Granite countertops add value to a home, look beautiful in a kitchen and are extremely strong. However, they aren't impervious to stains. While a liquid that's briefly spilled and quickly wiped up likely won't stain a granite countertop, one that sits on a counter for longer may stain a granite countertop. If you have a stain on a granite countertop, here's how to clean it up.
Wiping Away Hard Water Stains
You'll first need to determine whether the stain is from hard water that has evaporated. Water that evaporates will leave behind any minerals that were in the water, and the leftover minerals may appear to stain a granite countertop.
Hard water stains often appear when a glass is left on a counter and condensation collects on the outside and was then air-dried. However, this process can occur with any dish that was wet and air-dried while sitting on the counter.
Some stains that are caused by evaporating hard water can simply be wiped away. A wet sponge should remove the minerals from the counter after a few wipe-downs because the water in the sponge will eventually absorb the minerals. You might need to use a little elbow-grease to dislodge the minerals, and they might have to be wiped a few times.
Selecting a Stain-Specific Poultice
For stains that aren't caused by hard water, you'll need to use a poultice. A poultice is nothing more than a chemical cleaner with a paste-like consistency, it's usually applied with a cloth material. The chemical pulls the staining molecules out of the granite countertop, and the material absorbs the molecules.
Selecting the proper chemical component is of the utmost importance. Which chemical you should use depends on what type of stain you're dealing with:
• Rust stains call for an iron-specific commercial stain remover
• Acidic stains, for example, coffee juice and tea stains, call for hydrogen peroxide
• Ink stains, for example, stains from markers and pens, call for methylene chloride
• Oil stains, for example, stains from nail polish, cosmetics and milk, call for ammonia or a commercial degreaser
• Paint stains call for mineral spirits (although these stains may be difficult to remove)
The wrong chemical will be ineffective, and it may even damage your countertops. However, the material to apply the chemical isn't as important, any of the following materials work well:
• Cotton balls
• Paper towels
• Diatomaceous earth
Once you’ve chosen the material and chemical, it’s time to make and apply the poultice to the stained area of your granite countertop.
Applying the Poultice to the Countertops
Start by cleaning the stained area so there isn't anything on it. You don't want crumbs absorbing the chemicals that are meant to soak into the countertop, and you also don't want any grease or other barrier interfering with the effectiveness of the poultice. Simply wipe down the counter with a wet sponge and soap, or a kitchen cleaner and paper towels.
Once the stained area is clean, dampen it and then apply the poultice. Getting the area slightly wet will help the poultice work by ensuring it doesn't dry out. When applying the poultice, make sure it thoroughly covers the entire stained area.
After the poultice is applied, cover it so that it doesn't dry out and let it stand for a full day. At the end of 24 hours (slightly more or less is fine) uncover and remove the poultice. Wipe the stained area with a wet sponge, the stain should be either gone or lightened. If it's lightened, reapply another batch of the same kind of poultice and let it sit for another day. The poultice is working.
Now that you know how to care for granite countertops consider having the experts at Emco-Williams Inc install granite countertops in your home, or have your existing counters replaced.