How to clean a granite hearth
Monday, 24th March 2014, Jane Gibson
Granite is a popular stone choice when it comes to hearths and it's easy to see why. They come in a wide variety of colours, are robust, attractive and most importantly, they are easy to clean.
However, it's also easy to damage your granite by cleaning it the wrong way, so here's a guide that will help you avoid making any of those mistakes.
Preventing stains and marks
It's far easier to prevent damage now than try to fix it later. Granite is very hard-wearing and is immune to most forms of damage, but if you spill something on your hearth and don't wipe it up straight away, it's likely you your granite will be left with a watermark. For this reason, it's advised that you wipe up any spillages straight away; you should also towel-dry the area afterwards too.
Don't place anything hot on the surface of your hearth either, as although granite is heat-resistant you risk leaving a scorch mark. That means putting any fireplace pokers away properly - don't take the risk.
When clearing away any ash or dust, use a soft cloth and don't rub dirt away with anything that might scratch the granite. The same applies when wiping away any spillages - use a sponge or damp cloth rather than an abrasive scrubber.
Ideally, you want to clean your granite hearth once a week to keep it looking at it's best. Thankfully, this is a very simple task and it's hopefully all you'll ever need to do to maintain your hearth.
First of all, fill a bowl with warm water and add a little bit of normal dish soap. About two or three tablespoons should be enough; you don't want to make the water too soapy, or the suds will be harder to wash off afterwards. Mix the soap and water together then get a sponge or soft cloth. Wet the sponge and begin to wipe down the granite. Don't be afraid to scrub hard, as long as your sponge isn't abrasive you will not damage your granite. Be sure not to miss any grout lines, if you have any.
Once you're happy you've cleaned the whole area, throw out the soapy water and replace with clean water. Wipe down the granite again, making sure to get rid of any leftover soap. If you don't, your granite will acquire a weird sheen. Then get a clean towel and carefully dry your hearth. This step is very important, as if you don't bother drying your granite properly it will just look like you haven't cleaned it at all.
You can also choose to use a stone polish containing liquid wax and silicone once a week to help minimise the chance of watermarks occurring. This shouldn't be necessary as long as you keep people's wet glasses off your hearth though.
Some people feel it's necessary to do a more thorough clean once a month, but this all depends on how much you use your fireplace. You'll probably find yourself cleaning your hearth during the winter more than the summer, for example. Alternatively your fireplace might be purely decorative, so you shouldn't need to clean it too often.
If you do want to do a deeper clean every month though, you should use a specialist granite cleaner. Hanafinn Oxy-Klenza is a good choice for such tasks, particularly if you've got any troublesome stains that need removing. It can remove grease, mould and algae, among other things.
Before using it on your whole hearth, make sure to test it on a small area first. If you're happy with the results, you can then go on to clean the whole area. There are two ways to use this product, you can either mix it with water or just sprinkle it onto a wet surface. Make sure to follow the manufacturers instructions when using this or a similar product.
Never use acidic cleaners, such as bleach or window cleaning fluid. These can dull the surface of your granite, damaging it permanently.
If you have a stain on your granite that really won't budge, you can always create your own poultice to try and get rid of it. This involves mixing powdered whiting and hydrogen peroxide. Simply follow the manufacturer's instructions and create a thick paste. Apply this to the stained area only - you do not need to cover the whole hearth with it. Do make sure the whole stain is covered though by overlapping the area with paste by about an inch. The paste should be around a quarter of an inch thick.
Next, cover the stain with a plastic wrap and seal the edges with tape. Poke a couple of holes in the top of the plastic to help it dry faster. You'll then need to leave it for about two days to dry - don't remove it if it's still wet. Once it's dry, wipe away the paste using water and use a clean cloth to wipe down the area. Be warned that the stain in question won't necessarily disappear straight away. You might need to go through this process several times, but don't do it more than five times.
Alternatively, instead of creating your own poultice, you can make one using a product such as Hanafinn Oxy-Klenza.
As long as you look after your granite hearth well, it should be easy to clean and maintain. Just remember not to use any harsh chemicals or cleaners on it, because not all stains or damage can be reversed. However, this is relatively easy to avoid, so you should have a pristine hearth for many years to come.