Natural Stone Care & Maintenance

The natural stone you’ve selected for your countertops is an investment that will give you many beautiful years of service. Proper care and maintenance will help preserve your stone’s natural beauty for years to come. SolidSurface Designs has developed this post using guidelines from the Marble Institute of America offering proper care, routine cleaning solutions and maintenance procedures for stain removal.


Brown Fantasy Granite with Half Bullnose Edge

Know Your Stone

Natural stone can be classified into two categories according to its composition: siliceous stone or calcareous stone. Knowing the difference is necessary when selecting cleaning products.

Siliceous stone is composed mainly of silica or quartz-like particles. It tends to be very durable and relatively easy to clean with mild acidic cleaning solutions. Types of siliceous stone include granite, slate, sandstone, quartzite, brownstone and bluestone.

Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate. It is sensitive to acidic cleaning products and requires different cleaning procedures than siliceous stone. Types of calcareous stone include marble, travertine, limestone and onyx.

Stone Finishes

Polished A polished finish on the stone has a glossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the color and marking of the material.

Honed A honed finish is a satin smooth surface with little light reflection. Generally a honed finish is ideal on floors, stair treads, thresholds and other locations where heavy traffic will wear off the polished finish. Honed finishes are not recommended for all applications due to an increased visibility of water marks, staining and scratches.

Care & Cleaning Procedures

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 surface of your stone tops. Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets under hot dishes and placemats under ceramics, silver or other objects that may scratch the surface.

Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner, stone soap or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Use a soft cloth 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 other calcareous stones. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Change and rinse water frequently. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the stone.

In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. 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 or overuse of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of the stone.

Kitchen and bathroom surfaces should have a penetrating sealer applied. If a sealer is applied, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use on food preparation surfaces. Sealing your natural stone surface will help to minimize the appearance of water spotting.
In outdoor pool, patio, or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use a mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.

Spills and Stains

Oil-based (grease, tar, cooking oil, milk, cosmetics) An oiled-based stain will darken the stone and usually must be chemically dissolved so the source of the stain can be flushed or rinsed away. Clean gently with bleach OR household detergent OR ammonia OR mineral spirits OR acetone.

Organic (coffee, tea, fruit, tobacco, paper, food, leaves, bark) May cause a pinkish-brown stain and may disappear after the staining source is removed. Outdoors, with the sources removed, normal sun and rain action will generally bleach out the stains. Indoors, clean with 12% hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia.

Metal (iron, rust, copper, bronze) Iron or rust stains are orange to brown in color and follow the shape of the staining object. Copper and bronze stains appear as green or muddy-brown and cause by moisture. These stains require professional removal.
Biological (algae, mildew, lichens, moss, fungi) Clean with diluted (1/2 cup in a gallon of water) ammonia OR bleach OR hydrogen peroxide. DO NOT MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA.

Ink (magic marker, pen) Clean with bleach or hydrogen peroxide (light colored stone only) or lacquer thinner or acetone (dark stones only).

Paint Small amounts can be removed with lacquer thinner of scraped off with a razor blade. Heavy paint coverage should be removed only with a commercial “heavy liquid” paint stripper . These strippers normally contain caustic soda or lye, Do not use acids or flame tools to strip paint from stone. Paint strippers can etch the surface of the stone; re-polishing may be necessary. Oil based paints, linseed oil, putty, caulks and sealants may cause oily stains. Refer to oil-based stains section.
Water Spots and Rings (surface accumulation of hard water) Buff with dry 0000 steel wool.

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