Removing Fresh Granite Sealer from Countertops


I have a black granite countertop that was sealed over a year ago and I tried to seal it again today.

The sealer I used today caused it to become sticky and hazy...

How do I remove the sealer before it becomes cured?


A freshly applied granite sealer can be removed, but you'll need to strip it off and that requires a little elbow grease.

The longer you wait to remove a sealer, the more difficult it will be.

How To Remove Granite Sealer Residue

  1. First try scrubbing the countertop with 0000-grade (very fine) steel wool or a Magic Eraser. This may be sufficient to remove the sealer streaks.

    If scrubbing doesn't work... you'll need to chemically strip off the dried sealer residue.

  2. Pour fresh sealer onto the countertop.

  3. Agitate fresh sealer by rubbing the surface with a nylon pad or brush for 3-4 minutes. The fresh sealer will combine with the dried sealer residue.

  4. Wipe the surface completely dry. Wait an hour and note if the hazy residue is gone. If not...

  5. Repeat steps 2-4 using Methylene Chloride instead of the sealer.

It's not the sealer's fault. Unfortunately, it's yours (or whoever told you to blindly apply a sealer every year).

Few granite colors need sealing every year. And many never need sealing.

our how to seal granite countertops page for all the important facts, tips, and advice (why, when, and how) about sealing natural stone.

And our All About Sealing e-book offers a ton of helpful info. Really everything you will ever want to know about sealing granite and natural stone.

Haze and sealer steaks are usually the result of applying a sealer when not needed or when done incorrectly.

For instance, black granite countertops rarely need sealing. Or if a sealer was recently applied (like a year or two ago) then resealing is probably unnecessary.

Letting a sealer dry on the surface is another common mistake resulting in streaky surface residue.

To accurately determine if a granite countertop (or any stone) needs sealing in the first place, perform the simple test for sealing granite.

Resealing frequency required will vary from stone to stone. Each slab of granite or marble or slate is different.

The test will tell you if or when your granite could be sealed (or resealed) and then it's up to you to decide if it should be sealed based on the intended use and installation location (i.e. if risk of staining is low, then no need to apply a sealer).

When sealing is necessary, you'll get the best results with one of these recommended granite sealers.

Comments for Removing Fresh Granite Sealer from Countertops

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5-year-old hazy granite counters
by: Godzilla

We had our house built about 5 1/2 years ago. I always noticed that our granite counters looked streaked & hazy.

I thought maybe I was cleaning them wrong. Perhaps that’s not the problem at all.

How do I "fix" my hazy granite counters? Thank you.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Granite countertops should not look hazy or streaky. They should have a uniform smooth finish.

Well, most commonly granite countertops have a polished (shiny) finish and some are honed (matte). So most are smooth, but other finishes like leathered or brushed will have some texture.

But even textured finishes should not be hazy or streaky.

The only real cause of this problem is sealer residue.

Either a sealer was applied incorrectly or it did not need to be applied at all.

Some homeowners and granite fabricators or installers make the mistake of allowing the granite sealer to dry on the surface which leaves a residue that looks hazy.

It is also streaky from wiping around the sealer or from wiping off the sealer but not good enough to remove all residue.

It is possible to remove this haze if done within a day or two of sealer application. However, the longer it sits the harder it is to remove hazy sealer residue.

After 5 years, it will be very difficult to remove this steaky haze.

But might as well give it a try. Follow the steps outlined in this article above using either acetone or methylene chloride (if you can find it).

Methylene chloride is a pretty potent solvent and some states are now banning its use. But it will likely take a potent solvent to remove the haze at this point.

Removing Steaks from Dried Sealer
by: Anonymous

I put sealer on yesterday and it was a high gloss. I think it was not for countertops. There are some streaks. How do I remove the sealer?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

I'm not sure if you are saying that the countertop was high-gloss or you applied a sealer that was supposed to create a high-gloss finish.

Standard impregnating stone sealers do not add gloss or shine or change the color. '

Topical coatings can add a gloss, but topical coatings are not a good idea. They can wear a lot faster and easier than the granite itself.

An "impregnating" sealer is the type you want to use.

And if an impregnating sealer is not applied properly, then it will leave a streaky haze.

This usually happens when the sealer is left to dry on the surface. You should not let a sealer dry.

Apply the sealer, allow to dwell and absorb, then wipe off all excess and buff dry.

If you get the hazy steaks, they can be difficult to remove. However, the steps to remove hazy dried sealer streaks are listed at the very top of this article.

The info on this page above explains this issue and everything you can try to do to remove sealer residue from granite or marble countertops.

Metallic Leathered Granite Sealing Problem
by: April

I just had a metallic leathered granite installed in our bar. I loved the rough, matte, stone look of it.

When they installed, the seam areas were left discolored...more black and kind of sticky.

They returned and said they used a sealer that they had not brought the original day and now it would look much better. Told me not to wipe it off as I was going to try and rub/dry it so I could see what it looked like.

Well the next day, it doesn't look better. It still looks kind of wet, now shiny and feels tacky. It now looks more like a finished piece of granite as opposed to the leathered piece I bought.

What do I need to do to restore the natural look?

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

Sounds like they applied a "color-enhancing" sealer which will make the granite darker with a bit of a sheen. It will look "wet".

This is meant to be a permanent treatment. Not likely that you can remove the sealer or the effect of the sealer (wet look).

You can try washing with acetone, but do so in a small area as a test to see what happens. It may do nothing, maybe remove some of the color, but look splotchy, or if lucky remove it.

Dried Sealer. Can you help?
by: Anonymous

When my new granite counters were sealed, I was told to leave it on 24 hours. It was a bit more than that when I tried to wipe it off, and of course it wouldn't.

A bit came off with a damp cloth and lots of elbow grease, but most of it is still there.

I'm not sure what to do now. Should I try to use the 0000 steel wool, or baking soda, or what?

I was told to use a ph neutral cleaner, which did absolutely no good. Now, the beautiful counters I saved for for so long are not what I'd envisioned.

Do you have any suggestions?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Unfortunately, the advice you got is all too common and 100% wrong. A stone sealer should never be left on the surface to dry.

Really, a sealer never needs to be left on the surface for more than maybe 10 minutes at the very most and then must be completely removed and the surface wiped clean and dry.

Now that you have a dried sealer residue on your granite countertops you'll haver to try and strip it off.

You can try scrubbing with 0000 steel wool. If not very effective, then try washing with acetone (let is sit for a bit.... won't harm the granite at all) and then scrub with a nylon pad.

If acetone doesn't work, then you'll have to wash with a more potent solvent like methylene chloride.

Not fun, but usually you can strip off hazy sealer residue especially when recently applied.

Removing sealer streaks and stickies immediately
by: Penny

I have a dark grey mottled granite countertop that I hadn't sealed for 2 years.

Feeling very guilty, I sealed it today and was left with sticky streaky spots (like so many others). I immediately got online to see what to do about it, and found your website.

Not wanting to have to strip it, I immediately went back to the counters, and using my daily granite cleaner/restorer and the non-scratch side of my sponge I started rubbing vigorously and wiping away the excess with paper towels.

I'm pleased to say that the residue came off nicely. And a large glass ring (probably from our peanut butter jar) that appeared when I sealed it, also came off with my "fix".

Thanks for the advice. I'll be buying some products when it comes time to address our bathroom marble.

===Countertop Specialty comment:

Good Job! Yes, if you immediately address the sealer dried on the surface you sometimes can remove the streaky residue with simple cleaning methods.

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