You got granite countertops because they were virtually indestructible, but now you find yourself with a dull surface nothing like the beautiful countertop you started out with. What went wrong?
Many natural stone countertops like granite are extremely hard and are not easily broken or scratched. But they can be very susceptible to chemical damage like etching and dulling. If you’ve taken a wrong turn in caring for your countertops how do you get back that beautiful surface that you fell in love with?
If you’re lucky, the dullness on your granite countertops is simply the buildup of soap film. Using dish soap or other soap-based cleaners to clean your countertops will result in a film that makes surfaces look dull. It’s an easy fix, though. Simply get a quality soap film remover to get the shine back.
High mineral content in your water (hard water) can also result in a dulling buildup on your countertops. Most soap film removers will do the job, but you can also find combination soap buildup/mineral deposit removers that can tackle both problems.
Have You Resealed Lately?
Maybe your granite does have some slight etching that’s making it appear dull. Grease stains or mild etching from acids in foods over time can make your countertops less shiny. You might need a polishing powder.
Buy a polishing powder designed for natural stone countertops. You’ll generally have to mix the powder with water to form a paste. Then you’ll “polish” problem areas with a soft cloth. Some products require you to leave the paste on overnight (mostly for stain removal).
These products are a bit abrasive so use caution and follow the instructions carefully.
If you’ve tried everything else and you still have dull granite countertops, you may need to go for the big fix: refinishing. Remember that the shine on your countertops comes from the finish on the stone itself. If the finish is damaged, no amount of cleaning, buffing, and polishing can get it back. It will need to be resurfaced.
Refinishing should be done by a pro. Start with your installer to see if he or she knows someone whom they trust to handle a stone restoration. Otherwise, find a stone restorer near you to take a look.
Keep That Shine
Once you’ve restored your countertops, keep them that way with proper daily and occasional care.
Never use abrasive or acidic cleansers—that pretty much eliminates most household cleaners. Even mild, pH neutral all-purpose cleaners have the potential to dull counters due to soapy buildup. Your best bet is a daily stone care cleaner.
Keep acidic foods like tomatoes, lemons, limes, and alcohol off your counter surface. Clean up spills quickly. Dry countertops thoroughly after cleaning. Use coasters, trivets, hot pads, and cutting boards to protect your granite countertop.
Give countertops an occasional deep cleaning with a soap scum and mineral buildup remover and treat stains with a polishing compound as needed. Reseal your countertop about every year or every other year if your kitchen doesn’t see as much action.
Learn more about caring for your natural stone countertops with Daltile.