Caring for Stone

Natural stone is an investment that will give you many years of beautiful service. Stone is a natural product and simple care and maintenance will keep it looking beautiful. These are recommendations from the Marble Institute of America:

Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the stone surface. Use trivets or placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that can scratch the surface.

All stone surfaces
Clean stone surfaces with neutral cleaner, stone soap (available at hardware stores or from your stone dealer) or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Change the rinse water frequently. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.

Floor surfaces
Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean, non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn as the attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface. Bath and other wet areas In the bath or other wet areas, using a squeegee after each use can minimize soap scum. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Frequent use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface.

Vanity top surfaces
Vanity tops may need to have a penetrating sealer applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. A good quality marble wax or non-yellowing automobile paste wax can be applied to minimize water spotting.

Food preparation areas
In food preparation areas, the stone may need to have penetrating sealer applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. If a sealer is applied, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use on food preparation surfaces. If there is a question, check with the sealer manufacturer.

Outdoor pool & patio areas
In outdoor pool, patio or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use a mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.

Do's and Don'ts

- Do dust mop floors frequently
- Do clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap
- Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing
- Do blot up spills immediately
- Do protect floor surfaces with non-slip mats or areas rugs and countertop surfaces with coasters, trivets or placemats
- Don't use vinegar, lemon juice or other cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine or onyx surfaces
- Don't use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners of tub & tile cleaners
- Don't use abrasive cleaners such as dry or soft cleansers .
- Don't mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas. sealing and maintenance

The Marble Institute of America supplied the above information and also offers a brochure on treating spills and stains on stone surfaces. One free copy is available by sending a self-addressed, stamped business size envelope to: Marble Institute of America, 30 Eden Alley, Ste 201, Columbus, Ohio, 4321