Care & Maintenance
Cleaning and Caring for Natural Stone
Many common foods and drinks such as alcohol or citrus juices contain acids that will stain or dull the surface of many stones, so using coasters is a great and simple to retain the beauty of your natural stone surface. Avoid placing hot items directly on a natural stone surface. Be sure to use trivets or mats under hot pans and dishes in the kitchen, and use placemats under plates, flatware or other objects that can scratch the surface.
Clean natural stone surfaces with a couple drops of a neutral cleaner, a mild liquid dishwashing detergent, or an appropriate stone soap and lukewarm water. Take care to avoid using too much cleanser or soap that can leave a sticky film or unsightly streaks. Using a clean cotton or rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces offers the best results. Do not use cleansers that contain acidic agents such as lemon or vinegar or on limestone or marble. Never use scouring creams or powders that contain abrasives that may mark the surface.
Remove soap scum in the bath or other wet areas with a neutral soap scum remover or a solution of about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water. However, avoid over-use of an ammonia solution which may gradually dull the surface of the stone. Vanity tops and surfaces in food preparation areas should have a non-toxic penetrating sealer applied.
Outdoor natural stone surfaces can be cleaned of algae or moss by flushing the area with clear water and using a mild bleach solution.
Spills and Stains
If you spill or drop an acidic substance on a natural stone surface, you should immediately blot the spill with a clean dry cloth or paper towel. Avoid wiping the area as it will disperse the spill. Flush the surface with tap water and mild soap and then rinse thoroughly before drying the area with a soft cloth, repeating as necessary.
If a stain appears on your surface, you’ll need to identify the type of stain to determine the proper method of removing it. You can often remove stains by cleaning the surface with an appropriate product or household chemical. Deep-penetrated or stubborn stains may require calling in a professional.
Efflorescence is a white crystalline deposit that sometimes appears as a white powder on many types of surfaces such as marble, granite, other natural stones, ceramic tile, concrete and even wood. It is caused by mineral salts that exist in moisture below the surface of the material that slowly rises through the stone and evaporates, leaving the chalky substance. Removing the substance is easy by dusting with a clean dry cloth or mop, but do not use water as the powder will only disappear temporarily. New installations may require repeated dusting as the stone dries out. Contact your fabricator if the problem persists to help identify and remove the cause of the moisture.
Etch marks are caused by acids left on the surface of the stone. Some materials will etch the finish but not leave a stain. Others will both etch and stain. Once the stain has been removed, wet the surface with clear water and sprinkle on marble polishing powder, available from a hardware or lapidary store, or your local stone dealer. Rub the powder onto the stone with a damp cloth or by using a buffing pad with a low-speed power drill. Continue buffing until the etch mark disappears and the marble surface shines. Slight surface scratches may be buffed with very fine steel wool. Deeper marks and dents in the surface of the stone should be repaired and re-polished by a professional.