How to Care for Granite and Marble Countertops

Information Courtesy of The Stone Studio, Chantilly

Granite is one of the easiest surfaces to maintain.  By following these suggestions for use, your countertops will last a lifetime while maintaining a brand new appearance.

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Daily Care and Use:

  1. Clean your countertop daily with a soft cloth and a neutral, non-abrasive cleanser for the best results.  Mild dish soap and water work best.
  2. Household cleaners such as Windex, Lysol Disinfectant and 409 can be used but may leave a film.  Using these products on occasion is fine.  Keep in mind, the harsher the product the quicker it will break down your sealer.  Your safest bet?  Warm water and a sponge.
  3. A solution of vinegar and water works great to remove streaking, smudges and body oil.
  4. Avoid products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble, limestone or Black Absolute granite.  They are susceptible to acid etching.
  5. An occasional application of furniture polish can keep fingerprints off dark colored granite and will give the countertops a nice feel.
  6. High and low temperatures will not harm your granite in any way.  You can take a pan off the stove or a dish out of the oven and sit it right on your countertop without damage.
  7. If you have a seam in your countertop, it is best to avoid setting hot materials on this area.  The epoxy in the seam can melt if exposed to heat for an extended period.
  8. Cutting foods directly on your countertops will not harm your granite but is not recommended.  Your knives will dull very quickly.


  1. Your granite work surfaces were most likely sealed after installation by your installer.  This helps prevent the absorption of any compound that can stain your tops but it is not foolproof.
  2. Resealing depends greatly on the type of stone you have and how much use your work surface gets.  Sealant may need to be reapplied anywhere from 1-4 years, or never.
  3. To test if the sealer is working, place a few drops of water on your work surface.  If the water soaks in quickly, then it is time to reseal.  If it beads up it is protected.
  4. You can purchase sealer at a home improvement store or hire a professional to do it for you.  It may not be necessary to reseal your entire countertop.  Concentrate only on the problem areas when needed.

Stains, Lime Build Up, Food Stuck on Surface:

  1. No sealer is perfect.  The best way to avoid a stain is to wipe up any spills immediately.
  2. While stains are rare, they are caused most frequently by cooking.
  3. Do not store bottles of cooking oil directly on your granite.  Do not store rusty pots, pans or cans on your countertops, as the rust can stain the granite.
  4. Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices.
  5. If your granite darkens when it is wet, do not be alarmed.  It will return to its original color when the water evaporates.  This is an indication that resealing is necessary.
  6. If lime build-up occurs around your faucet, do not use lime products.  Gently scraping the lime off with a straight razor is the best solution.
  7. Use the flat side of a straight razor blade for removing tape, residue, dried paint, glue, dried food etc.
  8. If a stain occurs follow these steps for removal:  Mix a paste made of diatemacious earth (pool filter powder found at any pool supply or Big Box store) and 10% Hydrogen Peroxide (found at beauty salons, it is a stronger solution than most sold at drug stores).  Form the mixture into a pancake and cover the stain completely.  Use clear plastic wrap to cover the pancake and tape around the edges.  Leave overnight.  The mixture will act like a poultice to pull the stain from your granite countertop.  If only some of the stain has been removed, repeat as necessary.  For more stubborn stains, follow the same steps above using diatemacious earth and acetone (nail polish remover).

Scratches, Chips, Repairs:

  1. Rated a 7 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness, granite, which is made primarily of quartz and feldspar, is virtually uncatchable.
  2. However, it can be scratched by quartz or anything harder.
  3. Removing diamond jewelry while cleaning is recommended.  Diamonds will scratch granite.
  4. Certain stoneware dishes contain rough silica sand and pose a risk of scratching.  This includes some pizza stones if they are spun around while cutting pizza.
  5. Use trivets or mats under dishes that could scratch the surface.
  6. If you use a marble cutting board make sure the rubber or plastic feet remain secure.
  7. Chips in granite are not a common occurrence.  When they do occur they are most often caused by banging something into the edge of the countertop.
  8. If a chip does occur and you can find the piece that came out, save it.
  9. Granite is very restorable.  Most of the time chips can be epoxied back into place.
  10. Small chips can be filled with household Superglue by applying the glue and shaving off the dried product with a razor blade.

We also recommend the following product for daily cleaning: METHOD granite cleaner.  This can be found at Target or Lowes.

For a sealer we recommend Stonetech.  This product can be found at Dal-Tile or purchased online.