Basic Natural Stone Care Information
Stone contains natural minerals that may have an adverse reaction to acidic products and commercial cleaners not intended for use on stone surfaces. Some types of natural stone — such as travertine, marble, onyx, and limestone — mostly include calcium carbonate and are vulnerable to damage from acid. You’ll want to clean up spills from harsh chemicals, fruit juices, and wine from the surface as soon as possible.
Different granites will have different levels of resistance toward staining and scratching. While cutting directly on them won’t affect most granite surfaces, you should use cutting boards to prevent your knives from getting dull. Using a sharp object in the same place on a granite countertop can eventually wear down the polish.
Caring For Natural Stone Do’s:
These tips include what you should do as you clean natural stone.
DO Clean Stone With Soap and Water
DO Dust Surfaces Frequently
Dust any stone tile floors you have in your home with a dry dust mop. Any debris can scratch the floor’s surface, especially as people come in from the outside. Try placing area rugs or mats near entrances to reduce the amount of grit, sand, and dirt settling on your floors. Underneath the rug or mat should be a slip-resistant surface. If you’d prefer to vacuum, only use the brush attachment to avoid scratching your stone floors.
DO Wipe Up Spills Immediately
To avoid staining, blot up spills with a microfiber cloth or paper towel as soon as you notice them. Wiping the area could spread the spill, so it’s important to blot it instead. Rinse the surface with water and flush it to make sure you removed all the residue. You should also use a soft cloth to dry the surface thoroughly.
DO Seal the Stone Annually
You’d know if you need to seal your natural stone countertops by dropping a few tablespoons of water on top of it. If your surface absorbs the water in a matter of minutes, it’s time to apply a sealer. In general, you should seal your countertops every year. Light-colored granite and all marble require more frequent sealing. It doesn’t make stone UN-stainable but slows stains and allows more clean-up time.
Follow these easy steps for sealing your stone countertops:
- Deep clean the countertop before applying the sealant to help it absorb it more evenly.
- Apply the sealer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Remove excess sealer with a soft, microfiber cloth.
- Put on extra coats of the sealant as needed.
Caring For Natural Stone Don’ts:
Keep in mind that there are some things you should avoid to protect your natural stone surfaces.
DO NOT Use Abrasive Cleaners or Materials on Any Stone
Abrasives in scouring powders or creams may scratch some stones. These harsh products could also strip the sealer and leave your countertops prone to etching or staining. Mild dishwashing soap is effective for cleaning your natural stone surfaces and will maintain their integrity. You should also avoid using rough scouring pads on your stone. Instead, use a microfiber cloth or paper towel when cleaning your countertops.
DO NOT Use Vinegar, Lemon Juice, or Other Acidic Cleaners
Acids could etch or dull your natural stone countertops. You’ll notice dull spots most on glossy or polished stone surfaces. Instead of using a vinegar solution or citrus cleaners, use a mild detergent and warm water to keep your countertops clean. It also helps to seal your stone surfaces to prevent etching from acidic products.
DO NOT Use Commercial Cleaners With Harsh Chemicals
Most commercial cleaners contain ingredients that could strip the minerals in your stone surface, leaving permanent stains. Besides avoiding these products, you should also avoid mixing ammonia and bleach because they create a toxic gas. Instead, use a mild detergent with warm water or a homemade stone cleaner to remove the debris from your countertops.
DO NOT Place Hot Items Directly on Your Countertops
Some engineered stone countertops contain resins that could melt and develop permanent stains when exposed to heat. Avoid placing hot items from the stove or oven onto the surfaces in your kitchen. Instead, use trivets or hot pads underneath pots, pans, and hot mugs to maintain your surfaces’ appearance.
DO NOT Place Food and Drinks Directly on Your Countertops
Many foods and drinks contain acids that dull or etch your stone surfaces. Avoid cutting tomatoes and other acidic foods directly on your countertops, and use coasters under all glasses, especially those with citrus juice or alcohol. You should also use cutting boards and plates when handling acidic foods in your kitchen.
Different Types of Products for Natural Stone
Sealing countertops is recommended once per year. Lesher Natural Stone, Quartz, & Tile seals all kitchen, bath, vanity, and stonework with an impregnating polymer sealer before installation. We recommend the use of impregnating sealers. They penetrate below the surface and become repellent. Impregnators keep contaminants out but don’t stop the interior moisture from escaping. These products are “breathable,” meaning they allow for vapor transmission. They’re generally water-repelling and may also be oil-repelling.
For more information about how to clean natural stone, contact us online or call 1-717-944-4431.