How to Remove Water Stains From Granite

By: Marie Willsey  | 
granite countertop
Granite countertops are tough, but they can stain. Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald/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?

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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 [source: Warren].

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.

Tips for Removing Water Stains from Granite

granite countertop
Verde Butterfly granite, found in Brazil, is a dark, forest-green granite with large, blue-gray crystals resembling the intricate details of butterfly wings. Granite Charlotte Countertops/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Granite countertops can look great throughout years of daily use, requiring only a minimal amount of daily care. Here are a few tips to help keep your granite looking its best, as well as tips for removing water stains and other types of stains:

  • For daily cleaning, use water and mild soap or a natural cleaning product designed especially for stone. Acidic cleaning products or abrasives may damage the sealant on your countertop.
  • Clean up spills as soon as they occur; acidic liquids like wine, orange or lemon juice, even soda and household soap, can break down the sealant and stain the surface.
  • To remove water spots, wash the stain with a gentle detergent and water; use a soft bristled brush to scrub lightly. Rinse with clean water and dry.
  • For those tenacious water rings around a faucet resulting from hard water that sits on the surface, try scrubbing softly with a Brillo pad or gently scraping with a razor blade, then wiping away the residue with a soft, damp cloth.
  • For really stubborn stains, try using a poultice, or extractor. Poultice products made especially for granite can be purchased at a hardware or stone surface specialty store, or you can make your own paste using baking soda and water. The thick, pasty mixture should be applied generously, then covered with a plastic sheet and taped around the edges with painter's tape. Let it stand for 24 hours or more, then scrape up the paste and rinse the countertop with water.

The cleaned surface can be resealed if necessary. Granite countertops may need to be resealed occasionally. When water on the granite's surface no longer beads up, contact a stone care professional to have your granite resealed.

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Originally Published: Jun 19, 2012

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  • BHG.com. "How to Clean Countertops." (July 7, 2022) http://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/tips/how-to-clean-countertops/#page=7
  • Academy Marble and Granite. "How to Remove Hard Water Stains From Granite in 7 Steps." Dec. 11, 2020 (July 7, 2022). https://academy-marble.com/how-to-remove-hard-water-stains-from-granite/#:~:text=While%20it's%20not%20generally%20wise,dry%20with%20a%20microfiber%20cloth
  • Warren, Angela. Marble.com. "How Can You Remove Water Stains from Granite?" Oct. 23, 2019 (July 7, 2022). https://marble.com/articles/remove-water-stains-from-granite
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