Cleaning & caring for natural stone
In addition to being beautiful, durable, & inimitable, natural stone is an investment that adds value to your home. Follow these simple guidelines to keep it looking beautiful for generations to come!
First Things First: Know Your Stone
Natural stone is an umbrella term that includes a wide range of materials. Because not all of them require the same treatment, it is important to know what you have. Most natural stones fall into one of two categories based on their composition:
Siliceous Stone is composed mainly of silica. Siliceous stone tends to be very durable, & some can be cleaned easily with mild acidic cleaning solutions. These include granite, slate, sandstone, quartzite, brownstone, & bluestone.
Calcareous Stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate. Calcareous stone is sensitive to acidic cleaning products. These include marble, travertine, limestone, & onyx.
When purchasing cleaning products for your natural stone, make the label confirms that it is safe for the type of stone you have. Products that are recommended for granite, for example, might cause damage if used on marble. We generally advise against using acidic cleaning solutions whenever you can help it, but it's especially important to avoid acidity when cleaning calcareous stone.
The Dos & Don'ts of Cleaning
Follow these simple guidelines during your daily or weekly cleaning routine to safely & effectively keep everything looking pristine.
Do sweep or dust mop stone floors often to prevent scratches caused by dirt & debris.
Do clean stone using a mild detergent. When in doubt, reach for the one with the baby ducks on the bottle.
Do thoroughly rinse with clean water after cleansing to remove any residue. Then, gently dry the area with a soft, clean cloth.
Do blot up spills immediately. Refer to the spot cleaning tips below.
Do seal stone annually or as needed according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Don’t use acidic cleaners, especially on marble, limestone, travertine, onyx, and other calcareous stones. This includes vinegar, lemon juice, & other natural remedies, which are highly acidic.
Don’t use vacuum cleaners unless you know they are in good condition. Damaged beater bars and cracked or dirty wheels can quickly scratch the stone’s surface.
Don’t use abrasive cleaners or rough cleaning tools as these may scratch the stone.
Don’t mix different cleaning products unless directions specifically instruct you to do so. And of course, don’t mix bleach & ammonia. Like, ever.
Spot Treatment for New Spills
Whether you spilled coffee, red wine, spaghetti sauce, or something nastier, follow these simple steps immediately to clean the area & prevent a stain from setting. Note: If your stone has been properly sealed, you will have much greater success with these steps!
Sweep away any loose dirt or debris.
Gently pat (not wipe) spills with an absorbent cloth.
Rinse the area with water & lather with a mild detergent.
Rinse & repeat as needed.
Dry the affected area with a soft cloth.
Once a stain has set, knowing the type of stone & the type of stain will be vital to prescribing the right solution. You may benefit from a poultice, a hydrogen peroxide solution, mineral spirits, or something else entirely. Always test new cleaners in an inconspicuous area in case an unexpected reaction does occur. But before you try any of these, do a bit more research, or reach out to a professional (like us!) for specific advice.