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Granite kitchen countertops are an appealing choice for many homeowners. If you’re looking for a beautiful countertop material, granite is a great option. In addition to its good looks, granite is renowned for its exceptional durability and relatively minor maintenance requirements over time. The material easily withstands high temperatures and resists most types of stains when it’s properly sealed.

While granite has a lot to offer, it also has a few shortcomings. As with any countertop material, granite can show signs of wear and tear over time — especially when it isn’t properly maintained. If it’s unsealed or poorly sealed, granite can absorb liquids such as wine, oil, and water. Although it can be expensive to reseal granite countertops once a year, doing so can significantly extend the countertop’s life and appearance.

Besides resealing, regular countertop cleaning keeps granite countertops shiny and minimizes dirt, grime, and bacteria buildup. However, the specialty granite countertop cleaners sold in stores can be quite expensive, forcing homeowners to use them sparingly. A homemade granite cleaner is a great way to keep your countertops looking their best without breaking the bank. In fact, there’s a growing interest in DIY or homemade granite cleaning solutions, and for good reasons. Let’s explore some of the best — and worst — ways to clean your elegant granite countertops.

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Homemade Granite Cleaner That’s Safe For Your Countertop

Ultimately, making your own cleaning solution can be a fun and rewarding process when done correctly. Homemade granite cleaner is easy to make and can save you money in the long run. Here are some reasons why you should try making your own cleaner:

ingredients to make homemade granite cleaner

  • It has all-natural ingredients: For starters, most homemade cleaners are made with a handful of common household materials such as dish soap and rubbing alcohol. Some store-bought granite countertop cleaners have harsh chemicals that can harm you and your indoor air quality. When you make your own cleaners, you know what’s going into them. You can trust the ingredients are safe and natural.
  • It’s easy to make: If you’re thinking about making your own homemade granite counter cleaner, you’ll be relieved to know that most homemade recipes are quite simple and straightforward. In fact, there’s a good chance you already have what you need to whip up your first recipe. You can even customize the recipe to suit your needs, such as adding more or less alcohol or adding several drops of essential oil for a more pleasant aroma.
  • It’s inexpensive: Homemade solutions are an affordable alternative to traditional granite cleaners, which can set you back several dollars per ounce. Instead of spending money on expensive ingredients, you can usually use materials that you already have to make homemade cleaner.
  • It can effectively clean your countertops: Since the ingredients in homemade countertop cleaners are natural and safe, they’ll remove the stains from your countertops without leaving stains of their own.

What You Need To Make Granite Cleaner at Home

Everything you’ll need to make homemade granite cleaner is likely already in your house. Although many recipes suggest adding in essential oils, you can leave them out if desired. Regardless of which recipe you use, you’ll want to have a relatively large, 12-16 ounce spray bottle on hand for easy application. Here are two ways you can make granite cleaner at home.

Recipe 1: Ingredients

Collect these ingredients from your kitchen or hallway closet:

  • 1/4 cup alcohol — rubbing or cheap vodka
  • 3 drops of dish or Castile soap
  • Water
  • 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil

Recipe 1: Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these steps to make your granite cleaner recipe:

  1. Start by pouring the alcohol into the spray bottle, followed by the dish soap.
  2. Add several drops of essential oil.
  3. Fill the rest of the bottle up with water.
  4. Shake to combine the ingredients.

Recipe 2: Ingredients

Another recipe uses nearly the same ingredients but in slightly different amounts:

  • 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 2 cups of water
  • 6-8 drops dish soap
  • 3-4 drops scented oil, optional

Recipe 2: Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these steps to make this second type of granite countertop cleaner:

  1. Start by adding the rubbing alcohol first, followed by the water and dish soap.
  2. Then, add in several drops of scented oil if you’re using it. You may need to add a bit more or less depending on personal preference.
  3. Once all the ingredients are in the bottle, simply shake vigorously to mix them together, and you’re ready to clean!

How to Clean Granite Countertops

After finding an ideal combination of ingredients, spray the mixture onto your countertops and wipe the area clean using a soft dry cloth. Most materials are sufficient, but many homeowners prefer microfiber for its rapid absorption. If the surface is taking a long time to dry, try buffing it with a dry cloth to speed up the process. You can also use a classic sponge to mop up any remaining moisture.

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Although these ingredients work well for cleaning and sanitizing, your granite countertops may need a bit more care to make them truly sparkle. A water and isopropyl alcohol solution is an excellent choice for shining and disinfecting even the dirtiest surfaces. An effective solution contains equal parts water and isopropyl alcohol. Simply mix the ingredients together and spray them onto the granite surface. Let it sit for three to five minutes, rinse the area dry, and promptly dry it with a clean microfiber cloth.

Cleaning Other Surfaces

Now that you’ve made your own cleaning solution, you’re probably wondering if it will work on other surfaces around the house. It’s a safe bet to use on most surfaces and appliances, especially because homemade granite cleaners are gentle and effectively clean up grime and dirt in most settings. They’re also safe enough for marble and other calcareous stones, which don’t do well with acidic ingredients.

The Best Ways to Properly Clean Your Granite Countertops

After you find the right balance of ingredients for your natural granite cleaner, you’ll also need to know how to properly clean granite countertops. Wiping down these stone surfaces is a quick and simple process that you’ll master in no time.

It’s best to avoid the following products to successfully clean your granite countertops without damaging them:

  • Household cleaners: Avoid harsh, acidic cleaners and abrasive materials. Over time, these chemicals and materials can wear away the surface, making your countertops more prone to staining. Even though bleach won’t harm granite, it’s best to dilute it if you want to use it to clean your countertops.
  • Bathroom cleaners: Many bathroom or tile cleaners have abrasive substances that scratch and dull the granite’s surface.
  • Other household products: Various substances and toiletries, such as cooking oils, nail products, creams, and lotions, can stain your granite’s surface, even if the lid is on and the product is kept on the countertop for an extended period.

Most general household cleaners are safe to use on granite, but opting for gentle and non-abrasive options can keep your counters clean and unharmed. To give your granite countertops a glossy shine, dab a few drops of cooking oil on the surface and buff it in gently with a soft cloth. Bear in mind that granite still needs to be resealed from time to time. Everyday use can wear down the sealant, resulting in a dull appearance. Regular care and resealing will help your granite shine. After considering which products are harmful to the surface of your countertops, follow some of these simple best practices for cleaning granite countertops and maintaining their sparkle and shine:

  • Wipe up spills immediately: Basic care, such as cleaning up spills as soon as possible, is essential. Spills can mar the surface, potentially leading to dark or dull spots. Clean up spills with warm water and mild dish soap. Wipe down any bit of wetness on the countertop with a dry cloth immediately to keep unsightly water streaks at bay. Depending on the countertop’s overall condition and level of dirtiness, you may need to repeat the process more than once.
  • Clean your surfaces regularly: Keeping up with various daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning regimens can boost your countertop’s appearance and prolong its life. At the end of each day — or sooner, if your countertop is particularly messy — grab a sponge or dishcloth and some hot water. Use your favorite homemade granite cleaner to spray down any parts that look especially dirty, then wipe away the solution with a dry cloth. Not only will this keep your countertops in pristine condition, but it also helps to disinfect and protect them.
  • Scrub stubborn stains weekly: For sufficient weekly cleaning, clear off the countertop space so you can reach even those tougher spots. Spray the granite cleaner over the whole surface and along the edges, where crumbs tend to collect over time. You can also take this opportunity to clean up the dust and debris accumulated in other parts of the kitchen, such as your appliances and containers.

How to Protect Granite Counters

Granite is a relatively durable countertop material, resistant to heat and other elements you’d find in the kitchen. However, since it’s porous, liquids can stain the surface if they’ve been sitting for a long time. It can also get scratched when you use sharp objects on them. Besides cleaning the countertops often, a few other ways to keep your countertops in the best shape include using:

  • Coasters: Coasters prevent mugs, glasses, and other objects from dripping condensation onto your granite’s surface. They also provide a buffer against scratches and other wear and tear. Although granite is generally resistant to scratches, it won’t hurt to give your precious countertop an extra layer of protection.
  • Cutting boards: Granite is durable enough to handle chopping, cutting, and preparing food directly on its surface. But granite is also hard enough that it will quickly dull and ruin your kitchen knives. Keep the other working elements of your kitchen in good shape by using a cutting board.
  • Oil dishes: Keep bottles, like olive oils, that sit on the counters on a decorative dish or plate. Since these containers tend to leak or drip, keeping them on a dish will reduce the chance of them staining the countertops.
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Using proper cleaning practices and products keeps your countertops looking good, but even the most demanding cleaning regimen can’t prevent damage that occurs due to improper sealing. Despite what some experts might suggest, it’s not always necessary to seal your granite countertops at the end of each year. The stone’s absorption rate, and the type and quality of any granite sealer you’ve previously used, plays a vital role in determining how often you’ll need to reseal your countertops.

How well the initial sealer was applied and whether the countertops have been damaged by harsh cleaners or cleaning products also have an impact. The best way to determine whether the countertop requires resealing is to check for signs of liquid absorption. One obvious sign of a weakened surface is a darker appearance around the sink, which suggests that water is seeping into the granite.

When it’s time to reseal, consider using a high-quality product that can protect the surface for years to come. Some of the cheaper products may wear down faster, requiring more frequent replacement. If you don’t know if your granite is sealed, start by dropping a bit of water onto the surface. The water will either bead, meaning that the countertop is sealed correctly, or it will soak into the stone and indicate that you need a new seal.

What NOT to Use For Granite Cleaner

Using the wrong type of product or cleaning supplies may quickly damage your granite countertops, potentially leaving them in worse shape than when you started. In some cases, the damage might be relatively minor, but if it’s bad enough, it can lead to a costly repair. Avoid using the following products:

  • Acidic or citrus: One of the biggest offenders in natural granite countertop cleaners is citrus or acidic products such as vinegar. Over time, these materials dull the granite’s appearance and finish.
  • Commercial cleaners: You should also stay away from Windex or similar products. In most cases, a product like this is too harsh for granite and can remove the stone’s valuable seal, making it more prone to buildup of dirt, grime, and bacteria.
  • Water: It may seem harmless, but water is also problematic when used on its own or in larger quantities. This substance tends to leave streaks behind, temporarily smudging your countertop’s beautiful surface. However, unlike acidic substances, water-related streaking is usually reversible. If you accidentally spill water on the countertop or find that you need to get rid of water streaks, simply mix together a small amount of alcohol and a few drops of soap. Feel free to use any type of mild soap that you have on hand.

When you make them with the right ingredients, natural granite countertop cleaners will clean and restore your countertops and keep the surfaces shiny — without leaving behind streaks or smudges. Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit when you’re making your own solution for the first time. It may take a few trial and error batches before you find the recipe that works best for your kitchen.

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The Importance of Proper Granite Countertop Care

It’s no secret that granite countertops are a significant investment for your kitchen. They’re famous for their durability, heat- and scratch-resistant properties, and overall toughness. You can also find this material in many different colors and textures to enhance your kitchen’s aesthetic. Granite is considered the oldest building material in the world and is widely used in kitchens, stairs, thresholds, and other household spaces.

You’ll want to take care of your granite countertops consistently to get the most out of your investment and avoid future replacements. Proper maintenance is crucial for extending the life of your countertops and maintaining their beauty for decades. When you remove the spills from the surface and practice safety precautions, you can avoid staining or damaging them. As a result, you’ll have a reliable countertop for cooking, preparing, and serving meals.

Knowing how to make the right homemade granite cleaner can potentially save you lots of time and money, as long as you do it correctly. Remember to use natural granite countertop cleaners consistently. Steer clear of harmful ingredients, including vinegar and anything acidic, such as lemon juice. Sealing the surface once a year, or as needed, is also vital for granite countertop maintenance.

Contact Us if You Need New Granite Countertops

At Lesher Natural Stone, Quartz, & Tile, we provide durable, long-lasting stone surfaces for homes in Central Pennsylvania. Now that you know how to make your own homemade granite cleaner, visit our showroom to see how you can incorporate granite or similar products into your kitchen! Contact us online or call 1-717-944-4431 today to learn more about how to clean granite countertops and the products we offer for your home.