butter-like consistency.
  2. Coat the stain with the poultice. The coat should be ¼-½ inch thick.
  3. Cover the area with plastic before securing it with tape.
  4. Leave it for around 24 hours.
  5. Remove the cover and allow the poultice to dry for 24 hours. This should lift the stain off the stone.
  6. Rinse the area with water, buff it with a clean cloth, and allow it to dry. You might need to repeat this process multiple times until the stain is completely gone.

If you don’t want to create your own poultice and risk damaging your countertop, you can also find commercial cleaning products for granite for tough stain removal. Some users have also succeeded in using diluted OxiClean to remove stubborn granite stains. But, this should be your last option because this chemical can be tough for your granite countertop.

Why Do Granite Countertops Stain?

Dark-colored granite countertop

Granite can resist most stains because it is among the less porous and permeable natural stones. But since it’s a natural stone, it can still absorb liquids which can cause marks and discoloration when allowed to sit for long periods of time.

Substances that Can Stain Your Granite Countertop

Below are some of the substances that you should avoid spilling on your granite countertop to prevent stains:

  • Water 
  • Vinegar
  • Wine
  • Fruit juice
  • Coffee and tea
  • Oil and grease
  • Tomato juice
  • Grape juice
  • Citrus products
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Toothpaste
  • BBQ sauce

Tips When Removing Stains from Granite

Here are more tips you can follow to avoid damaging your precious granite countertop when removing stains:

  • Only use cleaners that are designed for granite as much as possible.
  • Avoid wiping spills to prevent spreading them further into your countertop. Blot them with a paper towel first instead before cleaning.
  • Don’t use acidic or corrosive cleaning agents as they will cause permanent etching.
  • Bleach, ammonia, and hydrogen peroxide are strong chemicals that can damage your countertop’s surface so don’t use too much and dilute them properly. Only reserve these chemicals for tough stains and when your countertop is sealed.
  • Avoid glass cleaners to remove stains because they can cause a cloudy appearance that is hard to remove.
  • Lastly, prevent the build-up of rust by cleaning spills immediately, keeping your countertop dry, and cleaning it regularly.

Bonus Tip: Preventing Stains From Your Granite Countertop by Sealing It

Professional services for granite countertop installation in Jacksonville FL will often include sealing after installation. Although granite is stain-resistant, using an effective sealer specifically designed for it can enhance its durability and stain resistance.

Sealing your granite countertop will prevent any substance from seeping into the stone’s tiny pores so you won’t need to worry about stains and etches anymore.

When Should You Reseal Your Countertop?

We recommend resealing your countertop at least once a year, especially if you have a light-colored one. One way you can determine if your countertop needs resealing is by doing the water drop test:

  1. Pour about ¼ cup of water on an area on your countertop.
  2. Observe how long until the water gets absorbed.
  3. Depending on how long the absorption is, follow the resealing instructions below:
  • Immediate absorption: Reseal annually with a few layers.
  • 4-5 Minutes: Reseal every 3 to 5 years with multiple layers.
  • 10 Minutes: Reseal with one layer. Reapplication may take many years after.
  • > 30 Minutes: No resealing needed. 

FAQs

Can discolored granite be fixed?

If the discoloration is caused by stains and not etches, you can fix it using the following methods depending on the type of stain:
– Buffing
– Scraping
– Baking soda paste
– Soapy water
– Diluted hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, acetone, or lacquer thinner
– A special poultice

Check out the ways we’re listed on how to remove stains from granite for more details.

Does vinegar remove stains from granite?

Although vinegar does a great job at cleaning surfaces, you should never use it on your granite countertop. Vinegar is very acidic and can cause etching, dull your countertop’s finish, damage the sealant, and impact the beauty and structural integrity of the stone.

Does baking soda remove stains from granite?

Yes, baking soda paste is very effective in removing oil-based stains from granite without damaging it. It can also be mixed with other substances to remove tougher stains.

Final Thoughts

Like any natural stone, granite is porous which is why it’s prone to staining. But, take note that it is among the less porous and permeable stones and won’t easily stain provided that you seal it properly.

P.S. Are looking for top-of-the-class granite countertops in Jacksonville, FL and surrounding areas? A1 Stone World offers customization and installation services and can give you the quality you are looking for!

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