Maintaining Antiqued or Leathered Absolute Black Granite

antiqued leathered black granite countertop - how to clean and maintain


We recently had leathered absolute black granite installed. The installer applied a granite sealer.

I asked him about some streaks before he left, and he said they would wipe off over time. They didn't, so they came back, applied acetone, and then re-sealed it.

Then a week later I cleaned my glass stove-top with a cleaner made for pots and pans, some got on the granite surrounding the glass stove-top and the granite has now lightened to a pale grey color.

I called the granite dealer and he said we should only use soap and water to clean. I explained that some of the stovetop cleaner got on to the granite.

So my questions are...

1 - Is this normal, that you can only use soap and water on the stovetop? And if any of the stovetop cleaner gets on to the granite that it would "stain" and...

2 - What is he doing wrong? He said he will come back again, apply acetone and re-seal.


Most likely it is the granite sealer itself that reacted to the cleaner and caused what is called an "etch mark."

Some sealers are reactive to acids and especially if there is dried sealer right on the surface, which is what the streaks were.

Etching is a problem with marble because marble is reactive to acids, but granite is not sensitive to acids, so it is not the stone itself.

Absolute Black granite typically does not need sealing since it is so dense and essentially does not stain.

However, antiqued, leathered, honed or otherwise non-polished finishes can require additional granite care as explained below.

What is Leathered Granite?

Leathered granite is any color of granite with a "leathered" finish. The term "leathered" refers to the look of the surface finish. The appearance of leathered granite can vary considerably, but generally, is smooth, not shiny, and with a subtle texture like ridges or dimples.

Granite can have several different types of finishes such as polished (shiny), honed (matte), brushed, flamed, antiqued, or leathered.

The installer is not doing anything "wrong" per say... except perhaps not being exacting enough in his application of a granite sealer and/or testing to see if the surface even needed it.

Just to be clear... what you have is not a "stain." Stains occur when substances absorb into the stone turning the stone darker in color. You are not likely to ever stain this granite especially if it is sealed properly.

Your spot is a "lighter pale-grey color," so you need to find out what is being

Diagnosing Leathered Granite Sealer Problem

Again, the pale-gray spot is likely due to a reaction with the sealer. A type of etching or chemical burn.

I suggest that you do a little maintenance and experimenting yourself to diagnose the spot by cleaning with acetone and then testing with lemon juice.

Perform the lemon juice test on the cleaned area. Let it sit for a few minutes and wipe clean.

Does it leave a lighter spot? It shouldn't. Now do the same on an area that was sealed, but not cleaned with acetone/methylene chloride.

Does the lemon juice leave a spot on this area?

If yes, then you have your answer... the sealer is reactive to acids and it is probably not being absorbed or applied properly.

A sealer residue remains on the surface and this residue is reacting with other chemicals. This etching reaction leaves a pale or chalky dull spot on the surface.

It is very important, especially with low-absorbency stones like absolute black granite that you do NOT let any sealer dry on the surface.

You should also test if sealing is needed (follow lemon juice test but with water) once you have stripped the sealer off.

Black granite usually does not need sealing since it is naturally very dense and stain-proof especially with a polished finish.

However, a honed, brushed, flamed, or leathered granite finish may need sealing as these types are more porous than a polished finish.

Cleaning Leathered Granite Tips

Cleaning leathered granite countertops doesn't require any different procedures or cleaners than cleaning a polished or honed granite countertop.

These are just different types of finishes.

  1. Spray on a quality granite cleaner

  2. Wipe and scrub to remove food residues, grime, and dust

  3. Buff dry and shiny with a clean cloth

A leathered granite finish will generally collect more dirt and dust because of the uneven surface. Therefore it will take more effort to keep clean.

Soap is not recommended to use as a regular cleaner as soap residue builds up over time making the surface look dull and dirty... then you need to strip it off.

It is often recommended for cleaning because everyone has soap, it's cheap, and won't "hurt" your stone.

Just not a smart or effective cleaning method.

We recommend using products formulated specifically for natural stone. You'll find products and brands that we've found perform the best at the Stone Care Center.

For regular granite countertop cleaning, you should use Granite Countertop & Marble Cleaning spray.

To remove soap or hard water films use the Soap Film & Hard Water Remover.

Comments for Maintaining Antiqued or Leathered Absolute Black Granite

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Removing Granite Polish on Leathered Black Granite
by: Anonymous

When the fabricators installed our leather absolute black granite they applied a granite polish.

It made it beautiful and shiny until the polish was touched at which point it smudged.

I don’t think the installers realized they shouldn’t put that on the leathered stone (our island is polished quartzite).

I wiped off all of the polish from one section of the granite where it was the worst and then waited until the next day to call my fabricator to find out what they had put on the counter.

At that point I was unable to wipe the polish off in a few places. The granite has not been sealed yet.

What can I do to get the polish off before they come to seal the countertops?

They had a few spots they needed to re-cut which is why they haven’t sealed it yet.

====== Countertop Specialty comment:

You can remove the granite polish by washing the surface with acetone or mineral spirits.

These solvents will not harm the granite but should remove any residues including the polish product.

If it was a temporary type of topical polish, then likely they just applied it too heavily which is why it smudged so easily and was hard to remove.

Topical polishes are really only meant to be used on "polished" (shiny) finishes to enhance the natural shine. They are temporary and will wear off in time.

They can be used on leathered or honed finishes but they just then add a bit of a sheen. Not really the intended finish to use a polish on.

But also black granite will show smudges far more easily than any other color even without the polish on it.

You should apply a Color-Enhancer Sealer if you want to permanently darken the color and give the surface a "wet look".

This type of sealer will also make smudges less noticeable.

Also, be sure to use a quality Granite Cleaning Spray to protect the surface and sealer.

But note that black granite often does not need sealing since it is so dense and naturally stain-resistant.

However, leathered or non-polished black granite is more porous and may need sealing.

Just don't let them apply it and leave it to dry. If the sealer dries on the surface it can leave a streaky haze that is exceedingly hard to remove.

Make sure they allow the sealer to completely absorb, but then remove all excess and sealer residue and buff completely dry.

Removing Grape Seed Oil on AB Leathered Granite
by: Anonymous

I have an Absolute Black leathered granite countertop in my kitchen and love it.

Mine is not the deep leathering that some are. Very light.

Someone suggested putting grape seed oil on it. I did and it is beautiful... dark and a little shine.

But... it is a little tacky to the touch.

Can I use denatured alcohol to remove it?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

I can't say for certain that the denatured alcohol will remove the grape seed oil, but it won't harm the granite at all.

It's likely that the oil has absorbed a bit into the granite.

You could also try acetone. Or really for an oil... plain soapy hot water may work.

Just don't use soap as your regular cleaner or it will build up into a dull film no matter how much you rinse and wipe with clean water.

Haze On My Leathered Absolute Black Granite Countertop
by: Lydia

I just had my black absolute leathered granite countertops installed but there is a haze to it and hand prints and finger prints show.

Why and how do I fix it?

I understand that the leathered countertops have a matte finish which is what I loved about it but it should not have a haze look to it.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

A dull streaky haze is usually from sealer residue.

Absolute Black granite typically does not need sealing since it is so dense. Although, a leathered finish may benefit from sealing as it is more porous.

However, the haze occurs only when the granite sealer is applied incorrectly and allowed to dry on the surface.

When applying a sealer it is super-important to remove all excess sealer and buff the surface completely dry otherwise any remaining residue will form a haze that is difficult to remove.

Try washing and scrubbing with acetone or mineral spirits. Solvents like these will not harm the granite at all but be careful of your cabinets and walls.

Regarding the fingerprints... this is the Achilles Heel of black granite. Really all dark surfaces with minimal pattern will show fingerprints and smudges much more so than lighter colors or countertops with busy patterns.

It is usually worse on honed or leathered or any non-polished finish but even a polished finish will show smudges.

Applying a Color-Enhancing Sealer helps a lot with this problem.

However, it will darken the color and add a bit of sheen that makes the countertop look like it's wet.

Leathered Countertop Smudge
by: Anonymous

My leathered black granite countertop on my island is a smudge magnet. I was keeping up with it by using an envirocloth. This was working very well.

The other day, some Jet-Dry Finish Rinse Aid spilled on the countertop creating two large smudges. The smudges are a lighter grey than the rest of the island. They are very noticeable.

What can I do to get rid of these marks?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Black granite is a great choice in many ways, but it can be smudgy and strange etch-like marks sometimes happen.

It could be that the Jet-Dry reacted with a sealer applied. Try cleaning with acetone. If that doesn't work, then have your installer come take a look. Refinishing may be needed, but that's tough on a leathered surface.

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