Natural stone products are unquestionably an outstanding choice for your home. They add beauty and flare to the rooms in your home. You can create countless stunning designs. Since each piece varies in texture, marking and color, you can achieve a distinct interior décor that truly expresses your personality.

Many homeowners install natural stone products for the value they add to their homes. The rich shine and luster after their installation gives homeowners inexpressible satisfaction. It’s this magnificent shine that homeowners desire to maintain for long. For the homeowners who are knowledgeable about maintaining natural stone products, their lustrous surfaces are the envy of neighbors and guests. For most homeowners however, that’s not the case. Rather, it’s disappointment and frustration. And it’s solely because they lack the basic knowledge and education about the maintenance of the beauty and life of natural stone.

There are specific guidelines and directions you need to follow for maintaining your natural stone products. Detailed here are 6 helpful tips.

Tip #1: Take Preventive Measures

Natural stone products, especially the calcite-based ones made of limestone, marble, travertine, and most slates, have a fragile chemical composition. If you clean them with common household cleaning solutions not specifically formulated for this task, the natural stone surfaces may interact in damaging ways with the solution you use. However, once you know the particular cleaning agent to use, you just need to follow some simple guidelines. And your natural stone products will last for years and years.

Some common preventive measures include:

  • Place coasters under glasses, specifically the ones containing citrus juices or alcoholic beverages to prevent etching.
  • Never place hot vessels and pans directly on stone surfaces. Use mats or trivets under hot household utensils.
  • Use placemats under porcelain, silver, china or other objects that can damage or scratch the stone surface.
  • Use a cleaning product only when the label specifically states it’s safe for natural stone surfaces.

Tip #2: Attend to Spills Immediately

Spills are inevitable and unavoidable in your home. Some spills turn out to be extremely detrimental to stone surfaces if left unattended. Tomato sauce, orange juice, yogurt, perfume, salad dressing, liquors, vinegar, wine, after shave, lemonade, the wrong cleaning product and a host of other liquids may not damage “green marble” and “granite” surfaces in the short run. But all of them certainly Etch onyx, polished marble, limestone, alabaster, travertine, and most slates. So you must attend to spills immediately.

Some common precautionary measures for dealing with spills include:

  • Always pick up spills, even insignificant ones, as quickly as possible.
  • Never rub a spill. Just blot it.
  • Never use cleaning solutions on or even near your natural stone products unless the label specifies it’s safe for use on natural marble.
  • Be extra careful when using a glass cleaner for cleaning the mirror set over a natural stone vanity top.
  • When the toilet is set on a natural stone floor, use a liquid toilet bowl cleaner carefully. Avoid spilling the cleaner on the stone surface below.

Tip #3: Invest in Premium Cleaning Tools

Maintaining natural stone products isn’t only about the cleaning product. It’s about the cleaning implements as well. The cleaning rag, squeegee, scrubbing pad, paper towel, etc. play a vital role too. A premium mop and first-rate mopping bucket are indispensable for obtaining the best outcomes when you’re mopping highly polished natural stone flooring.

A sponge mop is a poor choice for cleaning highly polished stone floors. Pick a closed-loop cotton string mop instead. Microfiber mops are unquestionably the best for this purpose. Invest in extra mop-heads. When one is dirty, you can toss it into the washing machine and continue with the cleaning.

Tip #4: Adhere to these Guidelines for Maintaining Natural Stone Floors

Never damp-mop the floor soon after it is installed and grouted. Although you may not cause much damage, the fine powder residue on the floor will dissolve in the water and leave difficult-to-remove streaks on the floor surface. Hence, during the first week, just vacuum the floor. Avoid using worn vacuum cleaners. Use a canister vacuum cleaner or central vacuum system. An upright vacuum cleaner may damage the floor surface. Use a dry, clean microfiber mop or non-treated dust mop to clean the floor frequently. When the whitish powder is removed completely (in about a week), you can damp-mop the floor.

Never damp-mop newly restored (refinished) natural stone floor. Also, don’t damp-mop the floor using stone soap and plain water. As with other soaps, stone soap also leaves a difficult-to-remove deposit on the natural stone surface. Stone soaps have extremely limited uses. And they’re certainly not the best choice for cleaning a newly restored stone floor. Don’t use even the special “rinse-free” stone soap.

Use a specifically formulated heavy duty stripper/degreaser on your natural stone floor to remove the accumulated soap scum. For everyday cleaning, use a pH neutral detergent. Avoid using any soaps including dish soap because they cause streaks and smears.

Never damp-mop the floor using plain water and a common household cleaner, unless the label indicates the cleaner is safe for use on natural stone surfaces. Even worse is mopping the floor with a solution of plain water and vinegar. Since vinegar is highly acidic, it’ll damage the floor surface.

Carry out a deep-cleaning of the stone floor as well as grout lines when required. Use a solution of tap water and a heavy-duty tile, grout and stone cleaner for this. If the floor has a direct access to the outside, use the best floor mats. The rubber or leather of your footwear won’t damage the floor. But the dirt will. So it’s important to use good instead of “fancy” floor mats. Clean the floor mats regularly because they tend to get saturated with dirt and sand. And sand particles damage the floor surface.

Safeguard your natural stone flooring by covering the furniture legs in your home with protectors. This measure effectively prevents scratching and chipping.

Tip #5: Handle Your Kitchen Countertop with Great Care

The most common erroneous recommendation you hear about maintaining natural stone kitchen countertops is using a solution of plain water with mild dish soap for cleaning their surface. Using a glass cleaner is the next faulty recommendation. Glass cleaners are harsh on the stone and the sealer of your kitchen countertop.

Water and dish soap solution leaves an unsightly as well as an unsanitary film that only builds up and becomes progressively difficult to remove. Check how long it takes and how much water you need to rinse off the soap from your hands whenever you wash them with dish soap. So to achieve the same effect, you’ll need to use generous quantity of water to get rid of the dish soap from your countertop if you wash it using a solution of plain water and dish soap.

Never use generic household cleaners available in the supermarket on your kitchen countertop. Instead, use specialty cleaners formulated for dealing with the delicate chemistry of natural stone. Clean your kitchen countertop every day with a stone safe cleaner. Use full strength near cooking and eating areas. Dilute 1:1 with plain water for use in areas situated away from these places. Never let any spills stay for too long on the countertop surface. Blot these spills up as swiftly as possible.

Avoid using a green or brown scouring pad for treating dried on spills. The silicon carbide grits in these pads will scratch most natural stone countertop surfaces. Plastic scouring pads and sponges lined with silvery nets are safe to use on stone countertop surface. Spray the cleaner on the countertop surface and let it remain for a while (few minutes) before scrubbing. Your job becomes easier when you permit the cleaning agent to do the work.

A stone polish does a terrific job. It brightens your polished countertop and gives it extra shine. But ensure that the active ingredients are categorized as “food-grade.” Stick to the label instructions.

Tip #6: Use Your Bathroom Vanity Tops and Other Natural Stone Accessories Carefully

Use a stone-safe product that’s soap free for cleaning your vanity tops. Dilute the product 1:1 with plain water because your vanity top typically needs a light-duty cleaning.

Never risk cleaning the mirrors located over natural stone vanity tops using a regular glass cleaner. There’s a chance of the overspray spilling onto the stone surface and damaging it. Therefore, you should clean the mirrors using the same 1:1 plain water and stone-safe solution you use for cleaning your vanity tops. Even if you overspray the solution onto your vanity top, it’ll not be damaged. Use a stone polish for adding extra shine to your vanity top.

Never use a cream cleanser or powder cleanser in the vicinity of your vanity top. And don’t color your hair or do your nails anywhere nearby. Never put any wet bottle (aftershave, perfume, etc.) on it. Keep your cosmetics in a mirrored tray that has legs covered with felt tips.

Monitor the grout and caulk lines in your shower stalls periodically. Address any issue quickly. Clean your shower stall every day. After everyone finish their shower, spray the floor and walls of your stall with a diluted solution of plain water and spray cleaner. And then squeegee.

For removing soap scum that’s accumulated over time, use a soap film remover formulated specifically for not interacting adversely with natural stone surface. This remover will clean the accumulated soap scum as well as hard mineral deposits.

Never use generic soap film removers and mildew stain removers on your polished natural stone shower stall. Never use magic self-cleaners and harsh disinfectants. Clean mildew stains with a specifically formulated stone safe mildew stain remover. Spray your toilet with specifically designated stone safe disinfectant spray.

Summary

Although natural stone surfaces are tough and highly durable, they require timely care and maintenance. When it comes to maintaining natural stone products in your home, you must first and foremost take a preventative approach. The better you care for the natural stone products, the longer they’ll last. They’ll retain their magnificence longer as well.

June 10, 2015
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