Why Are Acidic Cleaners Dangerous to Use on Granite?
Granite is a low maintenance product that requires very little care, but it is important to use the right products to clean your granite countertops or floor. Despite its durability, granite is a porous stone that can absorb liquids, some of which result in staining or etching, a dullness that may permanently disfigure your granite. Here's why you should avoid using acidic cleaning products on granite and other types of natural stone and what you should use instead.
Etching and Erosion
Granite is not as soft as marble, but it can still be damaged. Etching is a type of damage that occurs when granite is exposed to acidic products. This damage of the surface often shows as dull etch spots on the surface, but it can also affect the entire surface of the granite if you use acidic cleaners. If the acidic product sits on the surface for too long, or if your granite is very porous, it can even result in indentations or erosion.
Why Acids Damage Granite
The reason acidic cleaners damage natural stone is because stone contains some concentration of calcite, which reacts to even weak acids by dissolving. Marble and limestone have a high amount of calcite and are most susceptible to etching, but granite is not impervious. In addition to some calcite, granite also has natural fissures and pits that can trap acidic cleaning products. This means the stone can degrade slowly over time.
Acids to Avoid on Granite
Many common household cleaning products can damage granite countertops and floors. You are unlikely to see the damage for some time, by which point your countertops will appear dull and may even have visible indentions. Avoid any products that contain acids, including citric acid. Acidic foods such as vinegar, wine, lemon juice, pineapple, and tomatoes can also cause damage to natural stone.
Can Etching Be Repaired?
Etch marks and dullness on granite can sometimes be repaired, but it's not a DIY task. This is because the polished surface of the granite has been chemically damaged, so it's not a matter of simply cleaning or buffing the stone. If your granite has already been damaged by harmful cleaning products, you will likely need to have the stone professionally refinished and repolished.