I just sealed my new granite countertops and I'm experiencing a haze or a film on the surface.
How do I clean it off?
A haze or residue left after sealing granite countertops (or marble, floor tile, or any natural stone) is the result of the sealer drying on the surface, which should not happen.
Hazy streaks after sealing can occur for two reasons:
1. The granite countertops did not need sealing. Many granite colors are naturally dense, non-absorbent and cannot (should not) be sealed. This is also true with some marble, travertine, etc.
I know you read and hear that "all" granite "must" be sealed, but that is flat out false. If a sealer is applied when not needed, it just sits on top without absorbing and leaves a hazy, streaky or blotchy granite sealer residue.
2. The granite sealer was improperly applied. If the granite countertops did need sealing but the sealer was (incorrectly) left to dry on the surface, you'll get the streaky-hazy residue.
The most important step when sealing granite countertops (or any stone installation) is to completely remove all excess sealer and residue from the granite countertop surface.
Unfortunately, many installers do not know this and will tell homeowners to apply a granite sealer and just leave it to 'soak it'. Crummy advice.
They can get away with this on many stones that are porous enough to absorb all the product applied, so no sealer residue remains on the surface.... but it is still a 100% incorrect way to apply an impregnating stone sealer.
Never blindly slap on a sealer. First, always determine if the granite countertop (or any stone or tile) even needs sealing by testing the stone as noted.
When testing demonstrates that the surface "could" be sealed, then you make a judgement call (location, use, risk of staining) whether or not to actually apply a stone sealer, but you never apply a granite sealer "just to be safe".
When testing tells you the stone does not need or even cannot be sealed, then don't do it!
How To Remove Granite Sealer Residue:
Now that you have the streaks, you'll have to try and remove the sealer residue from the surface.
Remember, stone sealers are designed to remain on the stone for as long as possible and take a relatively long time (a few years) to break down or wear away.
Thus, removing granite sealer residue that has dried or cured on the surface can be tricky and troublesome.
Here's a few potential solutions to try:
You may get lucky scrubbing with steel wool or a magic eraser. Do this on granite or honed marble & travertine only. Such abrasives could scratch a polished finish on marble or travertine.
In most cases, you'll have to strip off the sealer residue using certain solvents. The exact choice (acetone, mineral spirits, methylene chloride) will depend on how tough it is to remove.
I don't know how to restore it to a shiny granite countertop.
No matter what I do to 'polish' it, the haze returns as soon as I wipe off the polish.
Imagine a kid covered his hands with toothpaste and rubbed it all over the counter.
You can't see it when you look DOWN at it, only when you look at it from the side. It's a combination of streaks and now water stains or spots and glass rings too.
I've only had the house one year. I don't know if it was ever 'sealed'. I've never sealed it. What can I buy to fix this?
Well, since you are not certain what has been done to this granite countertop, I can't be certain either, however, what you describe is classic granite sealer residue from improper sealing technique.
If a sealer is applied on a granite countertop (or any type of natural stone) where the stone is too dense and already naturally stain-resistant, then all that will happen is the sealer will dry on the surface leaving a dull, blotchy, or streaky haze like you describe.
This can also happen on a granite countertop that should be sealed, but the excess sealer was not removed properly and again it dried on the surface.
I suspect this is what happened in your case. Unfortunately, removing the hazy cured sealer residue can be difficult. You'll likely have to use powerful solvent like methylene chloride to strip it off.
Despite what you may read that sealing granite countertops must be done on all granite every year, it's not true.
Many granite colors need a sealer applied, however, very few granite countertops will need annual resealing.
Frequency for applying a granite sealer depends on many variables, but most surfaces will go 3-5 years before needing more sealer. Some can go 10 years and if you use a permanent granite sealer like Senguard, you'll never have to re-seal.
The "water stains" and glass rings are not actually from water and they are not stains. These are from acidic substances etching the sealer residue on the surface... not the granite itself.
Follow the e-book instructions (link near top) on how to remove sealer residue and you should get rid of the water marks and get your shine back!
Our black granite countertop has hazy rings and a hazy ghost spot. What can we do to clean it up?
Used to be that most varieties of black granite were nearly stain-proof and did not etch.
Now, many black granite countertop slabs are dog stones that will etch or have been doctored with a coloring agent to make them more black and this dye will etch creating the "ghost spots" you describe.
Improper sealer application could be to blame as well. Putting a sealer on a non-absorbent black granite countertop is trouble.
The sealer remains on the surface rather than absorbing into the stone and forms a film that can etch creating the rings and dull spots.
In any case, you'll need to remove whatever is on the surface using solvents. Try acetone or methylene chloride (found in paint strippers).
If the MC doesn't work, then likely you have a a rare granite that etches but most likely it is a sealer residue or doctoring dye issue.
I used SCI cleaner to clean my black granite and 8 hours later used SCI Sealor to seal it.
The black granite in the bathroon (which was done 24 hours ago) looks fine.
The black granite in the kitchen (which was done 6 hours ago) has black blotchy spots all over it.
Do I have a problem? If so, what should I do?
Without knowing exactly how the granite sealer was applied I can't say why one seems fine and the other blotchy, but....
Most black granite does not need a sealer. Black granite countertops are typically so dense to be essentially non-absorbent and will not stain except in extreme circumstances.
In fact, most black granite cannot be sealed since the sealer will not absorb.
When a granite sealer is applied to a black granite like Absolute Black or Black Galaxy it just sits on top until it dries leaving a dull hazy, streaky, or blotchy sealer residue on top.
Now, if the sealer is wiped off completely prior to drying like it should be, then you may not develop any problem. It's not likely the sealer absorbed much if at all into black granite, but wiping down until dry at least avoids creating a haze problem.
If applied and left to dry, it is possible that some sealer absorbed in some spots and in other areas it didn't.
Anyway, here's how to remove sealer residue:
Strip it off by washing and scrubbing with methylene chloride. You may have luck re-applying the sealer to try and get it to re-absorb the dried sealer then remove all excess and dry completely. But may be too late.