STONE CARE GUIDE
New natural stone is an investment in lasting beauty that will give many years of enjoyment. This care guide gives a few tips on how to properly care for natural stone and help extend its life and beauty. Following some simple precautions, properly sealing, and using the correct cleaning methods and products, will insure a lifetime of use from natural stone.
Most tile applications require only a periodic cleaning with a small quantity of soap and warm water to remove dirt and soil buildup.
Sealing Your Stone
The most important step to take to protect your natural stone is the sealer. Being a natural stone and not a manufactured product, it does have some vulnerability. Sealer protects the surface of the stone from things that could discolor or ruin the finish of the stone. Usually your contractor or installer will seal your stone after installation. After that, its all up to you. Its recommended that your reseal your stone every 10-12 months. You need to do this because every time you clean the surface of the stone it takes away from that protective sealer. To seal your stone is a very simple process. After buying your sealer at any local hardware store, all you need to do is clean the surface of the stone thoroughly. Then, make sure the surface is dry. This is a very important step because if you miss any dust or dirt it will be sealed to your stone. Then, like the directions on the bottle, you will either just spray the sealer to the surface or spread it evenly with a sponge. Let it sit and dry, and just like that you’re done.
Cleaning Procedures & Recommendations
Keeping stone free of dust and dry, sandy soil will minimize the scratches and wear-patterns that can develop from everyday use of some natural stone, such as marble, limestone and sandstone. Sweep or dust all natural stone surfaces regularly to remove loose soil and dust.
Clean natural stone on a regular basis with warm water and a clean, non-abrasive cloth, sponge or mop. In addition, using warm water and a little soap will help remove soils that normal dusting or damp mopping leave behind.
Do not use general purpose cleaners or you may damage the stone or the sealer applied. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids as these may etch the stone surface and damage the polish. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.
Countertops and Vanities
Use a stone-cleaning product or a little soap and warm water, then damp-wipe the surface on a regular basis to remove residues from cooking oils and everyday food spills as well as hairspray or other cosmetics. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that may etch or dull the stone surface. Also, some common toiletries (e.g., perfume, toothpaste, mouthwash) contain acids and other ingredients that may damage the stone surface or degrade the sealer.
Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the potential damage from these particles. In addition, be careful when using a vacuum cleaner as the metal or plastic attachments or wheels may scratch the surface.
Damp mop the stone floor with a stone cleaning compound or a little soap and warm water. Keep off floor until completely dry, as wet stone floors may be slippery.
Bath and Other Wet Areas
Periodically clean surfaces with a little soap and warm water, then rinse off.
What To Do When A Spill Occurs
No matter how careful you are, spills are going to happen. A quick response and the right solutions can keep spills from damaging stone or the sealer. Do not leave spills on floors or countertops for an extended period of time. Clean immediately. Be particularly careful with travertine, as it stains more easily than other stone (and granite stains the least).
Substances that are highly acidic, such as orange juice, coffee, vinegar, wine, tomato products, mustard and many soft drinks, will “etch” most marble, limestone and travertine – whether the stone is sealed or unsealed. Although sealing allows you time to wipe up a spill, it cannot stop the chemical reaction that may leave a dull area or etch mark in the stone.
If you identify the stain as having an oil base (from foods like salad and cooking oils, butter, or some cosmetics) you may be able to remove the stain using a poultice (click here for a demonstration). An easy-to-use poultice is designed to slowly remove oily stains from natural stone surfaces.