What Stains Granite Countertop?

Kitchen island with a vase of flowers next to the sink, plate of cheese, fruit and crackers, and 2 glasses of red wine

Granite is well-known for its durability against stains and easy-to-clean surface. It is available in many patterns and colors, making it a popular choice for countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. Still, you may be wondering can certain items stain granite countertops? 

As a whole, granite countertop is impervious to most stains, but substances such as water, wine, oil, and fruit juice can leave behind marks and discoloration. Granite is mainly susceptible to stains if substances are left on its surface for a long time or if it is not sealed correctly. 

Read on to learn why granite stains and what items you must be careful using on your countertops. You will also learn how to remove stains from granite countertops properly and what cleaning products to use and avoid. 

Table of Contents

Why Does Granite Stain

White cabinets and stainless steel appliances, large kitchen island, dark hardwood flooring

While granite is resistant to most stains, no stone is impenetrable to all materials. Though granite is less porous than stones like marble and limestone, it still has a porosity level varying between 0.4 and 1.5 percent. This slight porosity means if staining agents such as red wine, oil, and tea are allowed to sit on granite countertops for long periods of time, they will leave behind discoloration and marks. 

Granite also can easily get stains if you do not seal it properly. Since granite has tiny pores, a sealant is needed to protect your countertops. The seal acts as a barrier between the granite stone and any substance or item that you place on it. To best protect your granite against stains, reseal your countertops at least once a year and only use cleaning products made for granite. 

In addition to stains, you need to worry about foods, drinks, and chemicals etching your countertop. Etching is when the surface of your countertop becomes dull due to a chemical reaction from acidic substances. The best way to prevent etching is to seal your countertops with a sealant made for granite and to polish your counters frequently. 

Now that you know why granite can be susceptible to staining and etching, you may be wondering what items you need to be careful using on your countertops. Here are some staining agents that can leave behind a mess on your granite. 

Wine

Wine can be a pesky staining agent since even a tiny spill can lead to a mark on your pristine countertop. In particular, red wine can leave stains and etchings that are hard to get out because of its high acidity. Be mindful of wine spilling on white and light-colored granite, as these are most likely to show stains.

Fruit Juice

Close up of a bowl of purple grapes in a kitchen counter

A spilled glass of grape or berry juice can mean a mess for your countertops. The liquid from these fruits can easily seep into the tiny pores of your granite and leave behind etching on your countertop because of their high acidity levels. 

Since the fruits in juice are what cause it to stain, also be mindful of leaving berries to sit on your counter. If you plan on leaving them out on your countertop, put them in a bowl or on a plate, as cartons can easily leak juice onto your granite. 

Oil and Grease

Oil and grease test granite’s stain resistance. These stains can easily occur in your kitchen from cooking oil splattering from a frying pan or from placing a greasy pot on your counter. Oils from makeup, creams, and lotion can also stain granite bathroom counters. Make sure to clean oil spots quickly, or they will leave behind a dark stain. 

Coffee and Tea

One of the worst feelings is to brew a fresh cup of coffee or tea in the morning, only to knock it over and watch it spill all over your counters. The staining agents in coffee and tea can quickly leave behind a giant brown stain on your granite. Make sure to use coasters so your hot beverage does not leave a ring stain on your counter. 

Rust

Rust is the most difficult stain to remove from any stone, including granite, and this type of stain will leave behind an unsightly spot that is resistant to most cleaners. To prevent rust from building up on your countertops, soak up spills immediately, clean your granite regularly, and keep your granite dry.  

Can Granite Get Water Stains?

Stainless steel kitchen sink with silver faucet, cream and brown granite counters, dark wood floor, dinning table and chairs in the background

Water stains are one of the most commonly found stains on granite countertops. These types of stains generally occur in two forms.

Simple Water Stains

Simple water stains are a type of stain that leave unsightly water rings on granite. These stains occur due to condensation left behind from glasses and mugs that have been placed on the countertop for a long time. The best way to prevent simple water stains is to use coasters so your drinking glass is not directly on the granite surface. 

Hard Water Stains

Another type of water stain is hard water. One place that is particularly susceptible to hard water stains is the area around your sink. Hard water from your faucets has high concentrations of calcium and magnesium, which can leave behind deposits on the rims of your sink. 

Hard water stains are much more challenging to clean compared to simple water stains. If you do not regularly wipe up water spills or leaks around your sink, the deposits from minerals in the hard water will leave behind a gray stain. 

Can Granite Stains Be Removed?

Hand with a yellow dish washing glove on holding a blue rag cleaning the counter

While seeing stains on your granite countertops can cause you to panic, do not worry as the stains are rarely permanent, and there are many ways to remove them.

It is not recommended that you use any old cleaning product around your house on granite stains. Many common cleaning agents have corrosive or acidic ingredients which can lead to etching on your countertops. Here are a few recommended ways to get stains out of your granite.

Soap and Water

Before using any products, simply use mild dish soap, water, and a kitchen sponge to remove the stain. This cleaning method will remove most stains from your countertop. 

Baking Soda and Water

If soap and water do not work, try a baking soda poultice. Mix baking soda and water together until both form a paste. Spread the baking soda paste on the stain and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic, secure it with tape, and leave it on the stain. After 24 hours, remove the plastic wrap and scrape off the baking soda mixture, and your stain should be gone. 

Granite Safe Cleaning Products

Stone Care International Stone Stain Remover - 10 Ounce - Stain Remover for Food, Coffee, Red Wine, Ink, Mildew, Oil Stains

Sometimes, home remedies do not remove the stain from your countertop, and you need something stronger. Commercial grade poultices like Stone Care Granite and Stone Stain Remover or granite cleaners like Rock Doctor Granite and Quartz Cleaner are great options to remove tough stains. 

Some Reddit and Houzz users also reported success using OxiClean with water to remove red wine and hard water deposits. However, this method should be a last resort as the chemicals in OxiClean can be tough on granite.

Try your best to only use cleaning agents specifically designed for granite, as certain products can damage the sealant of your countertop, making it more susceptible to stains. 

You should also avoid using glass cleaners to remove stains as they can leave a film behind, damaging your countertops’ appearance. A family member told me glass cleaners make their dark granite countertops have a cloudy appearance, and it is tough to remove the film.

The best way to prevent stains from ruining your granite countertops is to clean up spills as quickly as possible and to use proper cleaning and sealant products made specifically for granite. 

Will Bleach Remove Granite Stains

Bleach is a powerful cleaning agent known to remove even the toughest stains. While bleach may remove stains from your granite, it is not the best product to use as it can damage your countertop’s surface. 

The harsh chemicals in bleach can cause your granite’s surface to become dull and can also damage the protective seal on your countertop. In severe cases, using too much bleach can even change the color of your granite. 

Bleach should be reserved for only the toughest stains and for when your granite is fully protected with a sealant. You should not use it as an all-purpose cleaner. If you do need to use bleach on your granite, be sure to dilute it with water, as it should not be used to clean any surface at its full strength. 

Conclusion

Granite is a low-maintenance and durable option for your kitchen and bathroom countertops, but it is susceptible to staining like any surface. By following the tips in this article, you will know what items to be careful using and keep your countertops protected for years to come. 

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