How to Remove Rust From Granite

In 2016, the NAHB concluded that an overwhelming 64% of new homes built had granite countertops. Now, the numbers have only grown.

If you have granite countertops, there’s one problem you’ll eventually run into: rust.

It’s not easy to remove rust from granite, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s not as simple as wiping it off like you would with laminate.

Below, you’ll find several different methods you can try out to see what works for the rust issues that you’re having. 

Why Removing Rust From Granite Countertops Isn’t Always Easy

Rust isn’t normally difficult to remove on most surfaces, especially kitchen ones like laminate. 

However, granite is a porous type of rock, so rust will actually seep underneath the surface. Once it’s at that point, it’s incredibly difficult to remove since you can’t wipe down the inside of the rock. 

Removing rust from a place that you can’t see or physically reach is difficult, and it requires strong cleaners that have the ability to attract the rust and draw it out. Even if the cleaner can permeate the surface and get to the rust, it needs to be able to be drawn back out, otherwise, the rust will come right back.

Some people will look to a professional cleaner right away, but there are several methods you can try yourself before calling the cleaner. 

Where Rust Comes From

Rust comes from water that has met iron and oxidized, and it creates a red/brown color. For some people, this kind of stain on granite is appealing; it shows that it’s been used, and it’s one of a kind. 

However, many people want to clean it. After all, it alters the original beautiful granite slab that you picked from the beginning. 

Before you clean the rust, it’s important to determine where it came from. Several things can create rust in a kitchen. 

If the rust has developed around your sink, check for a leaky faucet. This is one of the most common problems since your counters run right into your sink. Once you get the leaky faucet fixed, you can start cleaning up the rust.

Another thing to think about is if it’s in an area where you’re mixing things often. Standing water that’s left on the counter can seep into your granite countertop, creating rust on the inside. 

Method 1: Rust Cleaner Paste

One of the most popular methods for rust removal in granite countertops involves rust cleaner and flour. This is the most successful method in most cases, but it also involves a lot of work.

You’ll need to buy a type of heavy-duty rust remover and mix it with flour. Pretty much any rust remover will work with this, but keep in mind that you’ll need to get it into a liquid form before being able to mix it, so a spray means you’ll be taking a lot of time getting the liquid.

Next, you’ll want to cover the area where the rust is with your paste, or where you expect it to be. You don’t need a very thick layer, but put at least a quarter of an inch on the surface. If it’s any thicker, it takes longer to dry and it doesn’t work better.

Cover the paste with plastic wrap and seal the edges (you can do this with tape). Wait for 24 hours and then see if the paste has dried. Keep the plastic on until it’s fully dry.

Once it’s dry, you can pull the paste off. Make sure to be gentle, and use water on the spots that won’t come up easily. 

You can repeat this process if it doesn’t work the first time!

Method 2: Oxalic Acid

Another rust removal method is to use oxalic acid. However, this method can be harmful to your granite countertop, so make sure that you’re being careful and following the instructions completely.

Oxalic acid is sold as little crystals, and you can buy it online. The first thing you’ll need to do is dilute the acid with water according to the instructions on whichever kind you buy. Be as precise as possible with this step.

After that, you’ll need to put just a drop on the surface of the rust. If it’s a large rust stain, you can use a few drops to cover the surface of the stain. Don’t add too much though, as that’s the easiest way to go wrong. 

Once you’ve done that, give it fifteen minutes to soak in. Sometimes the granite will actually absorb the drop, and if that happens, add another drop. Repeat this process as many times as necessary until the droplet stays on the surface of your granite countertop.

Use a cotton ball to absorb the liquid back up and out of your countertop. If the cotton ball is brown, then you know it worked! If the cotton ball is still white, then you can repeat the process a few more times to try and force the stain out.

You can clean your countertop after to make sure you don’t leave any acid solution on—if it stays on your countertop, then you could cause damage! 

Method 3: Hydrogen Peroxide

One simple way of dealing with surface rust stains is with hydrogen peroxide. You can use a 4% solution to clean like you would with any other cleaner. Just don’t go any higher, as you risk damaging your granite countertops.

The only downside to this method is that it doesn’t get further than the very surface of your countertop. If you’ve got a sealant or another type of protective layer on your countertop then this will work great. However, if you don’t, then the rust is more likely to spread into the granite and this method won’t get it all out. 

You can also use this method if you know that the rust has formed from something on the surface (like a leaky faucet) and you notice it right away. At that point, there probably hasn’t been any time to grow into your countertop.

How to Prevent Rust

There’s one sure-proof way to make sure that rust doesn’t grow into your granite countertops, and it makes rust removal easy: protect your counter. There are a few ways you can do this.

Sealing your granite countertops is a process that you can do yourself if it isn’t done when you purchase and have your countertops installed. It’s fairly simple: all you need to do is clean your countertops, spray the sealant on, and wipe it in with circular motions similar to waxing.

For more information on sealing, you can check out this article. It will take you on a deep dive about sealing granite countertops!

Keep in mind that you will need to reseal your granite countertops as time goes by, and there are plenty of different sealing solutions you can buy. If you have any questions about how to properly care for your counters, check out our countertop care guide.

Another way to prevent rust is by cleaning regularly. Since water needs to accumulate and sit on top of your countertop to create rust, you can prevent this from happening by wiping down your counters often, especially after you use the sink or cook. This is an easy step that doesn’t take much time. 

Things to Avoid When You Remove Rust From Granite Countertops

Whenever you’re dealing with any natural stone, you’ll need to stay away from things like vinegar or lemon juice. While this is great for cleaning laminate or wooden floors, it can be disastrous for natural stones, like granite. 

Likewise, make sure that you’re not using anything too harsh to rub onto your granite countertops. It’s true that granite is extremely durable, and a lot of people even cut directly onto granite. However, it can break down any protective sealing that you’ve had done.

Also, steer clear of bleach. It’s another great household cleaning product, but it can actually stain your granite, dulling its color or even changing it completely. This is irreversible damage, so don’t let this happen to your counters. 

Further Materials

Granite countertops are beautiful, and they’re increasingly popular in the United States. However, it can be difficult to remove rust from granite countertops, so metal appliances and cooking ware can often spell trouble.

Remember to keep an eye out for any new rust discoloration spots or stains and deal with them immediately. The longer you wait to take care of it, the worse the rust will get. At some point, you may end up needing to replace your granite countertops. If that happens, we can help. 

For more information on countertops, check out our blog! We have plenty of tips to help you with natural stone counters. At any point, if you have questions about how to take care of your granite countertops, feel free to contact us.


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