Cleaning & Maintaining Natural Stone


Calcium-Based Sedimentary Stones


Travertine, Marble, Limestone, and Onyx

Seagrass limestone and Crema Marfil tumbled marble mosaics with glass decorative inserts and a Crema Marfil polished liner

Calcium-based sedimentary stones (onyxmarble, limestone, and travertine) are sensitive to acid and harsh chemicals, so you need to use non-acidic cleaners.

 

Cleaning products with acidic citrus or vinegar bases (such as Simple Green), or limescale-eroding cleaners like Scrubbing Bubbles and Lime-Away will severely damage your stone. Intense cleaners such as bleach can also etch and discolor these stones.

 

For everyday cleaning, we recommend a stone-specific cleaner such as Kleen & Reseal, which adds a bit of sealer with each cleaning. 

Textured Stone


Slate and Quartzite

Stacked Slate and Quartzite in various shades of cream, green, brown, and gold

The rough, layered nature of slate and quartzite with a natural cleft or splitface finish makes it difficult to wipe down. Cloth cleaning rags, paper towels, or dusting cloths can catch and tear on the various ridges and edges.

 

We recommend using stone-specific cleaners (Kleen & Reseal or our concentrated Tile & Stone Cleaner) in conjunction with a non-abrasive scrub pad for regular cleaning. The scrub pad will loosen dirt or grime without scratching the stone or leaving fibers behind.

 

Quartzite is a hardier material than slate, and most are acid-resistant, allowing you to use stronger cleaners or all-natural cleaners (including a vinegar solution). Be aware that strong cleaners will decrease the life of your sealer.

Splitface Mosaics and Ledgerstone

Stacked Slate and Quartzite in various shades of cream, green, brown, and gold

We don't recommend installing a dramatically textured tile in showers or on kitchen backsplashes specifically because the texture makes it easy for residue to build up. The extremely rough texture of splitface mosaics or ledgerstone makes it difficult to wipe down and clean up. Cloth cleaning rags, paper towels, or dusting cloths can catch and tear on the various ridges and edges.

 

We recommend using stone-specific cleaners (such as Kleen & Reseal or Tile & Stone Cleaner) in conjunction with a non-abrasive scrub pad for regular cleaning. The scrub pad is less likely to leave any sort of fibers behind and can scrub your stone without scratching it. 

Unfilled Travertine

Scabos unfilled and tumbled travertine Versailles mosaic with ivory filled and honed travertine tiles and a Tuscan bronze Schluter Quadec trim

Travertine is naturally quite porous with large pits and voids. Most travertine tiles are sold with a fill for a smooth, solid surface, but some people prefer the look of natural, unfilled travertine. If you're looking for a Tuscan-style floor or a antique-looking backsplash, make sure you know the maintenance involved in unfilled travertine.

 

Most of the pits will be filled with grout during installation, especially with small tiles or mosaics. How flush the grout is with the surface of the tile (and, consequently, how easy the surface will be to wipe down) depends on how conservative you are when cleaning up the grout. However, if you choose to leave them unfilled (large format tiles on a floor, for example), be aware that dust or crumbs will accumulate in the pits, requiring regular vacuuming. 

Polished Stone


Polished Jerusalem Gold limestone mosaic between beige porcelain field tiles

Many people equate a polished surface with "cleanliness." While it's true that a high shine looks clean and a smooth surface is easier to wipe down, a polished stone is just as porous as an unpolished stone and still needs to be sealed.

 

A polished surface will show water spots, chips, scratches, and etching more easily than a matte surface will. Keep this in mind when selecting materials for high-traffic areas.

 

When installed on a countertop, we suggest cleaning polished stone with Kleen & Reseal. This product will help extend the life of the factory polish and add a bit of sealer with each use.

Granite

New Venetian Gold Granite Kitchen Countertop and Backsplash with Wine and Cheese

Granite is extremely durable, and can withstand most basic houshold cleaners. However, to extend the lifetime of your granite and protect its polished surface, we recommend a stone specific cleaner such as Kleen & Reseal.

 

 

As long as you use a good stone cleaner, avoid chemical damage from inappropriate cleaners, and apply a long-lasting sealer, granite will stay beautiful for a long time.

Marble, Onyx, Polished Travertines and Limestones

White Carrara Marble Tiles

More delicate than granite, calcium-based stones are susceptible to acid damage and harsh chemicals. Take extra care when selecting one of these stones for a kitchen countertop (where spilled fruit juice, vinegar, or other foods can quickly etch it) or for a shower stall (many shower cleaning products are designed to dissolve limescale or hard water build up and will erode your stone). 

  

For everyday cleaning of polished calcium-based stone, we recommend Kleen & Reseal, which refreshes the sealer with each cleaning, helping to protect the stone from future damage. 

Seal your Natural Stone, Guard against Stains


Miracle Brand H2O Plus Sealer for marble, granite, limestone, travertine, and more

The first step to protecting your natural stone is to apply a quality sealer. A good sealer acts as a barrier on porous natural stone and helps prevent staining, and can last 10+ years. We recommend Miracle's H20 Plus penetrating sealer.

 

If you have polished stone countertops, use a water-based sealer, not a solvent-based sealer. A solvent-based sealer will dissolve the wax that is polished into the granite or marble and ruin your polished finish. A water-based sealer will not damage your stone.

 

While especially important in kitchens, in bathrooms, or on floors, we recommend sealing natural stone in low-traffic areas (such as fireplaces and wainscoting) as well. This will protect the stone from unforeseeable situations, splatters, or spills, as well as prevent staining from grout or dirt (or ash, in the case of wood-burning stoves).

 

Stone that is sealed before it is grouted won't be discolored by the grouts pigments, and the sealer helps release grout haze after the grout is installed.

Preventing Stains


A glass of red wine spilling

The best way to prevent staining is to apply a quality, penetrating stone sealer when the stone is first installed, and reapply as needed (for example, if a 15-year sealer is applied to stone on the floor in a high-traffic entryway, consider re-applying the sealer every 5-8 years. If the same sealer is applied to a fireplace facade, reapply every 15 years).

 

Dab up any stains or spills as quickly as possible with a clean cloth or paper towel. Do not wipe, as this will smear the mess into the stone. 

Removing Stains from Stone


Hand cleaning granite

For the best information on treating stains, we recommend this helpful page from the Marble Institute of America. 

 

For a quick and easy stain removal guide, check out TLC's tips for removing stains from polished marble.

 

One of the best stain removal methods is to use a poultice to suck the stain out of your stone. We recommend Poultice Plus by Miracle.

Is your stone scratched, etched, or damaged?


Scratched, scuffed Carrara Marble

Maybe you've just moved into a house with a scratched travertine floor? What do you do when your marble tabletop has acid damage? Has the shine on your granite countertops dulled over time?

 

For light etching and scratches on calcium-based stone (marble, travertine, limestone, onyx), AquaMix's Renue polishing cream will fill in this light damage and restore the look of the stone. We can special order this for you.

 

If creams and polishes won't fix the problem, or if you have a slate or granite that can't be fixed with Renue, you may need to call in the professionals.

The Natural Stone Restorers

Jorge Perez

360-825-3199

tnsr@q.com

Premier Stone Care

Chas Anderton

425-802-6825

425-822-3985



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