How to Remove Water Stains From Granite (4 Easy Steps)

Soft water and hard water will leave unsightly stains on granite surfaces. However, these dull, whitish marks will not damage the granite. Regardless, you don’t want your guests to notice these unsightly stains in your home. Read on to find out how to remove water stains from granite without hiring a professional. 

In this article, you’ll learn: 

  • Effects of hard and soft water on granite
  • How to remove soft water stains 
  • How to remove hard water stains 
  • Best granite and stain cleaners
  • How to prevent hard water stains 
  • Lots more

Effects of Hard and Soft Water on Granite

There are two types of water found in households: hard and soft water. Knowing the differences can help you determine the best course of action to keep your granite surfaces stain-free.

Hard Water

When hard water dries on granite surfaces, the scale build-up appears as white marks. Unfortunately, roughly 85% of tap water in the United States is hard water. As water is drawn, it passes through soil and rock and dissolves minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals are the cause of the whitish marks on granite.

Hard water stains on a black granite surface.
Hard water stains can be seen as whitish marks on granite countertops and are usually found around faucets.

Hard water stains are more challenging to clean than soft water stains. Thankfully, there are many ways to do so without hiring a professional. 

Soft Water

Soft water won’t cause scale build-up on granite surfaces. This is because soft water does not contain calcium and magnesium. You can get soft water in your homes by using hard water filters. However, soft water can still cause “stains” in the form of granite color discoloration. 

Soft water stains on granite in the form of dark spots.
Color discoloration at the edges on a granite countertop.

Soft water stains appear as dark spots in areas where the granite absorbed the water. These spots are temporary and will fade over time as the moisture evaporates. However, stains from other liquids such as coffee, tea, and oil, require extensive stain removal work. 

How to Remove Soft Water Stains

Wipe your granite countertops with a dry, clean, non-abrasive cloth.
Keep your granite countertops dry at all times to prevent any water stains.

You don’t need to remove soft water stains because they are temporary. The color of the granite will return to normal once the water inside it evaporates. It could take up to an hour, or even a week, depending on how much water was absorbed.

To prevent granite discoloration from happening in the first place, make sure that your granite surfaces are dry at all times. You should also wipe dry any water spills immediately. Also, you should only use non-abrasive tools such as a microfibre cloth to wipe granite surfaces. Wiping granite countertops with abrasive tools may weaken the granite sealant and leave scratches on the surface.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains

Removing hard water stains requires more effort, but not too difficult that you must hire a professional. We’ve compiled four easy, affordable, and effective ways to clean hard water stains off the granite.

Baking Soda and 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

Using a poultice (paste) is the easiest way to remove hard water stains in terms of cost and results. You’ll need baking soda, 3% hydrogen peroxide, a plastic sheet, tape, a plastic scraper, and two clean cloths.

Mix baking soda with 3% hydrogen peroxide to form a paste.

Razor Blade

Razor blade on granite countertop.
Razor blades should only be used as a last resort because of injury risks.

You can use a razor blade to scrape off hard water stains on granite surfaces gently. Razor blades will not damage your counter because the blade is softer than granite. However, you should scrape gently to avoid damaging the granite sealant.

You can apply granite cleaners onto the hard water stains before scraping with a razor blade for best results.


  • You should wear gloves to avoid cutting your fingers.
  • The blade must be level with the granite, or you may damage it.
  • The razor blade must be sharp and clean.

Pumice Stone

Blocks of gray, porous pumice stone.

You can rub off water stains with a pumice stone because it is softer than granite. Furthermore, it is an all-purpose cleaning stone; you can use it to get rid of hard water stains in the bathroom, on tiles, or off the grills. The pumice stone will break down as white powder when you rub it against the hard water stains.


  • The pumice stone must be dripping wet, or it will scratch the countertop.

Granite Cleaners or Hard Water Stain Removers

You should only buy granite cleaners that are pH-friendly. Acidic cleaners may weaken the granite sealant and cause it to peel. On the other hand, pH-friendly cleaners can remove stains on other surfaces, such as glass, Formica, and marble. Most granite cleaners may not deep-clean hard water stains; they are usually more suitable for daily cleaning to prevent hard water stains.

On the other hand, you should use hard water stain removers to thoroughly clean hard water stains from your granite countertops.

Read more: The Best Hard Water Stain Removers for Granite Countertops.

How to Prevent Hard Water Stains

As always, prevention is the best cure. You can save precious time and money by following these stain prevention best practices.

Regularly Wipe with Mild Detergent

Prevent hard water stains on granite by regularly cleaning with mild detergent.
A few drops of mild detergent onto a damp cloth is more than enough for clean granite countertops.

You should regularly clean your granite surfaces with mild detergent and water. Ideally, you should clean it every day. However, twice a week should suffice as long as you keep the granite dry at all times.

Avoid using acidic detergents that have harsh chemicals. Also, you should not use abrasive scrubbing cloths to wipe any surface. Always use non-abrasive tools like microfibre cloths or terry cloths, so you don’t scratch the stone. Moreover, a few drops of dish soap on a damp cloth is more than enough.

Keep the Surface Dry at All Times

To avoid unnoticed water spills from forming stains, you can cover your granite surface with a dry cloth. If you use your granite countertops for washing, you must always wipe the countertop dry after every use. Water left on granite countertops for a while will not cause any stains, so make sure to keep them dry at all times.

Seal with Granite Sealant

Use a granite sealant to prevent hard water stains.
High-quality granite sealants will not only prevent hard water stains but also give your countertops a polished look.

Using a high-quality granite sealant will prevent the granite from absorbing spilled water. However, you should take periodically test the sealant’s condition with a quick water test. Pour a 1/4 cup of water on the countertop. If the water stays like “beads”, then your sealants are in tip-top condition. On the other hand, your granite sealant may require changing if dark spots appear on the surface. These dark spots mean that the water has seeped into the granite.

You should not use mild detergent and any common household cleaners on sealed granite. They contain abrasive substances that may damage and peel away the sealant.

Furthermore, make sure to apply the sealant correctly, or spilled water may seep its way through. The sealant should also contain organic chemicals; harsh chemicals may emit strong odors and cause irritation.

Key Takeaways

  • How to clean soft water stains: Let the water evaporate naturally
  • How to clean hard water stains: Using granite cleaners, baking soda mixed with 3% hydrogen peroxide, a razor blade, or a pumice stone.

We hope you found this in-depth guide on removing hard water stains from granite useful. Which method worked best for you? Share in the comments below!


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