What can I use to clean my granite counter tops? I’m scared of scratching them.

??Jean, Toronto

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.

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.

David Suzuki Foundation
Lindsay Coulter gives you the straight goods on living green. Send your questions to queenofgreen@metronews.ca. For more great tips, visit The David Suzuki Foundation at davidsuzuki.org.

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