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How to Safely Remove Hard Water Stains from Granite

Updated
Don't let hard water stains leave your granite countertops looking dull.

Installing granite worktops is a proven and reliable way to add a touch of luxury to your kitchen or bathroom. As it is a natural stone, it is timeless and will complement both traditional and modern designs.

Granite is available in numerous shades and no two pieces are identical, making each worktop unique. However, hard water stains can hide the shine of the quartz and feldspar in the granite, diminishing its effect.

In this article, we will explain why hard water stains appear and how to remove those hard water stains from granite surfaces. We will also share some advice on how to care for your granite worktops to keep them looking at their best.


Why Does Hard Water Stain Granite?

Granite is one of the most popular materials for adding a touch of luxury to kitchens and bathrooms. However, these are also the parts of our homes where we use the most water. Water will inevitably end up splashing onto your countertops, which can lead to stains if you live in a hard water area.

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Hard water contains minerals, including calcium and magnesium. When this water is left to stand on your worktops, it will eventually evaporate, leaving its mineral content behind. In time, these minerals will accumulate and you might notice dull white marks on your granite (1).

Mineral deposits won’t damage your granite surfaces but they will conceal much of what makes them beautiful. The longer you leave these stains, the harder they will be to remove. You will need to use different methods to get hard water stains off granite, depending on the severity of the stains themselves.

Daily Cleaning for Light Stains

Use a mild detergent and water on a sponge to clean your granite surfaces daily. Alternately, you can find a cleaning product that is designed specifically for use on stone.

Be Careful

Make sure the cleaner you use is suitable for granite and is not acidic. Acid can damage the surface’s sealant and potentially the granite itself.

Choose one from a specialist stone care company such as Granite Gold, and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions to use it safely.

Pro Tip

Cleaning stains as soon as you notice them will mean less work in the long run. What you think is a water stain might only be a soap deposit and will clean up easily.

Light Hard Water Stains

If you notice some light granite discoloration around your sink or basin, it can usually be easily removed:

  1. Detergent: Use a mild detergent and a brush with soft bristles (or an old toothbrush).
  2. Scrub: Apply your cleanser to the stain and gently scrub it with the brush to lift the mineral deposits.
  3. Rinse and dry: Once the deposits are removed, rinse the area with clean water and dry it with a towel.

Try This

You can apply a specialist granite cleaner and leave it on the stain for about 30 minutes to loosen the minerals. Then, scrub gently with a soft brush and rinse and dry once the stain is gone.

Stubborn Hard Water Stains

If you can’t get rid of hard water stains on granite using detergent and a brush, you can try a trusted home remedy — baking soda. This method might require several applications to completely remove the stain, so it is important to be persistent!

  1. Create a paste: Mix baking soda with a small amount of water until it forms a paste.
  2. Scrub: Apply the paste to the hard water stain and gently scrub it with a soft bristle brush.
  3. Finish: Rinse the area with fresh water and dry it with a towel.

Tough Stains Around Faucets

Mineral deposits tend to accumulate around the base of faucets, especially if they are leaking. If you notice these water rings on the granite around your faucet, you need to bring out stronger tools — a plastic scraper or a razor blade.

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Be Careful

Take great care not to make any gouges on the stone surface or damage the sealant.
  1. Set up: Take a plastic putty knife and make sure the edge is flat against the granite.
  2. Scrape: Remove the mineral deposits by pushing the blade against them while applying gentle pressure.
  3. Wipe, rinse, and dry: The mineral deposit should start to flake off. Once it is dislodged, it can be wiped away with a sponge, rinsed with clean water, and then dried with a towel.

If the putty knife doesn’t work, you can use a sharp, clean razor blade. Again, make sure the blade is level with the granite and work slowly and gently to loosen mineral deposits. When using a razor, it is important to take extra care not to cut your fingers or the surface of the granite.

Suggestion

Soaking the stains with a specialist granite cleaner before scraping might make them easier to remove. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.

Caring for Granite

  1. Protect the sealant: Granite is tough and durable, but if you damage the sealant or the surface of the stone, it can become porous (2). If this happens, it will stain more easily and become far more difficult to clean.
  2. Avoid acid: Don’t use acidic cleaners, even natural ones such as vinegar or lemon juice. Also, avoid steel wool and other abrasive cleaning tools that can scratch the surface or sealant.
  3. Reseal: Get your granite surfaces resealed every few years to protect the stone from damage. You can check whether or not the stone sealant is wearing away by placing a drop of water onto the surface of the granite. If the drop stays in place, the sealant is working. If it soaks into the granite, the sealant needs to be replaced.

FAQs

Do Granite Water Stains Go Away?

While water is less likely to be absorbed by a granite countertop that has been sealed, it can still leave a black spot if it is left there for too long. In most cases, water can be allowed to dry and evaporate on its own, but if it’s been sitting for a long time, it may require some assistance.

Some mild detergent, water, and a soft bristles brush are typically needed to remove the stain. In contrast, hard water stains are a different matter altogether. Hard water stains, especially around a dripping faucet, can be left behind by water with high mineral content.

As a result, a white filmy residue forms on your countertop, which may appear impossible to clean. A granite cleanser poultice can be used to create a thick coating around the hard water discoloration.

Tape down some plastic wrap and cover it up. After 24 hours, remove the dried poultice with your hands by gently rubbing it off. Clean the rest with a gentle cloth dampened in soap and warm water.

Can You Use CLR on Granite?

You can use CLR on granite if the granite surface you want to clean is sealed.

Does Vinegar Ruin Granite?

Yes, the acidic nature of vinegar can ruin granite. Vinegar is acidic; therefore, it will erode the sealer that keeps spills from permeating the stone and leaving lasting stains.

In addition, prolonged contact between vinegar and granite can etch the stone’s surface. The same goes for other acidic cleansers.

Can You Use Bar Keepers Friend on Granite?

Bar Keepers Friend is advertised as being safe to use on granite, but you should always test it out first. Get rid of any stray items on the counter and clean them down.

Spread the product with a spray bottle, wait up to a minute for moderate to heavy soils, and then wipe it off with a dry and soft towel.

Can I Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Granite?

It’s safe to use rubbing alcohol to clean granite. The best disinfectants for granite countertops are limited to those based on alcohol.

Rubbing alcohol is the best and most generally available disinfectant for granite countertops. As well as killing bacteria, rubbing alcohol can eliminate fungal and viral infections.

When properly sealed, a granite countertop may resist the growth of most germs. Regular disinfection can be achieved with just hot water and dish soap. For disinfecting purposes, though, 70% rubbing alcohol is your best bet.

It’s as simple as spraying it on the granite, waiting three to five minutes, then rinsing and drying with a microfiber towel. To clean, use anything other than bleach or ammonia.

Can You Use Magic Eraser on Granite Countertops?

You should avoid using Magic Eraser on granite countertops because its abrasive nature might ruin the glossy finish.

What Is the Best Granite Stain Remover?

Granite Gold Daily Cleaner has a pleasant citrus fragrance and is appropriate for granite countertops. These stone countertops look sleek and new after being treated with the no-streak method.

Apply Granite Gold from the 24-ounce container, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it down with a paper towel. Because of its pH-neutral composition, this product will not wear down stone over time.

Because it is biodegradable and non-toxic, this daily cleanser can be used in areas where food is prepared without fear of harmful chemicals leaching into after-school treats.


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About the Author

Sylvia Jones

Sylvia Jones is a hands-on, DIY aficionado from Indiana. She is passionate about home improvement, gardening, and environmental conservation. In her spare time, you can find Sylvia getting involved in home improvement projects around the house with her husband, or spending quality time out in the yard.