How To Remove Stains From Granite Countertops

Nothing makes a kitchen look as sleek as sparkling granite countertops, but it only takes a single stain to ruin that look. If you want to get rid of that stain, don’t reach for those harsh chemical cleaners under the sink; they might actually do more harm than good. It is especially important to stay away from cleaners that eat at the stone, like vinegar or anything made with lemon. 

Here are a few ways to remove any stain from your granite countertops:

Materials

  1. A non-abrasive cloth or pad that won’t scratch the granite countertop (microfiber cloths work great). 
  2. A pH-neutral soap (these soaps are usually labeled ‘mild,’ ‘gentle,’ or ‘great for hands’) or a granite cleaner. 
  3. Plastic wrap
  4. Mixing bowl
  5. Masking tape
  6. Plastic putty knife (optional)
  7. A poultice (See below: different ingredients based on the kind of stain)

Poultice

For each kind of stain, there is a different poultice (a fancy word for a wet mixture). Each of these poultices is made of a solvent (a chemical to remove the stain) and an absorbent material (such as a paper towel, talcum powder, diatomaceous earth, or even flour). 

If you know what caused the stain, it will make things easier to clean up. If you don’t know what caused the stain, try the first poultice on this list before moving on to anything harsher. 

  1. For minor stains, use a mixture of baking soda and water. This will work on many kinds of stains without causing too much damage. You can also try a mixture of flour and soapy water. (Make sure to use a pH-neutral soap!)
  2. For organic stains (caused by coffee, soda, wine, fruit, etc.), soak paper towels in 12% hydrogen peroxide (don’t buy this from a drug store, get it from a beauty supply store). Be careful: hydrogen peroxide can cause dark areas to become lighter, so if you have dark marble, do not let the poultice sit for too long. 
  3. For oil stains (caused by cooking oil, butter, etc.) mix one part water, flour, and pure acetone (make sure to purchase this through a beauty supply shop, do not use nail polish remover, as these can contain other ingredients). 
  4. For inorganic stains (caused by ink, dyes, etc.) use hydrogen peroxide for light-colored stone or acetone for dark-colored stone. 
  5. For metal stains (caused by rust, copper, etc.), use a mixture of diatomaceous earth and a commercially available rust remover. However, be warned that rust stains are very hard to remove, and you may need to call a professional to have these stains removed. 

Removing The Stain

  1. Clean the area thoroughly with warm water and a pH-neutral cleaner.
  2. Let the area dry.
  3. Mix poultice ingredients in a bowl to form a thick paste (the consistency of peanut butter) and use it to cover the stained area with a thin layer. When using a liquid poultice, you can also just soak the liquid in paper towels. 
  4. Cover the entire stain with the poultice.
  5. Place plastic wrap over the poultice and secure the edges of the plastic wrap to the counter with masking tape to ensure it stays put.
  6. Poke holes in the plastic wrap with a pin to allow it to slowly dry. 
  7. Let the poultice sit for at least an hour. (For tougher stains, let the poultice sit overnight and up to 24 hours.)
  8. Remove the plastic and use a plastic putty knife or scraper to remove the poultice completely.
  9. If the stain is still visible after a few days, repeat the process. 
  10. When you are done, make sure to re-seal the area that was cleaned to ensure that the area is protected from future stains. 

Make sure to test this solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the countertop to ensure that there are no adverse effects. Some poultices do cause minor discoloration that goes away after a few days, so make sure to give it time to heal before freaking out. However, if the stain persists, you can always try a professionally-made poultice or call a professional granite cleaner.

3 Home Improvements That Aren’t Worth It For Sellers

Houses are a big-ticket item when selling them most improvements will yield big returns. Proper staging is one of the first things your agent will tell you to get sorted out before officially putting your home on the market. That starts with clearing your house of personal items, out of place furniture, clutter and giving it a deep clean. After that, touch-ups and minor repairs need to be tended to, ensuring the home is pristine. Sellers who are really looking to maximize their profits often include major home improvements.

The logic is major home improvements, while expensive, will yield far larger returns. When it comes to touching up a scuffed up wall, it’s a no-brainer, but once you start investing significant capital, the proposition becomes riskier and can end up coming back to bite you.

Generally, improvements to kitchens and bathrooms are high impact and while you still need to be frugal when executing them, they are generally less risky. If you’re looking at other types of improvements, it’s important to always consult an experienced real estate agent first. Here’s an example of presale home improvements that are not only a waste of time, but they could also easily end up costing you more than you stand to gain.

1. Trendy Design & Decor

It’s always a nice touch to keep up with the latest design trends, it takes any house to the next level. And while it may pique the interest of buyers with sophisticated taste, you’re ignoring the typical buyer which represents a far larger segment of prospects. The key when showing a home is appealing to the widest range of buyers possible, that means nothing flashy. With paint, stick to whites and grey’s, traditional hardwoods and conservative, yet tasteful finishes in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Colorful living room with armchair and coffee table.

2. DIY Projects Better Left To The Pros

When executing home improvements to stage a home, DIY projects are great because you save on the most expensive part of a renovation; labor. There are limitless little improvements you can do to spruce up the place and impress prospective buyers. It’s important, however, not to bite off more than you can chew. If you take on a project that’s better left to the pros, you can end up causing a mess and have to pay someone more to clean it up than you would have had you hired a pro in the first place. Only take on projects you can handle or risk wasting time and money.

Frustrated Woman With Self Assembly Furniture In Kitchen

3. Smart Home Upgrade

Every home these days has aspects that are smart, but are all smart homes? To be considered a smart home, it has to be fully automated, including security, lights, curtains, thermostats, appliances, and on and on. No doubt fully automated smart homes are desirable to almost any buyer, but is it worth upgrading your home to this status before selling? Fully automating your house is expensive and while prospective buyers may think it looks cool, it won’t factor into their offer. Gadgets aren’t as important to buyers as layouts, finishes, and location. Don’t waste your time and money on this home improvement.

Smart house concept. Communication network of residence. Energy management system. IoT. AI.

3 Instances in Which It’s a Good Idea to Accept the First Offer

The art of negotiation is fickle and nuanced. A lot of the time it’s important to use your gut and get creative in order to get what you want. Like with anything, however, there are certain principles that are sacrosanct and need to be employed, such as ‘never accept the first offer’. 

Anyone who knows anything about negotiating knows that the first offer is usually a lowball offer. Whomever is making the offer knows that no matter what number they put out there, there’s very little reason to expect the seller to accept it. This forces them to purposely make an offer below what they think is fair in order to eventually get close to something realistic.

While real estate negotiations are similar to other forms of negotiating, there are many aspects that set it apart, as any good real estate agent knows. One such aspect is when to accept the first offer.

Generally, unless the first offer is irrationally high, the best thing to do is field offers from other potential buyers to better gauge what the market dictates you can get for your home and in ideal scenarios, precipitate bidding wars. However, because the real estate game is unlike any other game, there are scenarios in which accepting the first offer is a good idea.

1. After Finding Your New Home

In real estate, most purchases are made with contingencies that the buyer sell their house first, as not to be forced to carry two mortgages and a whole host of other potential complications. If you’ve already found your new home and you’re not getting a lot of bites on your current home, this is a scenario in which it may be a good idea to accept the first offer, provided it’s reasonable. The last thing you want to do is put the deal on your new home in jeopardy, finding the right home isn’t easy.

Family On Moving In Day

2. Relocating For Work

Relocating for a new job opportunity can be exciting, but is generally very nerve-racking. It’s not easy leaving your hometown for somewhere unfamiliar and coordinating all the necessary logistical aspects for a smooth transition. Compounding that stress with a complex home sale is not a good idea. Provided the first offer is reasonable, take it. There are many other things you’ll be inundated with during this stressful chapter in your life.

Moving for work.

3. Cash Offer

Did someone say cash? Accepting a cash offer circumvents many of the issues associated with a complicated closing, like not having to wait for the loan to be approved. Additionally, if someone has that much money on hand, they’re likely not buying on the contingency that they sell their old residence, eliminating uncertainty and complications associated with them selling their current home. As long as the offer is reasonable, accept it, it will make your life easier by simplifying an already complex transaction.

Cash on hand.