DIY Granite/Multipurpose Cleaner

by Ivory Soap

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by James Bowe

 I hate mixing proprietary cleaners.  But, I don’t have special surfaces in my kitchen.  I like the flexibility of choosing my solvent based on my mood.  But if you have granite, marble, tile/grout as your countertops, you have limited options for safe cleaners.  But the good news is, you have limited options.  You don’t have to worry about all the different DIY mixes for all your surface.   Use this cleaner for EVERYTHING in your house.

The Principle

Fussy surfaces are picky about cleaners.  Low maintenance surfaces aren’t.

So, when you’re mixing up your DIY cleaners, go with the fussiest predominate surface and use that cleaner for the ones that don’t care too.  If you have granite and can’t use certain cleaners, there’s no reason to mix up separate cleaners for your metal stovetop.  Metal doesn’t care.  Granite cares.  Use your DIY granite cleaner on your stove. Acid(vin) cleans a stove, bases (soda), alcohol (granite cleaner) cleans a stove, peroxide works too.  But, why mix up another bottle if you don’t HAVE to?

Why Rocks Are Fussy

Grout, granite, and the like are porous.  They must be sealed if you don’t want everything soaking into them and staining.  That seal must be protected. Acid cleaners eat away at the surface. Peroxide cleaners bleach the surface.  Soda scouring cleaners wear off the seal.  Out goes most of the cleaners you know.    but if you turn over your bottle of proprietary granite cleaner and decifer the chemical names, you find five things:  water, alcohol, synthetic detergent, preservative, fragrance.


All-Purpose Cleaner for the Granite/Marble/Tile Dominated House

2 cups water
1/2 cup 70% alcohol
5 drops of Dawn (or some soap shavings if you’re crazy like me)
(optional) a few drops of essential oil if you hate the alcohol smell

  • Put it in a spray bottle and use it on almost everything:  counters, floors, appliances.




Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather July 26, 2012 at 10:14 am

This is so good to know! We’re thinking of installing a tile backsplash in our kitchen soon and new countertops next year — I just assumed I could use my homemade all-purpose cleaner (vinegar, water, and some essential oils) on everything. Thanks for posting this!

Maria in CT July 27, 2012 at 5:30 am

Another great DIY post!

Javalady62 July 28, 2012 at 1:03 am

Thanks for posting this information. I’ve always wondered why the HGTV remodeling shows just skip right over the Maintenance NEEDED for all those expensive granite countertops they install in kitchens and bathrooms. Now we know the ”rest of the story” !! No granite for me, thank you very much. If I ever do replace my kitchen counter tops, I want stainless steel ones. LOL

Patsy July 28, 2012 at 6:51 am

Could someone tell me where to get decent spray bottles? The $0.99 ones at Wal-Mart are not worth bringing home. I am re-using old bottles but the sprayers eventually wear out. Getting down to the last one now. Help!

Sue July 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Amen to Patsy’s statement for a source for good spray bottles that work! As far as cleaners go, do you have a suggestion for Pargo wood floors? I have tried a similar recipe to this with alcohol in it, but then after a while it appears to have dried out the moisture and removed the shine. I have tried putting olive oil on a dust mop and rubbing the floors, but so far the problem is that walking over it leaves footprints everywhere and I still can’t clean it when it’s dirty without drying it out again. The floor is over 10 years old, but otherwise is still in good shape. Does anyone have a suggestion?

Luddy's Lens July 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm

@ Patsy —

I splurge a little and get the $5 – $6 heavy duty Little Giant or Spraymaster bottles at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, etc. They’re worth it. I use them for the “usual” DIY household cleaners (i.e., vinegar- or citrus-based, etc), and they last for years.

Sarah July 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Ivory, what shouldn’t this mix be used on? Just so I know for sure I’m not using it in the wrong place.

Gloria Home Blogs August 2, 2012 at 4:09 am

Wish I’d have read this before I ruined my granite worktop with my cleaner. Oh well you live and learn, thanks for sharing.

Ellie February 14, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Great article!
Could you use something like dr bronners liquid Castile soap instead of Dawn?

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