What Can Lead to Oil Stains on Granite?

A counter with oil stains on granite.

Oil and grease stains on granite countertops are unmistakably dark. In some cases, they may also feature some coloring that corresponds to the natural or synthetic pigments of the staining substance. For example, in the kitchen, you could be using saffron and pepper oil for a spicy Vietnamese recipe that will leave a colorful orange stain on your granite counters. In the bathroom, expensive lip balms can quickly stain granite surfaces.

The good news is these stains can not only be removed but also be prevented in the first place. Here’s what you need to know about oil stains on granite and other natural stone.

Understanding Granite Surface Porosity

All the natural stones used as decorative construction materials are porous, and some have greater porosity than others. Granite isn’t as porous as marble, but it has greater porosity compared to onyx and quartzite. Travertine and sandstone are more porous than marble, which means they have a higher degree of permeability. In other words, they’re more likely to absorb oily substances. Soapstone is one of the most porous rocks. It will easily absorb a coat of mineral oil and darken its appearance, but it will also stain if you spill olive oil on the surface.

For some basic tips on cleaning and polishing granite by hand, watch this quick video: The Worst-Case Scenario with Oil Stains

For the most part, oil and grease stains on granite and all types of natural stone are manageable, particularly if the surface is protected with a coat of sealant that hasn’t weakened. You should be able to remove a stain on your own as long as the issue is promptly addressed. When stains don’t seem to go away even after following the recommendations below, you may need to contact a stone restoration professional.

Removing Oil Stains from Granite

Let's say you were working on your car outside and left some oily footprints on your granite kitchen floor tiles. If you don’t know how to clean granite and natural-stone floor, your first step should be to absorb the grease and dirt with paper towels. Make sure to not apply pressure or wipe down because you don’t want to force molecules into the pores.

Once you’ve absorbed the fresh grease as much as possible, clean the remaining spots with either Granite Gold Stone & Tile Floor Cleaner® or Granite Gold Squeeze & Mop Floor Cleaner®.

Should you notice a dark spot has formed the next day, cover the stain with baking soda mixed with acetone, creating a mixture that has the consistency of pancake batter. Leave this paste on top of the stain for 24 hours, then rinse it with water and re-seal the stone. It may take up to three attempts, and if the stain remains, the penetration is too deep and you’ll need a professional stone restoration specialist with the proper tools and training.

Constant Sealing Is Key

Oil spills on granite or any other kind of natural stone will be surface stains when the slabs or tiles are fully protected with granite sealer, and they’ll be able to be wiped away without dark spots forming underneath. Applying fresh coats of Granite Gold Sealer® regularly will always be your best protection against oil stains.

If you’d like to know more about caring for granite, marble, limestone, and all other types of natural stone, reach out to the Stone Care Experts at Granite Gold®. You can find our products at a store near you by using our Store Locator, and you can call one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives today at 1-800-475-STONE (7866) today if you have any questions.


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