Restoring Granite Countertops

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You got granite countertops because they were virtually indestructible, but now you find yourself with a dull surface that's nothing like the beautiful countertop you started out with. What went wrong?

Many natural stone countertops like granite are extremely hard and are not easily broken or scratched. But they can be very susceptible to chemical damage like etching and dulling. If you’ve taken a wrong turn in caring for your countertops how do you get back that beautiful surface that you fell in love with?
Kitchen peninsula with black, gray, and blue grained granite. Wine glasses on top of the counter.

Easy Fix

If you’re lucky, the dullness on your granite countertops is simply the buildup of soap film. Using dish soap or other soap-based cleaners to clean your countertops will result in a film that makes surfaces look dull. It’s an easy fix, though. Simply get a quality soap film remover to get the shine back.

High mineral content in your water (hard water) can also result in a dulling buildup on your countertops. Most soap film removers will do the job, but you can also find combination soap buildup/mineral deposit removers that can tackle both problems.

Mid-Range Fix

Maybe your granite does have some slight etching that’s making it appear dull. Grease stains or mild etching from acids in foods over time can make your countertops less shiny. You might need a polishing powder.

Buy a polishing powder designed for natural stone countertops. You’ll generally have to mix the powder with water to form a paste. Then “polish” problem areas with a soft cloth. Some products require you to leave the paste on overnight (mostly for stain removal). These products are a bit abrasive so use caution and follow the instructions carefully.
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Mega Fix

If you’ve tried everything else and you still have dull granite countertops, you may need to go for the big fix: refinishing. Remember that the shine on your countertops comes from the finish on the stone itself. If the finish is damaged, no amount of cleaning, buffing, and polishing can get it back. It will need to be resurfaced.

Refinishing should be done by a pro. Start with your installer to see if he or she knows someone they trust to handle a stone restoration. Otherwise, find a stone restorer near you to take a look.
Rounded edge kitchen peninsula with cooktop and dramtic dark gray and white natural stone countertop.

Keep that Shine

Once you’ve restored your countertops, keep them that way with proper daily and occasional care. Never use abrasive or acidic cleansers—that pretty much eliminates most household cleaners. Even mild, pH neutral all-purpose cleaners have the potential to dull counters due to soapy buildup. Your best bet is a daily stone care cleaner.

Keep acidic foods like tomatoes, lemons, limes, and alcohol off your counter surface. Clean up spills quickly. Dry countertops thoroughly after cleaning. Use coasters, trivets, hot pads, and cutting boards to protect your granite countertop.

Give countertops an occasional deep cleaning with a soap scum and mineral buildup remover and treat stains with a polishing compound as needed. Reseal your countertop about every year or, if your granite doesn't see much action, every few years. 
Large kitchen island with white and grey granite. Orchid in blue pot on the counter next to the sink.

Have You Resealed Lately?

All stone countertops need to be sealed to protect them from daily wear and tear. Yours was probably sealed when it was installed. Pros recommend that you reseal every year or two depending on the amount of use.


Dull countertops may just need a reseal to get back to looking their best. There are several types of sealers to choose from. Consult with your stone dealer or fabricator to determine the best selection for your particular stone. You can also contact the natural stone experts at our Stone Centers.

More Information

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From routine care to sealing countertops, keeping natural stone beautiful is easy.

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