Granite is gorgeous, but it can be hard to clean if you don't know what you're doing.

David Papazian/Getty Images

Beautiful and practical, granite has earned its place as the countertop of choice in many modern kitchens and bathrooms. The patterns and colors available for this natural surface are as alluring as the names its varieties are known by: Uba Tuba Butterfly, Golden Santa Cecilia, Manhattan Green, Blue Eyes and more. The natural stone is hard and extremely durable, but its porous surface should be sealed during installation to keep stains or oils from being absorbed.

Keeping your granite clean and sparkling usually requires little more than wiping off crumbs and spills with a damp cloth. But sometimes, even with the best of care, accidents can happen. What can you do if a stubborn water stain appears that won't go away with a simple rubdown?

Water stains are one of the most common sources of stains on granite countertops, and they generally occur in two forms. The first -- and easiest to clean -- is a simple water stain that forms around the bottom of a glass or other container that sits on the countertop for too long or water droplets that do not evaporate quickly. The second type of water stain is caused by hard water (that is, water with a high mineral content) that sits on the counter, dries and leaves a deposit, often resulting in bothersome circles that build up around the faucets.

If you find your beautiful granite marred by either one of these types of stains, don't worry. A few simple ingredients from your pantry or a solution from your hardware store can help. Read on and learn how you can clean water stains from your granite quickly and easily.