Each type of natural stone is unique, varying in texture, colour and marking, so the possibilities of creating stunning designs with it are practically endless. Provided that you follow some simple care and maintenance rules, this natural product will keep on looking gorgeous for years to come. Here’s what you should know.
You should clean your stone surfaces with a stone soap, neutral cleaner, or a mild liquid detergent and warm water. As with cleaning most of other items in your house, an excessive concentration of soap or cleaners can easily cause streaks or leave a film, so you don’t want to go overboard with it. After washing with a soap solution, thoroughly rinse the surface, changing the rinse water frequently, and then dry with a soft, clean cloth.
In the bath and other wet areas, you can minimize soap scum by using a squeegee after each use. Using a solution of ammonia and water (around 1/2 cup ammonia to 5 litres of water) can help you get rid of soap scum, but bear in mind that overuse of ammonia-based solutions may dull or etch the surface of certain stone types in the long run. Whatever you do, never mix ammonia and bleach because this combination produces a toxic and lethal gas.
There are many commercial solutions for stone cleaning but you have to be careful with most of them. For instance, products containing vinegar, lemon or other acids can dull calcareous stones, whereas scouring creams or powders containing abrasives can scratch different types of stones. Hydrofluoric acid (HF) can be found in some rust removers and literally all natural stones will be attacked if exposed to it.
Sealing is a step commonly taken on different types of natural stones as a precaution against staining. In reality, the sealing products used for this purpose actually impregnate the stone, rather than sealing it, i.e. sealing doesn’t make natural stones stain-proof, but is does make them more stain-resistant.
Even though your supplier may tell you that natural stone for kitchen doesn’t require sealing, you should know that is a common practice to apply an impregnating sealer on it. In any case, if a sealer is applied on a surface where food is prepared (a countertop, for instance), make sure that it is safe for use and non-toxic.
Following several simple tips will allow you to preserve the beauty and get the longest possible life of your natural stone. For example, area rugs or mats on both sides of the entrance door can help minimize the dirt, sand and grit, which are all quite abrasive and can easily damage your natural stone floor. You should also frequently dust mop the floor with a clean, non-treated dry dust mop. If you use a vacuum cleaner, ensure that the wheels or the plastic and metal attachments are not worn because they are likely to scratch the surface of most natural stones.
Using coasters under all glasses and bottles, especially those containing citrus juices or alcohol, is always a good idea. In case there’s a spill, you should immediately blot it with a paper towel, but don’t wipe this area, as it will only spread the spill on the stone. Instead, flush the area with mild soap and water, then rinse it several times and dry it thoroughly with a soft, clean cloth.
***Lillian Connors is a blogger and home improvement enthusiast ever so keen on doing various DIY projects around her house and passionately writing about them. She is also an online marketing consultant, closely collaborating with a number of companies from all over the globe. You can check her out on G+, Facebook and Twitter.