How to Remove Stains from Granite Kitchen Countertops

kitchen with granite countertops

Kitchen countertops are like a battlefield. Everything that you do in the kitchen will end up on the countertops in some way. In many cases, is will involve some type of liquid, and some of them can be quite nasty. You need kitchen countertops that can take a beating.

Granite is extremely durable, and with the proper seal applied when needed, it is quite stain resistant. However, it is important not that impregnating sealers typically used for granite just delays the absorption of liquids, but you still need to clean up any spills as soon as they occur. If you leave these spills for a long time, the granite might develop stains. Some of these seem as if they will never come out. Fortunately, that is not usually true. Here is how to remove stains from granite kitchen countertops.

First steps

Cleaning granite counter
While stains may seem all the same, they may come from various sources. The correct method of removing them will depend on the cause of the stain in the first place. You might not always be able to be 100% of the type of stain, but you can probably make a good guess. Even old stains from different sources have a distinct appearance.

Choosing the wrong method will probably not be disastrous, but it will certainly waste your time. To avoid that, identify what type of liquid brought about the problem first before choosing the right way to get it out effectively.

You also need to make sure you remove all extraneous materials on the kitchen countertops. You do not need to buy any special cleaning products to do this, and should make sure you do not use any strong chemicals or abrasive materials. These may strip the seal from the granite and making the stone more vulnerable to staining. Clean the surface with mild dish soap, rinse thoroughly with clean water, and dry with a soft cloth.

Stain removal

Removing stains from granite is not complicated, and requires everyday things you probably already have in your home. You will certainly find them in most supermarkets and pharmacies. Below are specific instructions for removing common stains.

Soapy film

shiny counters
Soap scum is a common problem with many stone countertops because they build over time. You will only know it is there when you notice a dull film over your kitchen countertops. This usually happens when you fail to rinse the soap off completely during your daily cleaning regimen. Scrubbing at them with ordinary soap will not remove the film completely.

Your best bet is to spray the surface with a solution of 1 Tbsp ammonia and 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. It will dislodge the layer of soap, and you will be able to rinse it off quite easily. Dry the surface thoroughly with a soft cloth to restore its former shine.

Note: If you do not have ammonia, you can use isopropyl alcohol diluted 1:1 with clean water. In either case, use sparingly. Frequent use of isopropyl alcohol or ammonia will not damage the granite itself, but it can break down the sealer.

Oily stuff

oil products in kitchen
Oil is also a common source of stains with kitchen countertops. Oil-based stains come from butter, cooking oil, pastries, and many types of meat. You will recognize it as an oil stain by its appearance, as it turns the area of the granite where it seeped though darker than its surroundings.

The only way to get rid of deep-seated oil stains is to draw it out. Doing that is surprisingly simple, although it might take several tries to get rid of all of it. What you do is make a paste or poultice of ordinary baking soda and water in a bowl. Add the water a little at a time until you get something with the consistency of creamy peanut butter.

Cover the oil stain a bit over the edges with a thick layer of the paste, and tape a plastic film over the area to flatten it on the area and isolate it from the rest of the kitchen countertop. Leave it for 24 to 48 hours, or until the paste has dried out completely. Scrape it off gently with a plastic card, rinse it with clean water, and then dry it. Do this as many times as needed until you have removed all traces of the stain.

Coffee and fruit

Before and after photos of coffee stained/clean counters

Most people have coffee and fruits all the time, and these are notorious for causing stubborn brown stains on kitchen countertops. The best way to remove this type of stain is to spray it with 12% hydrogen peroxide. You will observe some bubble action going on as the hydrogen peroxide reacts to the biological material in the stain. When the bubbling stops, wipe it off with a damp cloth and dry it with another one. The stain should disappear like magic.

Rust rings

clean counters
Many people place coffee cans and the like on their kitchen countertops, which is fine if they are always dry. However, these can rust quite easily in the presence of the smallest amount of water, so you might end up with unsightly rings. If this happens on granite countertops, you can use a bit of abrasion to get them off as rust stains tend to stay on the surface.

Sprinkle some baking soda, which is slightly abrasive, over the stain and moisten it with water. Leave it for a few minutes and then use the scrub side of a sponge to work it gently into the stain using a circular motion. Wipe the whole thing off with a damp cloth and check if you got it all. If not, repeat the process until you have.


The fear of stains should not keep you from choosing granite for your kitchen countertops. Getting rid of occasional stains from your granite is easy if you follow these guidelines.

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