5 Natural Stone Cleaning Tips to make Your Surfaces Look Like New
If your natural stone counter-tops or floors don’t “shine” like the first time you saw them, you’re not alone. Natural stone cleaning, maintenance and sealing needs to happen regularly to keep its like-new look — and that’s especially true for homeowners in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. If you’ve fallen behind, here are a few simple steps to get your natural stone back on track.
Be Smart, Not “Tough” on Natural Stone Stains
Time is of the essence when something is spilled on a natural stone surface. The longer it sits, the deeper it’ll penetrate. Blot the surface to dry the spill and rinse the area with water and a mild, neutral detergent. Depending on what type of material was spilled, the Natural Stone Institute suggests these steps to attack any stain that’s left behind:
- Oil-based stains: Cooking oil, grease and cosmetics will leave an oil-based based stain behind that looks dark or cloudy. Gently clean the area with ammonia, mineral spirits or acetone.
- Organic stains: Fruit, papers or coffee will leave behind a brown-pinkish stain. Gently cleaning the area with hydrogen peroxide mixed with a little ammonia can help.
- Water spots: Hard water spots or rings on the surface of natural stone can be gently buffed with steel wool.
For tough stains on natural stone, the solution is never to “scrub harder.” Figure out the source of the stain and the best way to attack it is the solution.
Make Sure Your Natural Stone is Sealed Regularly
Natural stone needs to be re-sealed on a regular basis to ensure ongoing protection. How often your natural stone needs to be sealed depends on what type of stone you have, and how it’s used. Natural stone counter-tops or floors near high-moisture areas like sinks or showers should be sealed every 12 months. A simple “penny test” can be used to determine when sealing is needed in other areas. Place a few drops of water the size of a penny on your natural stone counters or floors and wait a 20 minutes to see if it penetrates the surface, darkening the stone. If so, sealer should be reapplied. And, for best results, contact a tile and natural stone contractor.
Turn to the Professionals for Natural Polishing, Restoration
Eventually you’ll find that your natural stone doesn’t have the same “shine” that it once had. This result from dirt penetrating the surface from normal wear and tear, scratches over time, or etching from acid-based cleaners that cloud the surface. Professional natural stone restoration can help restore natural stone shine. The process begins with a thorough cleaning and rinsing. It continues with diamond abrasive grinding to remove a microscopic surface layer of damaged or stained stone and honing to uniformly smooth out the stone surface. Finally, the process concludes with polish and sealant.
Always Clean Natural Stone With a Soft, Microfiber Material
Natural stone doesn’t just look beautiful — it’s a very durable building material, too. But marble and granite are porous materials. Stains occur when liquids like red wine or orange juice seep in. That’s why natural stone needs to be sealed. And cleaning a natural stone surface with anything other than a soft, microfiber material breaks down the sealer over time. This leads to stains or etching. Hard scrubbing with abrasive materials can even cause small surface scratches.
Avoid Acid Cleaning Solutions on Natural Stone
Avoid cleaning natural stone countertops or floors with any chemicals that contain lemon, vinegar or other acidic ingredients. They’ll leave behind a film, streaks or, even worse, etching. Instead, use a few drops of a neutral cleaner like stone soap or mild dishwashing detergent and warm water. Finish by rinsing the surface with water and drying it with a soft towel.