The A-to-Z of natural stone care and cleaning

General care and precautions

  • Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices.
  • Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the surface of many stones, especially if polished.
  • Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Although resistant to high temperatures, natural stone is sensitive to quick and great temperature changes.
  • Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that can scratch the surface.

 

Cleaning procedures and recommendations by area

Floor surfaces

Dust and 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 rugs inside and outside the entrance door will help you minimise the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is non-slip. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn: the metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface.

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Other surfaces

Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral (0PH) cleaner, stone soap (available at hardware stores or online) or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent (only if 0PH) and warm water. For best results, use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces. Too much cleanser or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone. Rinse the surface thoroughly after cleaning and dry with a soft cloth. Do not use scouring powders or creams – these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface. Some stone – such as Bianco Carrara marble – are more sensitive to water; in such cases limit the amount of water used and make sure you dry it.

Bath and other wet areas

In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimised by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Be aware that frequent or over-use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of the stone.

Vanity top surfaces

Vanity tops may need to have a penetrating sealer applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. A good quality marble wax or non-yellowing automobile paste wax can be applied to minimise water spotting. We typically recommend the brand Lithofin.

Food preparation areas

In food preparation areas, the stone may need to have a penetrating sealer applied – check with your installer for recommendations. If a sealer is applied, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use on food preparation surfaces. If there are questions, check with the sealer manufacturer.

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Outdoor pool & patio areas

In outdoor pool, patio or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use a mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.

 

All products for stone are widely available, either off or online. Here’s a list of manufacturers we recommend:

  1. Akemi Stone Care
  2. Lithofin
  3. FILA Stone Care

 

For more in-depth information on how to look after your stone, read “DOs and DONTs of natural stone maintenance” and “The 10 commandments of natural stone“. If you have any question or require assistance, do not hesitate to contact us.

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With over 10 years of experience within the industry, Paolo is an expert tile and stone consultant. Driven by the passion of what is aesthetically pleasant and at the same time practical in everyday life, Paolo has a strong voice within the marketplace and he is not afraid to use it.