Granite countertops are amazing. They’re as beautiful as they are strong, and that’s why we all love them. These are investments that you can trust to last for many years. That’s why you want to take great care of the countertops. You seal them. You’re careful with them, and despite all of that effort, there’s a stain glaring at you. It might feel frustrating, but this is not the end of the world. Stains are regularly removed, and the process to do so is simple enough. Here’s how to do it.
Distinguish Between Etches and Stains
The first step in removing a stain is identifying it. On the surface, this is a simple task, but the existence of etches throws a wrench in the whole process. Etches and stains can look a lot alike, but they are fundamentally different issues. Until you know which is present, you don’t know the right course of resolution to take.
A stain happens when something is absorbed into the pores of the granite. That something could be coffee or wine or anything else that can get into the pores. Generally speaking, a stain will darken the granite because it is adding to the total combination of colors present in the stone.
Etching is a chemical reaction. It occurs when the granite comes into contact with an acid or a base. The substance ionizes the granite and can effectively bleach the stone. Etching usually makes the color of the stone lighter. Since stains appear much darker than etching marks, noting the color change is an easy way to tell them apart.
As frustrating as stains might be, the process of removing them is easy and reliable. Stains can almost always be removed from granite. It’s simply a matter of patience.
Use a Poultice
A poultice is designed to absorb materials right out of the pores of the granite. That means it removes the staining material in order to erase the stain from the stone. There are plenty of poultices made specifically for working with granite. Any of them should do. You want to follow the directions of your poultice.
Usually, the poultice should be spread directly over the stained part of the stone. (Depending on what you get, there may be preparation steps before this part.) Once the poultice is applied, you want to cover it with a plastic wrap. Tape the wrap down and poke a few holes in it to allow moisture to be wicked away.
Let the poultice sit until it dries completely. This usually takes somewhere between 12 and 24 hours. Once it is dry, you can remove the poultice (you’ll likely have to gently scrape it away). The stain should come up with it. If some or all of the stain is still visible, repeat the process according to the poultice instructions.
Clean the Granite
When the stain is successfully removed, you will want to clean the granite with a specialized cleaning solution. Usually, a little spray and wipe is sufficient. If scrubbing is necessary, do it with a soft agitator that won’t damage the stone.
Once the granite is clean, let it dry completely (usually overnight). You can reseal the dry granite. This will help prevent future stains. Try to remember to reseal your granite at least once a year.
Since etching causes a chemical reaction with the stone, it’s a more challenging problem. Still, if you find that your stain is really an etch mark, there are steps you can take.
Clean the Granite
With etching, your first step is to clean the granite thoroughly. Make sure your cleaner has no acids or bases in it. Those would exacerbate the problem.
Use your granite-safe cleaner to remove any sources of dirt, markings, or particles. Let the granite dry completely after cleaning. By doing this, you make it easier to see whether the problem is in fact etching. If it is, you’re already prepped for an etching repair.
Call a Pro
Granite repair is not the simplest DIY project. It requires you to sand the granite finish, repair all imperfections in the stone and apply a new finish. If you’re trying to match the finish on the rest of the stone, it will require experience and knowledge. It’s much easier to outsource this job. Granite repair services are widely available, and they can fix etching problems. When it comes to professional granite services, your best resource is Wholesale Granite Direct. They can help you pick granite for any countertop, and they can provide you with professional knowledge whenever you need it.