Stone Care and Cleaning
and Don'ts – Stone Care
To Best Care for Your Stone Surfaces
• 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 area 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 or tub & tile cleaners
• DON'T Use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers
• DON'T Mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic
and lethal gas
• DON'T Ever mix chemicals together unless directions specifically
instruct you to do so
Care & Cleaning
of Natural Stone Surfaces
Preserving the Beauty of Your Natural Stone
For a Professional Stone Maintenance Solution, Contact Stone
Specialty at 404-261-9111
Care and Precautions
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 many stones. Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use
trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other
objects that can scratch the surface.
Cleaning Procedures and Recommendations
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. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels
may scratch the surface.
Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of 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.
Bath and Other Wet Areas
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 over-use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of the stone.
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 a 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 are
questions, 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.
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Identification and Removal of Various Types of Stains
For Stain Removal that Requires a Professional Solution, Contact
Stone Specialty at 404-261-9111
Spills and Stains
Blot the spill with a paper towel immediately. Don't wipe the area, it
will spread the spill. Flush the area with plain water and mild soap and rinse several
times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary. If the stain
remains, refer to the section in this brochure on stain removal.
Identifying the type of stain on the stone surface is the key to removing
it. If you don't know what caused the stain, play detective. Where is the stain located?
Is it near a plant, a food service area, an area where cosmetics are used? What color
is it? What is the shape or pattern? What goes on in the area around the stain? Surface
stains can often be removed by cleaning with an appropriate cleaning product or household
chemical. Deep-seated or stubborn stains may require using a poultice or calling
in a professional. The following sections describe the types of stains that you
may have to deal with and appropriate household chemicals to use and how to prepare
and apply a poultice to remove the stain.
Types of Stains and First Step Cleaning Actions
OIL-BASED - grease, tar, cooking
oil, milk, cosmetics
An oil-based stain will darken the stone and normally must be chemically
dissolved so the source of the stain can be flushed or rinsed away. Clean gently with
a soft, liquid cleanser with bleach OR household detergent OR ammonia OR mineral spirits
ORGANIC - coffee, tea, fruit, tobacco,
paper, food, urine, leaves, bark, bird droppings
May cause a pinkish-brown stain and may disappear after the source of
the stain has been removed. Outdoors, with the sources removed, normal sun and rain action
will generally bleach out the stains. Indoors, clean with12% hydrogen peroxide (hair
bleaching strength) 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 such as nails, bolts, screws, cans, flower pots, metal furniture.
Copper and bronze stains appear as green or muddy-brown and result from the action
of moisture on nearby or embedded bronze, copper or brass items. Metal stains must
be removed with a poultice.(See section on Making & Using a Poultice) Deep-seated,
rusty stains are extremely difficult to remove and the stone may be permanently stained.
BIOLOGICAL - algae, mildew, lichens,
Clean with diluted (1/2 cup in a gallon of water) ammonia OR bleach OR
hydrogen peroxide. DO NOT MIX BLEACH ANDAMMONIA! THIS COMBINATION CREATES A TOXIC AND
INK - magic marker, pen, ink
Clean with bleach or hydrogen peroxide (light colored stone only!) or
lacquer thinner or acetone (dark stones only!)
Small amounts can be removed with lacquer thinner or scraped off carefully
with a razorblade. Heavy paint coverage should be removed only with
a commercial "heavy
liquid" paint stripper available from hardware stores and paint centers. 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. Follow the manufacturer's directions for use
of these products, taking care to flush the area thoroughly with clean water. Protect
yourself with rubber gloves and eye protection, and work in a well-ventilated area.
Use only wood or plastic scrapers for removing the sludge and curdled paint. Normally,
latex and acrylic paints will not cause staining. Oil-based paints, linseed oil, putty,
caulks and sealants may cause oily stains. Refer to the section on oil-based stains.
WATER SPOTS AND RINGS
(surface accumulation of hard water)
Buff with dry 0000 steel wool.
FIRE AND SMOKE DAMAGE
Older stones and smoke or fire stained fireplaces may require a thorough
cleaning to restore their original appearance. Commercially available "smoke removers" may
save time and effort.
Etch marks are caused by acids left on the surface of the stone. Some
materials will etch the finish but not leave a stain. Others will both etch and stain.
Once the stain has been removed, wet the surface with clear water and sprinkle on marble
polishing powder, available from a hardware or lapidary store, or your local stone
dealer. Rub the powder onto the stone with a damp cloth or by using a buffing pad with
a low-speed power drill. Continue buffing until the etch mark disappears and the marble
surface shines. Contact your stone dealer or call a professional stone restorer for
refinishing or re-polishing etched areas that you cannot remove.
Efflorescence is a white powder that may appear on the surface of the
stone. It is caused by water carrying mineral salts from below the surface of the stone
rising through the stone and evaporating. When the water evaporates, it leaves the
powdery substance. If the installation is new, dust mop or vacuum the powder. You may
have to do this several times as the stone dries out. Do not use water to remove the
powder; it will only temporarily disappear. If the problem persists, contact your installer
to help identify and remove the cause of the moisture.
For Stone Scratches, Nicks, Breaks, Etches, Chips and Stains that Appear too Difficult
to Treat, Call Stone Specialty at 404-261-9111
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