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Granite Countertop Cleaning from a Stonecare Professional

Posted by Stonexpert ( on
Sat, May 14, 11 at 1:31

The easiest method is always to watch someone else do it. If you have been gifted with the task then no matter how sophisticated or expensive the products you use the techniques are all very similar. Dish detergent is still the best, yes, the same stuff you use everyday for the dishes you eat from. Streak-free dish detergent is economical, simple and safe to use, and will get the results you seek.

Basic Cleaning:
A dish-rag soaked in hot sudsy water should be used to saturate the granite surface. Allow a few minutes for the hot soapy water to work its magic. Scrub with same soapy rag shortly thereafter to remove any build-up or stubborn grime followed with a rinse or two of hot water from a soap-free rag.

For Heavy Cleaning:
Further agitate the soaking-wet surface with a coarse cloth or mildly abrasive ScotchBrite style pad, (red or blue pads only) rinse as usual. Stains can be removed by cutting open a granular automatic dishwasher capsule and gently rubbing a small amount at a time into the stain and repeating until successful.

After any cleaning regiment and after your stone has dried some streaking may still remain. Streak-free dish soaps seem to minimize this. Use a clean cotton rag, microfiber cloth, or a white color ScotchBrite pad to buff away cleaning product residue that remains.

Maintaining Polish:
Periodic buffing when the surface is dry with an extra-fine(000) steel wool pad followed with a slightly damp clean cloth to pick up steel wool particles left behind. A spray and shine liquid wax like "Zep" buffed with a clean cloth will add some glossy brilliance.
Granite Myths and Truths:

To Seal or Not to Seal?
If water does not bead on the surface and instead slowly absorbs and produces dark areas which a hair dryer will remove then your stone is not adequately sealed.
All untreated granites will absorb water and oils at different rates and are vulnerable to staining no matter how dense, this includes Black Galaxy, Ubatuba, Absolute Black and similar dark colored stones. The good news is that granite staining is not permanent and can be reversed. Even better still, granite sealing technologies are readily available which penetrate your stone to protect and prevent these problems from occurring in the first place. Your granite may have been factory epoxy-coated from the slab producer which will prevent sealers from penetrating. The finished edges and underside will still be susceptible to absorption and should be sealed. Sealers differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, as do their quality and molecular ability to sync with your granite's unique porosity. For best results a knowledgeable professional in your area should recommend the appropriate sealer for your particular stone and perform the initial sealing as well as successive sealing or instruct the homeowner in how-to applications.

Granite Wannabe?
Not all granites are granites. All hard igneous type stones are generally grouped with granites which should rightly contain adequately high percentages of quartz and certain minerals to be considered a true granite by definition. Special considerations are to be applied for stones outside of the granite family in terms of cleaning and preservation methods. If you are wondering why your "Quartz engineered stone is not as glossy as natural granite this is because it is a composite of pulverized quartz gravel and epoxy plastic adhesives. The coloring pigments added to the epoxy and the crushed quartz matrix cannot produce the same color and light magic that natural stone can. Plastic maintenance products and techniques are to be used for this type of surfacing.

Granite Vulnerability?
Vinegar, lemon juice; acids, as well as corrosive alkaline agents will not harm your non-coated granite. Granites are generally chemical resistant and even in extreme exposure can be easily restored to their original state. This is why granite is the first choice for monuments and commercial building exteriors.
Please note that some granite processors now coat their granite slabs with epoxy/urethane sealing technologies which may require special cleaning and maintenance considerations.
Enjoy Your Natural Granite!!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Granite Countertop Cleaning from a Stonecare Professional

My installer recommended Gole from Bed, Bath and Beyond for cleaning. Any comments on this product?

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