DIY: Homemade Granite Cleaner

 I have had several people ask me about a homemade granite cleaner solution. Apparently you can’t just spray any old cleaner on granite or you could very likely damage some very expensive countertops!

Marble, granite, and stone do NOT like having acidic (ie: citrus-based) cleaners used on them. Citrus or vinegar will actually cause “etching” on granite countertops. Not a good thing.

Granite countertops also don’t like it when you use something like Windex on them because it strips the “seal” off of the stone.

So what does that leave us???  Water? Well, yes and no. Even water is problematic because, by itself, it will leave streaks. BUT, add a little rubbing alcohol (or regular alcohol, like vodka) and a drop or two of some kind of soap…and you’re in business!

granite cleaner

 

Apparently there are some very nice countertop/granite cleaners out there that do a great job…but $7.00 for a 12-ounce bottle? We can do better than that! :-)

After researching several homemade options out there…I discovered they all had the same basic ingredients…just in varying amounts. Some had a LOT of alcohol in them…some very little. I think the following “recipe” has a good balance of the ingredients, based on the information I read.

 

Homemade Granite Cleaner

1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol (or cheap vodka)
3 drops of Dawn or other dish soap (Castile soap would also be a good alternative if you prefer)
Water
5-10 drops essential oil (optional – to help mask the alcohol smell)

Put the rubbing alcohol or vodka into a 16 oz spray bottle. Add the dish soap, essential oil and fill up the rest of the bottle with water.

Now give it a few shakes….THEN give it a try!  It should give your countertops a nice, clean shine. Works on appliances too! All at a FRACTION of the price of the store-bought stuff.

Let me know how it works for you! I’m filing this away for when I get my own granite countertops….someday. ;-)

 




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Comments

  1. Megan Verhoeven says

    Jillee – you rock!!!!!! Just made this up and it is the BEST!!! I’ve been looking for this recipe for ages – and just couldn’t make up my mind which one to try, so thanks for doing all the work for us!!! My counter is sparkling – which makes for a happy morning!!!(I know – I’m easy to make happy) I didn’t even add the essential oil – the smell goes pretty quickly.
    Thanks again

    • says

      Windex, or a similar product (homemade or store bought) is great for solid surface!

      I work in the granite/solid surface industry and we recommend ammonia free Windex for properly sealed granite, either ammonia free or regular Windex for quartz, and either for Corian/Hi-Macs/etc.

      Hot soapy water does nicely on solid surface, too. A scotch brite pad and Soft Scrub (or homemade SS) works wonders for stains (especially if you have a solid surface sink!)

      • Adriana says

        I was just wondering how badly windex can damage granite. My husband and I bought a house 6 months ago and I thought any windex was good, so i’ve been using it on my grainte. Have I completely ruined them? They look like they have really small swirl marks in them :( Can I repair it somehow?? Thanks so much!

        • says

          Anything that has ammonia or citrus in it can strip off the sealer on a granite (and stain terribly if the sealer has not been kept up on or stripped off accidentally previously) and it can also etch natural stone. What you’re describing is probably a bit of etching and it’s very difficult to repair stone (granite or quartz) when they have been etched. There’s also a slight possibility that the sealer was stripped off and what you’re seeing is staining/how the stone soaked up the Windex. One way to test that out is to do a homemade poultice of baking soda and water.

          Mix together enough baking soda and water to make a paste the consistency of sour cream. Wet the area you want to test the poultice, where the swirls are. Slather on the mixture. Cover the mixture/spot with plastic wrap; you can also tape down the edges with masking tape so it doesn’t flutter away if someone walks by fast enough. Let it sit for 24 hours. It will dry up and will pull up most, if not all, of the stain if it ends up just being a stain (not etching). Wipe off the excess poultice and clean the area and gently clean the area with mild soap and water. You can apply another round of it if it looks like it went away even a little bit.

          If it doesn’t work, I’m sorry. You’ve then etched the countertop. I would highly recommend going and buying a bottle of sealer (511 impregnator is the most common 1 year sealer, but there are 5, 10, and 15 year sealers on the market as well) and do a thorough sealing of all your tops. Switch to ammonia free Windex or use Jillee’s concoction up top to save money.

          Hope this helps.

  2. Deb says

    Jillee, unfortunately, I am in the same granite-less boat as you :( Hopefully, soon, right?
    However, I have been using just plain rubbing alcohol for years to clean in my kitchen (stove top, counters, refrigerator handles, etc.) and bathrooms (countertops, toilets-eek! etc.) as well as doorknobs and other non-painted surfaces. It does a good job wiping up minor messes, leaves NO streaks, kills germs (at least I feel like it does) and the smell dissipates quickly. Your idea to add water and soap will likely stretch the small price paid for the alcohol, but if you are in a hurry, I put a spray handle right on the alcohol bottle and go!
    Thanks!

      • Deb says

        Funny you mention this julie, because my husband, a cabinet maker, and I were talking last night about the benefits/pitfalls (pun intended) of granite. My daughter got granite and already has several chips. We were thinking man-made quartz, a much harder material. Thanks for the confirmation!

        • Sandra Simmons says

          I agree on the granite! We have chips! I like the idea about just sticking the nozzle in the alcohol. We do that with hydrogen peroxide for pet accidents on the tile floor in the laundry room. The vet told us to just spray and it will get rid of anything, pet vomit, urine or blood.

        • says

          Hi Deb! I’m a new reader to the blog and obviously your comment about granite/quartz was posted way back in June, but I thought I’d add my two cents about the materials since I work in the industry.

          I recommend quartz to anyone and everyone. It’s a great material that requires low maintenance. No having to worry about sealing it, it cleans up nicely, rarely scratches… But, it can chip out. You can drop something on it and have a chunk go flying out. Luckily, it’s usually an easy, inexpensive fix, but it’s something to be mindful of when choosing stone. I love the look of granite, however, anymore, quartz companies (Silestone especially) are coming out with products that look like granite! I think the benefits of quartz far outweigh the ‘benefits’ of granite any day of the week, and it’s pretty darn affordable and can look amazing if you have the right fabricator!

          I’d steer clear of solid surface. Cheap plastic crap, in my opinion. Just don’t tell my boss!

  3. lifeishappy says

    YES! Just tried this formula and it is awesome! I also sprayed it on my stainless steel appliances and it left them shining without streaks! I am so excited for a super affordable kitchen cleaner! Thank you!!!

  4. Heather says

    Just curious- I am having a tough time knowing what is a disinfectant vs just a cleaner or are they the same thing? By the way, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog! Thanks so much!!!

  5. Sheri says

    I tried it on my granite in a small spot being afraid i might mess my counter tops up. To my surprise they shine like they were brand new. I didn’t use the oil, the smell goes away quickly. I’m so happy and will tell everyone what a Great job this does!!! Thanks Jillee

  6. Meredith says

    I’ve used this same solution for a few years now and I love it..especially because it’s cheap! I use lavender oil. It not only smells nice but also adds a bit of a disinfectant to it. I switch between that and eucalyptus oil, both have germ killing properties. LOVE your blog!!!

  7. says

    I love this. Me and the kids were struggling with the countertops this morning. Why did they even invent granite?
    My next homemade NEED is for stainless steal appliances. Do you have one for that?
    They drive me insane too.
    Thanks for all your tips. It saves me time and money!
    Julie

    • Amanda Harden says

      any of the furniture polishes work great.. I also use veg cooking oil or olive oil.. I have one of those containers you pump and it sprays your oil.. I simply spray that on and “buff” not only does it clean the gunk and finger prints off.. it keeps stuff from coming back real fast.. I use this for my sink also.. its a granit composit sort of sink.. (it doesnt know if it wants to be granit or manmade) well knowing what I know now.. I would not have purchased it.. its porus and drys out.. so at night when the dishes are in the dishwasher and the sink is empty.. I spray it or a pledge style thing on it. and let it sit over night.. (I do the entire kitchen this way) and then just wipe with a towel in the morning.. everything is clean and shiney and not greesy or slippery.. and stays that way for about a week.. and we have pets , men, and teen boys givin it heck all week..

  8. Kelsey H. says

    Jillee,
    I found a similar recipe about 8 months ago and I use it to clean everything! I absolutely love it. It is SO inexpensive and each refill batch I make I use a different essential oil. It works and actually makes me enjoy cleaning a tad bit more. =)

  9. Melonie Ford says

    I have been using this same recipe for about 6 mos and love it!! I use it on my counters, and every appliance. I am a pledge junkie and this has helped me to make that last a little longer.

    • says

      Since Corian is so much tougher than marble or granite, it is not harmed by the cleaners that damage those. It will work fine, as will vinegar. Both are antibacterial and the smell of either dissipates quickly. (I fear that within a few years, homeowners –and househunters– will be lamenting all that very expensive, very taste-specific granite that everyone installed back in the 2000′s!) When I finally upgrade my laminate, white Corian is my surface!

  10. Pinkdrops says

    Hi Jillee, I have been using precisely this mixture for cleaning everything in my house for ages.We dont have dawn in Portugal so I just use concentrated dish washing liquid I have at the moment and I dont use essential oil because the detergente smell masks the alcohol.My stainless steel stove top cleans wonderfuly with this stuff.

  11. Brandette W. says

    A few nights ago I made my first batch of this Granite Cleaner. I have used it a few times now and I LOVE IT! We have granite throughout our house, kitchen and baths. The kitchen is a dark tone of black, greys, and rust. This stuff made it so clean, smooth and shiny. I can’t praise it enough.

    In the past I have used Swiffer Polish, Method’s Granite Cleaner and I even bought some locally made Granite Cleaner. None of them work as well as this. And to boot…it is oh SO cheap to continue making and using to my heart’s content. Love that!!

    I did not use any essential oil only because I don’t care for them, but the rubbing alcohol smell is actually nice and clean to me. I don’t mind it at all. I was able to get a bottle of the rubbing alcohol at Walmart for .97, and can probably get 4 refills out of it. So economical!

  12. Trish says

    A damp microfiber cloth is all I use to clean my stainless, no sprays, no chemicals, no oils and it’s spotless in seconds. I also use it on my granite. It shines it right up as well.

  13. Heather says

    I just made the cleaner (with Dragon’s Blood Essential Oil…Rid space/spirit of negativity)…and it worked beautifully.

    Thanks a bunch :)

    ***Essential oils each have a different purpose…make sure to check them out :)

  14. Sharon says

    This worked really well on my new granite. Been afraid to use the harsh cleaners, and was looking for anything that would preserve the new sealant for as long as poss. Added a couple of drops of William Sonoma Tuscan Fig oil….heavenly!!

  15. Juju says

    I call this my miracle cleaner. I make it without the oils. I have had a problem with my glass doors and windows being smeared ALL the time. I use this cleaner with floursack towels on the glass and it has gotten rid of the smears. It is amazing. I use it to clean everything including granite counters, bathroom mirrors and sinks, toilet seats and tanks, stainless steel sinks, glass table tops, windows, glass doors and my stainless cooktop. I use a little squirt of dawn instead of a few drops.

  16. Heather says

    This works very well. I ran out of granite cleaner one day and had the ingredients for this homemade version on hand. It took less than 5 minutes to make. I use it every single day and will not repurchase premade granite cleaner ever again. Thanks for recipes.

  17. Loretta says

    What size spray bottle are you using?
    I have been following you now for about 6 months or so, & I love, love love all your posts!
    I tried your recipe for Clorox cleaner and I feel it’s just OK. Now I’m wondering if I’m using the wrong size spray bottle.
    Thanks!

  18. Bryanna says

    I have a granite for a month now and have been paranoid to use anything on it. When I think of DIY I think of your site, so I had to come look. I LOVE THIS. it got our hard water spots off and leaves the counters looking and feeling so smooth and clean. I don’t mind the smell of alcohol, but I used peppermint essential oil for its added anti viral, anti bacterial benefits. Smells awesome and I know it’s clean. Thanks for sharing this.

  19. VICKIE says

    Do not use vinegar or lemon on your granite or any natural stone surface. The acid will etch the surface and damage it. I love this as my all general cleaner – works on everything including windows. Ammonia cleaners should not be sprayed directly on mirrors – it gives you those black marks.

  20. Jennifer says

    Does this clean if say, you spilled some raw chicken? Does this actually kill germs or is it just a cleaner? I just moved into a new house and it has granite and I’m terrified to use ANYTHING on it for fear of ruining it! All the cleaners I have that are anti-bacterial are for NON-porous surfaces, so I don’t use those! I would LOVE to have something that works AND is inexpensive too! Thanks!

    • Stephanie says

      Jennifer,

      With the alcohol content and the soap in this recipe, it should take care of residual raw-meat bacteria. However, if you’re concerned about it, the addition of the lavender or eucalyptus oils add an extra layer of anti-bacterial protection. But keep in mind that all of the anti-bacterial hand gels are comprised of mostly ALCOHOL. :)

    • Jamie says

      I haven’t looked at the actual ingredients of flavored vodka, but I would think there is sugar included to assist the flavor in tasting “right.” Therefore, I would not personally use anything with flavor to clean. Especially if you live where there is any kind of ant issue. I’d use pure vodka or rubbing alcohol. But that’s really just my opinion. :)

  21. Dottie says

    Just read your recipe for cleaning granite and marble countertops , been using it without the alcohol, so anxious to try it, would love to know how to clean laminate floors and also triavtine , how can I get info on these?

  22. Coco says

    Just found your blog & the homemade granite cleaner is fabulous. (I have black granite & the streaks would drive me crazy). I used cinnamon leaf oil in mine & it makes the entire kitchen smell good.

  23. Darlene says

    We just bought granite for our kitchen in blue sapphire. And canyon dawn in our bathroom. I have not touched either of them, we just moved in today. My first question is because our contractor buffed a piece of our bathroom granite to get a scratch out. Now i do not know what to do with that area. Do i need to seal it?
    Also, if I use the above cleaner, Do I need to seal my granite? The stone company said to seal once per year. I do not know what to clean or seal my granite with.

    • Maggie says

      Yes, you want to seal your countertops. I bought the sealer at Lowe’s. I just asked and they sent me over. You have to apply the sealer every year or so (depending on wear). It was super easy, you just spray it on, leave it for the length of time it says, then wipe the excess off and it dries.

Trackbacks

  1. […] The only exceptions I have found are granite and televisions. For my tv screens I use a microfiber cloth and will add a drop or two of water to the cloth if there are any marks that need removed. Because of the acidity in the vinegar, I wouldn’t use this on granite or marble. A natural recipe for granite cleaner can be found here. […]

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