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By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

How to remove unwanted stains from granite

Since graduation, I’ve found myself with more downtime than I’ve had in years. But unlike my high school and undergraduate years, I’ve had no trouble filling my recent days off with productivity. Maybe I’m finally getting older, but now I find it difficult to lie around and do nothing.

I’ve entertained out-of-town guests, worked out regularly, planned my sister’s bridal shower and kept the apartment the cleanest it’s ever been. I’ve found ways to make everyday acts pull double-duty as well: empty the dish rack while the coffee maker gets going, take the trash out while meat’s defrosting and even brainstorm ideas for this column while talking with others.

While my family and friends live in different regions and in very different homes, each has at least one challenge to deal with. One such challenge that has come up repeatedly is the dilemma of dealing with granite stains.

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Granite is a porous material that is usually polished and sealed when installed, making it stain-resistant. However, being stain-resistant does not mean it’s stain-proof. For instance, when water is left to sit on a granite counter it can potentially dry into and stain the material. And although granite is praised for its durability, you must use extra care when treating it. Fortunately, you probably already have all the necessary ingredients for removing the stain.

First, blot as much of the stain as possible to remove any lingering liquid. Then, mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide together in a bowl. The consistency should be paste-like, and the amounts will depend on how large your stain is. Make enough to generously cover the entire stain.

Spread the paste over the stain, and don’t be shy. The paste should be at least 1/4-inch thick. Then, cover the paste with plastic wrap and tape the edges down with painter’s tape. Let it sit for 24 hours. This will allow the baking soda to pull up and dry out the stain.

Next, scrape up the paste and wash the surface with water and mild soap. You may need to apply the paste and repeat the process if the stain is not fully removed.

To help prevent future stains, clean spills as soon as they occur, and use coasters for drinks whenever possible. Also, remember to get your granite sealed at least once every four to five years. You will know it’s ready when water no longer beads up on the surface. If you are ever uncertain about treating granite, consult a professional.