How to Clean Granite Countertop Water Stains

A person cleaning water stains on granite.

Water stains can be a real eyesore on your otherwise beautiful granite countertops. While they may seem impossible to get rid of, there are steps you can take to restore the smooth, glossy surface of your countertops.

This blog post will uncover why water stains on granite occur and how to remove them. Also, what can you do to prevent them from happening in the first place? Let's find out!

The Two Main Types Of Water Stains On Granite

Two main types of water stains can occur on your granite countertops: hard water stains and simple water stains. Let's talk about the differences and how to identify them.

Simple Water Stains - Easy To Remove

In a simple water stain, the only thing involved is water. These types of stains are not difficult to remove. What has happened is that water has seeped into the pores of your granite and left a mark.

Visually, you can identify a simple water stain by its appearance. They appear as dark spots on granite countertops. There are no white mineral deposits or anything else involved.

The good news is that simple water stains eventually evaporate and disappear. That's right, all you have to do is wait, and the stain will be gone.

The bad news? Simple water stains are a clear sign that your granite needs sealing.

When you initially installed your granite countertops, they had a protective sealing layer to prevent liquids and water from seeping beneath the surface. But that seal can and will wear away with use. 

Granite is a very porous stone that absorbs water and other liquids like a sponge. So without the protective seal, it quickly absorbs water and becomes stained.

To prevent simple water stains from happening, make sure to regularly seal your granite countertops with a high-quality sealer for natural stone.

Hard Water Stains On Granite - Difficult To Remove

Hard water stains are more difficult to remove than simple water stains. They occur when water containing minerals, such as calcium or magnesium, dries on the surface of the granite.

As the water evaporates, it leaves behind mineral deposits. And because granite is a porous material, the minerals can seep below the surface and cause the stain!

You can identify hard water stains by their appearance. They appear as chalky white residue or light-colored spots on your granite surface. Unlike simple water stains, they do not disappear on their own. 

To remove hard water stains from your granite countertops, you will need to use a specialized cleaner for granite, such as Granite Gold® Daily Cleaner. It may be tempting to grab any common household cleaner from under your kitchen sink, but resist the urge!

Common household cleaners are not formulated for natural stone and can damage your granite. They are too acidic and can etch the surface of your countertops, remove the protective seal, and dull the professional finish.

Instead, use a cleaner that is pH-balanced to prevent further damage.

How To Remove Hard Water Stains From Granite 

Best Granite Cleaner For Hard Water Stains

Start by grabbing a bottle of Granite Gold® Daily Cleaner. It is a pH-balanced formula that is formulated for use on granite and all other natural stone.

Then, use the cleaner with a safe-on-stone scrub sponge, such as Granite Gold® Scrub Sponge, or a nylon brush, such as Granite Gold® Grout Brush. These are gentle on stone yet strong enough to remove water deposits and soap scum without harming the granite surface.

Scrub the area in a circular motion to loosen the deposits, then wipe away the cleaner with a clean, dry cloth.

If the stains are proving to be difficult to remove, use the nylon brush to work the cleaner into the affected area, then let it sit for about five minutes. After five minutes, use the brush to scrub the area again. Then, wipe dry with a paper towel or a microfiber cloth. You can also use a straight-edge razor blade to gently shave the deposits from the surface. The razor blade will not scratch the stone.

Repeat the process as necessary until the stains are gone.

Once the stains are gone, the next step is to seal your countertops to prevent them from happening again.

How To Prevent Water Stains On Granite Countertops

The best way to remove hard water stains from granite is to prevent them from happening in the first place!

This is incredibly easy to do. All you need to do is seal your granite countertops regularly with a high-quality sealer made for natural stone, such as Granite Gold® Sealer.

Sealing your granite will create an invisible barrier on the surface that will make it much more resistant to stains and other types of damage. It's a good idea if you want your kitchen to look its best for years to come.

Before you seal your granite, make sure your countertops are clean. Otherwise, you'll seal the dirt and grime on the surface, making it harder to clean later.

Steps To Seal Your Granite Countertops

  • Clean: Clean the surface with Granite Gold® Daily Cleaner. Then, wipe dry with a paper towel or lint-free cloth. Wait 20 minutes to allow the cleaner to dry.
  • Apply Sealer: Apply the Sealer onto the surface in 3-foot sections at a time.
  • Wipe Into Stone: Immediately wipe into stone with a lint-free cloth. Do not allow the sealer to dry on the surface – it will cause hazing.
  • Buff Dry: Buff until dry with a lint-free cloth.
  • Maximum Protection: For best results, repeat the process 2-3 times, waiting 20 minutes between applications.
  • Polish: Congratulations on sealing your granite. To enhance the shine and luster of your countertops, wait 24 hours for the sealer to cure before using Granite Gold® Polish.

  • Prevent & Remove Hard Water Stains From Granite: Conclusion

    By following these simple tips, you can keep your granite countertops looking new for years to come. Remember, the most important thing you can do to prevent hard water stains on granite is to regularly seal your countertops!

    If you have other natural stone surfaces at home, like a travertine floor or a marble bathroom counter, be sure to clean and seal them with products specifically designed for natural stone.

    Granite Gold is a trusted name in stone care and one of the first pioneers in developing stone-specific cleaning and sealing products. We donate a portion of proceeds from the sale of our products to Folds Of Honor, an organization that provides life-changing scholarships to the spouses and children of America's fallen or disabled military members, as well as the families of our first responders.

    By purchasing any of our specialty cleaning products, you are helping to support the families of our military heroes. Thank you for your support!

    While water may be the most common possibility for staining, there are others to worry about. Cooking oil can make its way beneath the surface of un-sealed stone, only this can leave a permanent stain if not taken care of. Organic spills such as wine, coffee, tea, tomato sauce and citrus can not only leave a stain, but the acidity can leave a permanent chemical etching on the surface. This can look quite similar to a hard watermark but is the result of the acidic substances eating away at the surface. If allowed to get bad enough, the only way to remove this damage is with the help of a professional stone restoration specialist (which isn't cheap). This again demonstrates the importance of maintaining a proper seal on your stone. Small maintenance here and there can prevent expensive and time-consuming repairs down the line! Have any more specific questions or concerns on how to care for your granite, marble, quartz or other natural stone? Feel free to reach out to our team of Stone Care Experts with more than 50 years of experience at 1-800-475-STONE. Also, be sure to check out our full line stone care products to keep your granite looking as nice as the day it was installed!


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