What can I use to clean my granite counter tops? I’m scared of scratching them.
No need to get sucked into purchasing specialty cleaning products. I recommend a simple mixture of baking soda and water. Mix into a paste consistency, apply with a soft cloth or sponge (an old cotton T-shirt will do), and rinse well. Or, try eco-friendly dish soap—many are pH-balanced. A good rinse will prevent build-up. Both options are cost effective.
Avoid any homemade cleaning recipes (including mine) that contain acidic ingredients like lemon juice or white vinegar, or store-bought cleaners that aren’t pH-balanced or contain harsh or abrasive chemicals. These will all dull and etch the stone.
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Remember, stone is porous, so harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia can also seep into the surface. Household cleaners aren’t required to label ingredients, so you may not realize something contains a strong acid until it’s too late!
Of course, you’ll know once damage is done. Do you have what looks like a stain on your granite counter tops? That’s from using an acidic cleaner or not wiping up immediately after a lemon juice spill which can change the natural patterns and variations of the stone. Always clean granite counter tops (or any natural stone finish) with a pH-neutral, non-toxic cleaner. Do it daily, and wipe up spills as soon as they happen.
Another recipe worth trying (although not 100 per cent Queen of Green approved because I don’t have granite counter tops to test it): to a 250 ml spray bottle add 50 ml vodka, three drops of eco-friendly dish soap (or liquid castile soap, or vegetable glycerin), and top up with water. Spray and wipe clean with a cloth.
Lindsay Coulter gives you the straight goods on living green. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more great tips, visit The David Suzuki Foundation at davidsuzuki.org.