Stone care experts always tell you to use a pH neutral cleaner for your granite countertops. Ever wonder why? This article explains.
The proper way to clean granite countertops, according to Maurizio Bertoli
People are often told to clean their granite with glass cleaner or a solution of dish soap and water. No one has ever explained why this is simply bad advice better than Maurizio Bertoli, considered by so many to be the “Godfather” of natural stone and founder of MarbleCleaning.org and MB StoneCare.
Sadly, Maurizio was killed several years ago in a tragic accident, but his legacy lives on through the many articles and hundreds and hundreds of answers he generously provided to consumers of stone, and through the myriad students who became stone restoration craftsmen under his tutelage. Known as much for his no-holds barred, often abrasive approach as he was for his wealth of expertise regarding natural stone, read what Maurizio has to say about the proper way to clean granite countertops.
As a restoration contractor I did witness my good share of permanent damages (mostly pitting or dulling) to “granite” allegedly due to the use of glass cleaners! They don’t happen right away, but they eventually will, if the combination is “right”!
What’s more, if your particular “granite” is a stone that does need to be sealed, the impregnator/sealer itself has a very good chance of interacting with cleaner and get damaged by it!
And, I don’t want even begin to mention marble, travertine, onyx and all other calcite-based stones!
How about a little dish soap and water? Could that damage “granite”?
No, it wouldn’t, but … think about this:
Try to wash your hands with water and dish soap, then put them under running water and see how long it’ll take for them to rinse completely. To have such a thorough rinsing (which is the only one acceptable) on your countertop, you should be using a garden hose! So, what happens if you decide not to use a garden hose to rinse your countertop? It’s very simple: a very thin soap film will remain on the stone surface, even if you dry it with a towel. At the beginning you won’t be able to notice it, but as you keep “cleaning” your countertop in that way, it will build-up and, within a few months, your beautiful stone won’t be as shiny as it used to be anymore! Assuming that you can figure out what caused it (don’t expect any intelligence from the “expert” who suggested that you use such a home-brewed concoction!), you will have to remove all the soap scum, that is now caked on your countertop, by using a specialized strong chemical.
Then… it starts all over again!
Is this what you want?
There are companies out there that invest considerable amount of money to formulate specialty cleaning agents that are safe on all natural stone, and offer them to the market. Why do they do that if any glass-cleaner or dish soap could do the job?
You think about it.
The idea of having to buy specialty – and somehow expensive – cleaning products for your valuable natural stone installations may be annoying to a certain extent, but is your best bet if you care about your investment. After all, we’re talking about a few pennies a day and potentially huge savings down the road if it saves you just one restoration contract.
It took Mother Nature hundreds of thousands of years to make the things of beauty you proudly have in your home now. There is not one single piece of stone out there that can exactly match any of the stones you have. You have to respect and appreciate that, and not consider your stone like just another commodity. The way I see it, you didn’t actually buy your stone. You adopted it.
You have to consider it as your duty to give it the best care possible.
Ciao and good luck
We hope you enjoyed this article. You can find more archived answers from Maurizio at www.marblecleaning.org.