Five Stains on Granite Counters (And Five Easy Stain Solutions)

Your granite countertops were a considerable investment in your kitchen. You want to keep them looking their best, but that is not always easy. The kitchen is usually the heart of the home, so it handles lots of wear and tear.

Stains happen even on granite. It is a natural stone and is therefore porous. There are small holes not visible to the naked eye, much like the pores on your skin.

A sealant helps protect your counter, but it does wear off over time, leaving it susceptible to staining.

Here are five common substances that can leave stains on your counters and some solutions for them.

Organic Stains

Most people love to have a morning cup of coffee. Those who are avid coffee drinkers will tell you that we worry about stains on our teeth. Teeth are a porous natural material also. Your morning joe can start leaving its mark on your counter as well. Tea is a close cousin of coffee.

Vibrantly colored fruits such as blueberries and strawberries are notorious for leaving stains on everything from clothes and tablecloths to charming little cherub faces.

The bright colors are unmistakable and can affect your countertop too. While fresh fruit is not likely to leech color into the granite, juice spills or melted popsicles are a more likely culprit.

Oil Stains

Oil and grease are commonplace in any kitchen. They are particularly good at getting places where they shouldn’t be. How many of you have finished making a wonderful meal only to discover the oil spots on your favorite shirt? Your counter can have the same experience.

Oil can drip down the side of the bottle or a pan, which leaves a greasy ring behind.

Metal Stains

Perhaps you left a steel wool scrubber next to the sink, or a cast iron pan was still slightly wet on the bottom. Whatever the case, rust can also stain your granite.


As much as we all try to be careful with painting projects, there are always some stray droplets or spills. Once the paint dries and hardens, you won’t be able just to wipe it away.

Hard Water

Hard water can be a problem for more than just your hair and skin. It can also be bad news to your natural stone counters. Hard water can leave calcium or lime deposits that stain the granite.

Stain Solutions

There are several commercially manufactured cleaners for granite countertops. You will find cleansers based on hydrogen peroxide for acidic stains and degreasers for oil-based stains. You will also find products for removing rust, calcium, and lime stains. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.

There is a range of products available at a range of prices. You can spend about $6–$18. These products would be your best bet for metal and hard water stains.

If you try a store-bought cleaner and it doesn’t quite do the trick, you can try a homemade poultice. This method takes some time but can yield excellent results.

The Poultice for Organic Stains

You will treat organic and oil stains differently under this homemade method.

Wipe clean the surface where the stain is. You can use a cleaner made for granite countertops. Mix a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Spread the paste over the stain and let it sit for at least twelve hours.

When the poultice is dry, scrape it off with a plastic scraper. Wipe with a wet cloth and then buff with a dry cloth. Be sure to use stone-safe nylon scrubbers or brushes. Any tools that are too abrasive will scratch the surface.

The Poultice for Oil Stains

The method is the same for acid stains, but there is one exception. You will use plain water mixed with baking soda. Follow the rest of the directions for the poultice method above.

Borax Poultice

For dried paint, use the poultice method with another variation. Combine borax with water to form the paste. If your kids like to make slime, you’ll probably have some on hand. If not, you’ll find it in your grocery aisle next to the laundry detergent.


Another option for cleaning stains on your granite countertop is to use acetone. Acetone is versatile, so you can use this on any one of the above kinds of stains. This method requires some added elbow grease. Rub the stain with an acetone soaked rag. Make sure it is a stone-safe cleaning rag.

After rubbing the stain, soak a new rag in a mixture of water and dish liquid. Wash the whole surface with this rag.

Finally, dry the surface with a clean, dry rag.

You can also try the poultice method with acetone. Mix acetone with baking soda to make a paste. Follow the same steps for the other poultice methods above.

Wrapping Up

When in doubt, always ask an expert. Reach out to a cleaning service that has experience working with natural stone surfaces. Protecting the investment you made in your countertops is worth bringing in some help when you need it.

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