When it comes to cleaning your granite counters, there’s definitely a risk of using a cleaner that’s too harsh. Surprisingly, though, one of those cleaners is one you likely selected specifically because it seemed mild and safe for your family.
The cleaner in question? White vinegar. Everybody and their brother (as well as their environmentally conscious mother) recommends the stuff. And truth be told, it’s a pretty great and cheap cleaner you can use for just about everything—from getting greasy handprints off your stainless steel fridge to removing hard water deposits from your sink. The latter, however, is the issue. At Apartment Therapy they write:
Vinegar spells trouble for granite countertops (and any other natural stone countertop). The acid in vinegar wears away at the protective sealant that prevents spills from penetrating the stone and causing permanent stains. In addition, over time vinegar can cause etching in the granite itself. This is also true for other acidic cleaners, such as lemon juice and citric acid; the latter is commonly found in products designed to clean metal, tub and tile, and some all-purpose cleaners.
The other acidic cleaners can’t be stressed enough. Not only is vinegar not a great solution to use on granite because of the etching risk, but stronger cleaners are even worse. I use a very strong acid to clean my espresso machine every few months. Only a little bit dripped on the counter (and left unnoticed) will permanently etch the surface.
Instead, skip the cleaning acids and stick to finish-friendly options like warm water and dish soap or specialty granite cleaners.