Cleaning Granite Countertops Safely

Today Susan writes:

Dear Diva, A friend of mine just told me I could use regular Pledge on my granite countertops. Is this true? I’ve used Pledge on my wooden surfaces but it just doesn’t seem like the thing to use on granite. Please help, I’m confused! Cleaning granite countertops safely is what I’m after here.

Dear Susan, you will hear a lot of other people’s advice on what they think you can use to clean or polish your granite countertops. And Pledge is one of those items that even some of the high-profile websites have readily endorsed lately. However this advice could be absolutely wrong for your countertops. Despite the fact that the can of Pledge even says that it can be used on granite and marble alike, there is some fine print that should be noted. Right on the can and on their own website Pledge specifies that it is ‘safe to use only on finished, sealed surfaces.’

1) Important Warranty and Disclaimer Information – Unfortunately, though, none of the high-profile websites or your friend probably mentioned that disclaimer. This is a shame because it could cause a problem if your granite has never been sealed or is in need of a fresh coat of sealer. If your granite countertops were made in the last couple years than the odds are pretty good that they have the lifetime (15 year) warranty and seal. If this is the case than you could probably use Pledge and be perfectly fine.  However, if your granite countertops are older or in need of a sealer, you could have some discoloration or staining appear depending onCleaning Granite Countertops Safely the colors in your granite.

2) Read the Product Label – This is why I always recommend reading the entire label (fine print and all), on any product you are going to use on your countertops and when possible contacting the company who provided your countertops to find out what the manufacturer suggestions for cleaning products are. Especially, considering that if you use the wrong product you could void your manufacturer warranty. Now I know what some of you are thinking: manufacturer warranties don’t cover a lot. But in my experience the time you dismiss that warranty is the time you need it! And on a product that costs as much as granite, it would be wise to preserve that warranty as much as you can.

Beware: Pledge is not the only product that is being recommended incorrectly for granite countertops. Some websites are advising readers on how to remove specific stains on granite countertops using other unsafe products. While I have no doubt that most of these remedies will work, I am concerned that none of the granite cleaners recommend by legitimate countertop experts rely on bleach or other harsh chemicals.

These household cleaners aren’t mindful of the sealer applied to your granite counters. So while using bleach or acetone on your granite will no doubt strip the stain, it will also strip the sealer at the same time. This of course, means you would be even more susceptible to countertop staining in the future.

3) Avoid Misleading Advise – Why the so-called “experts” on these unnamed websites aren’t mentioning this critical info is beyond me.  Apparently they’re also suggesting that you reseal your granite every two to three years based on their cleaning advice. Just remember to be mindful of the granite warranty and the warranty on any granite sealers you’ve used prior to stain removal. Following directions on the back of your granite cleaner is always a good idea while using household products and following bad advice, is something that is best to be avoided.

Granite countertops are expensive and you should protect your investment regardless of how easy someone else’s advice may be to follow. If you read the fine print on any cleaning products and do your research as far as warranties go, you’ll save yourself valuable time and money.

Update: One other product that is made specifically for cleaning granite countertops safely is called Rock Doctor. Despite the silly name, this product has received great reviews! You will only need the polish and cleaner, assuming your granite as already be sealed. These products are designed for granite and will prevent you from voiding your warranty using the wrong granite cleaning products.

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe(diva(at) and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog.