How to Polish Your Granite Countertop

How to Polish Granite Countertops

Granite counter tops make a sleek and subtle statement in any kitchen or bathroom. They remain one of the most popular counter materials, as their timeless elegance can fit in with any style. They are favored for their long-lasting nature and durability, but that doesn’t mean that they are perfect. Granite countertops require some maintenance to keep them looking as good as new. But the good news is that this is simple to manage. 

Clean your countertop

You should be ensuring that your countertops remain clean. This does not require a lot of effort, wiping it to get rid of any dirt or residue. This helps to prevent stains, and it helps to reduce the amount of damage that can be caused to the sealant over your counter. Leaving substances on your granite countertop can cause the sealant to erode, which exposes the granite underneath. 
All you need to clean your counter is warm water and a mild detergent. It doesn’t matter what kind, as long as it is mild. Mix these two together, and use a soft cloth to wash your counters. Using a microfiber cloth is best, but any rag will get the job done fine. Remember to dry your counter after you have finished cleaning it. Never leave a counter wet or damp, because certain types of granite can experience water staining. 

Polish your granite counters whenever they need it

Cleaning your countertop is important, if your countertops sees use throughout the day. But you might find that your counters are losing their brand new shine. It is easy for granite counters to become dull and old-looking, even if there is nothing wrong with them. This can be remedied by putting a little time and effort into polishing them. 
There is no set schedule for when you need to polish your counters – do what works best for your home. If you use your counters a lot, they will experience more wear and tear, and will likely need to be polished frequently. If your counters don’t experience that much wear and tear, there is no reason to polish them. Just because you feel as though you have to – there will be no tangible benefit. 
There are a number of different ways that you can polish your granite counters, and each offer their own pros and cons.

  • Use a natural polish

If you want to, you can polish your granite countertops with materials that you already have lying around at home. All you need is baking soda and warm water. Mix these two ingredients together to form a paste (your ratios should be roughly ¾ baking soda, ¼ water). Mix it thoroughly to get rid of any baking soda lumps. 

Next, evenly disperse the paste across your counter. One of the easiest ways to do this is to place spoonfuls of it across the surface. Don’t worry about covering the surface immediately, as this occurs when you begin to buff, dispersing the product everywhere. 

Now, get a soft cloth and begin to rub the paste evenly into the counter. It helps to work in small, circular motions, and start in one corner of the counter. This way, you can methodically clean the whole counter, and see exactly where you have already worked. 

Once you have finished polishing the counter, you can wipe the residue away with a damp cloth. You do not need to add any further products – the water should be enough to wipe it away. You then need to completely dry the counter, as any residual water can cause stains. Your counter should now be gleaming. 

This is a great option for many people, as most homes already have baking soda (or it is very cheap to purchase, and a convenient item to have anyway). This means that you can easily polish your granite counter, without having to go out of your way to purchase cleaning materials. It is also the cheapest method. Unfortunately, this natural polish is only going to work to brighten up counters and remove very small surface imperfections, it is unlikely to fix larger issues. Although this may not provide you with the best polish, it does help to liven your counters up and make them look presentable. 

  • Use a polish specifically for granite countertops

There are several polishes available that are designed specifically for granite countertops, or for natural stone countertops in general. These are always a good option. You can be certain that they don’t contain any harsh chemicals that can potentially damage your countertop. 

If this is what you want to use to polish your counters, the best results are going to be from the most specific products. Try and find a polish that is for your specific type of granite – light or dark. This may not be possible where you live, or the expense might not be worth it.

Each polish is going to have slightly different instructions, so it is important to follow these exactly. Most retail polishes require that you spray the polish evenly onto the bench, and then let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes. 

After it has had a chance to work itself into the countertop, you can begin to buff it away. Use a soft cloth, and start buffing in small, circular motions. Again, it is best to begin in one corner and work your way across so that you can keep track of where you have polished. Pay closer attention to the areas that are slightly more damaged than others. 

Rinse the remaining polish off with a damp cloth, and make sure to dry your counter thoroughly afterward as well. You should now have a counter that looks sparkling and free from any minor scratches. This method of polishing your counter tends to generate better results than just using natural methods, but there are also downsides. Granite polish can be more expensive to buy, and depending on where you live, it might not be easy to get. You may need to order it online, which can then cost even more in shipping fees, and you have to wait for it. This is another method that is not suited for significant damage, as it can only do so much. 

  • Hire a professional to polish your counters
Of course, you can hire a professional to polish your granite counters for you. These are experts who have the right tools and experience to completely revamp your counters. Getting rid of any imperfections until they are spotless. They can use professional buffer tools, as well as wet and dry polishing methods to get out deep scratches and cuts.
Of course, you can hire a professional to polish your granite counters for you. These are experts who have the right tools and experience to completely revamp your counters. Getting rid of any imperfections until they are spotless. They can use professional buffer tools, as well as wet and dry polishing methods to get out deep scratches and cuts. 
This is obviously the most expensive method for polishing granite countertops, but it provides the best results. Professionals are able to remove stubborn scratches that you can’t, and they just overall tend to produce nicer shinier counter results. This option is recommended if you have really severe damage to your counter. Where no amount of DIY polishing is going to get it out. 
Most people will opt for a professional polishing service infrequently, but maintain the upkeep of their counters with at-home polishing methods in between. This is a great compromise when it comes to cost. It ensures that your counters look decent, until you are ready to hire a professional again. 

Don’t forget to reseal your granite counters

Sealing is another part of granite countertop upkeep that you need to remember about. Granite is a porous substance – there are minuscule holes in the substrate. How porous your counter is will depend on the color of your granite. Lighter or white granite is less porous than darker alternatives. This will not have any effect on the integrity of your counter. As long as it was created and installed properly, it does not matter how porous it is, because it is covered in sealant. A layer of sealant is added to your countertop to protect the stone and prevent anything from getting inside. This is necessary to prevent strong odors and to stop any type of substance permanently staining the granite. 
Although your counter should come with a sealant applied, this does not last forever. How long the sealant will last will depend on how damaged your counter is, and what type of granite you have. You can tell you need to reseal your counter by doing the water test. This involves intentionally spilling some water onto part of your counter and leaving it for 15 minutes. When you come back, wipe it up. If you see a water stain mark after the water has been wiped away. This means that your sealant has disintegrated, and the water got into the porous granite. It is time to reseal your counter. 
This is something that you can do yourself, or you can hire a professional to do it. It should be noted that this is not the same as polishing. And should be used in conjunction with polishing together the most out of your granite countertops.