How do I remove the brown stains on my granite countertop?


Our granite kitchen counter has brown stains in the narrow area between two sinks that we believe are caused by mineral deposits from sitting water in this area. We have tried poultices (covered with plastic, taped down, thoroughly dried) with white vinegar and with bleach and had no results. Any suggestions?


ANSWER - There are many different types of stains, so the trick is to try to determine what caused the stain, because if you know that, then you have a chance at figuring out how to remove it.

Since the stain is between the two sinks there is a good chance that there is a metal clip or frame below or near where the staining is occurring.  Water from using the sinks probably collects on top of the granite between the two sinks.  If the transition between the stone and the sinks are not properly caulked (sealed) with a proper ASTM C920 sealant then mater might be migrating beneath the stone and causing the rust or brownish stains.  Sometimes if the stains have started from below it may be difficult if not impossible to remove.

Stains are normally related to the stone being subjected to either excessive moisture or to some other liquid or material.   When there is excessive moisture coming from either above the stone or from below the stone it can cause iron staining.  Many natural stones have iron oxide within it that can rust and cause a stain.  If there is metal under the stone or embedded in the stone and water comes into contact with the metal it can cause staining. There are other types of stains too, which could be from hair dye or other liquids.

There are poultices that can be used to pull the stain out of the stone.  Depending on the type of stain the poultice is prepared to penetrate into the stone and loosen up the stain, and then draw the stain up into the poultice.  A poultice is a chemical or mixture of chemicals combined with an absorbent material to form a thick paste, which is applied to the stone to remove stains.  Without having the right experience, it is difficult to determine how to prepare the poultice for your situation.

Best bet is to hire a professional stone restoration company who has a lot of experience to help determine how to remove the stain.  Otherwise you could go online and look for premixed poultices produced and sold by companies who make cleaners for stone.  Go to the CTaSC website to the Cleaners and Sealers Resource section to see a list of companies who provide cleaners: Cleaners and Sealers.

2 thoughts on “How do I remove the brown stains on my granite countertop?

  1. Karen L Shaffer says:

    I am new to the home & noticed brownish red stains (several) on white with grey & black speckled granite countertops….I “think” it may be rust from the mineral iron oxide & the chemical reaction with water droplets or my cleaning with mild soap & water….All I have used thus far…only living here about a month….& think they have never been sealed, as when water is placed on surface from a condensing cup/glass or when I wipe them down with water & a very mild soap….it immediately gets a few shades darker & within 3 to 5 minutes color is lighter again???? (which is technically rust}, but since I am the first owner occupied person living here after the remodel…Who knows ..maybe is a stain from something when they were finishing up the kitchen remodel ;??? Not sure how I can figure out….Can I send you a pic or 2???? But will listen to what you believe I should do…. Thank you so very much!!! Have a great weekend!!!! 🙂

    • Donato Pompo says:

      If the granite countertop is readily absorbing water then it isn’t impervious and it might not be a true granite. Granites can contain various minerals but they are normally very resistant to rust staining from within the stone. It might be more likely that a metal material was set on the stone that got we and caused the rust stain. This should be cleanable. Go to a home center and they should have rust removers for stone surfaces.

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