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How to Clean Stone

Caring for Your Countertop Surfaces - How to Clean Stone

Knowing how to clean a stone surface goes far beyond reaching for an all-purpose cleaner and going to work. Knowing what cleaner to use for each kind of stone and finish is imperative for great results.

It's true, many cleaners exist that are marketed as "all purpose" cleaners. These cleaners are often kept around the home since they can be used on multiple surfaces. But does that mean that you should use an all-purpose cleaner on your stone surface? In this post, we will consider why we recommend using an appropriate cleaning product designed for the specific stone that you are trying to clean. Along the way, we will discuss points that will highlight the reasons behind using a cleaner formulated for your stone surface.

Stone Composition Is Different

Click around on websites that deal with stone fabrication and if you dig deep enough, you will find out that there are many different types of stone surfaces. One of the things that distinguishes one stone from another is its composition. Two slabs of stone may appear to be very similar and yet they might be nothing alike. Additionally, the composition of a stone will affect the way it needs to be cleaned. Differences in stone composition are a contributing factor in how to clean stone surfaces.

Stone Finishes Are Different

Another factor that contributes to how you clean stone surfaces is the type of finish it has. A stone's finish not only affects it's appearance but also how you clean it. What are the different finishes found on stone surfaces? There are a number of them including:

  • Polished
  • Fleuri Cut
  • Honed
  • Leather
  • Split Face
  • Antiqued
  • Flamed
  • Vein Cut
  • Sandblasted

We need not go into detail about all of those different finishes to explain how they impact your cleaning method for a given stone surface. A primary reason that the finish of a particular stone affects how you need to clean it is the porosity. Stone finishes leave the surface at varying porosity. A porous finish will allow substances to penetrate the stone at a quicker rate. They also will accept cleaners and sealers more readily.

The main point is this: since stone composition and finish produce a variety of stones with and array of characteristics, it is important to know how to clean the type of stone you have. A major factor when it comes to cleaning a specific stone is what cleaner to use on it.

Stone Cleaners Need to Be Different

As we have already established, each stone is different in composition and finish. This makes each one unique and although it might be tempting to just reach for the all-purpose cleaner and hit it with that, there are some reasons why that might not be the wisest course.

First, the stone might be composed of materials that will react with the ingredients in the cleaner. One example of this would be cleaning marble with a citrus based cleaner. It might seem like it would be a great match, but citrus is acidic and marble is composed of calcite minerals that are dissolved by acidic substances. This means that a polished marble surface will look dull after being cleaned with an acidic cleaner.

Second, the stone might have a finish that requires the use of certain cleaners. For example, quartz has a finish that is non-porous because of the way it is engineered. However, it still has limitations when it comes to how to clean it. That is why you currently find the following statement on the use and care page of Corian Quartz' website:

Avoid High-pH Cleaners - Highly alkaline (high pH) cleaners... ...are not recommended.

How to Clean Stone Depends On the Stone You Are Cleaning

Based on what we have considered up to this point, you realize that not all stone surfaces are cleaned the same way. However, there are similarities in the process. Here is a series of steps that you can use for how to clean stone:

  1. Determine what type of stone you are cleaning, your fabricator can usually give you this information.
  2. Select a cleaner that is designed for the type of stone you are cleaning.
  3. Test the cleaner on the stone in a small inconspicuous area to verify the stone and cleaner are compatible.
  4. Apply the cleaner to the stone according to the instructions on the label of the cleaner.
  5. If necessary, repeat the process until the stone is clean.
  6. If you have a stone that would benefit from a sealer, apply the sealer per the instructions.

As mentioned in the information above, cleaning your stone starts with matching the right cleaner with the stone. Choosing a cleaner that is specifically formulated for cleaning the stone you have, will get you the best results. Here are some cleaning products available to help you after you have determined how to clean your stone surface:

  • Natural Stone Care Products
    • Natural Stone Cleaner for granite, marble, travertine, limestone, and other natural stone surfaces.
    • Stain Remover for removing oil based stains form natural stone surfaces.
  • Quartz Care Products
    • Quartz Cleaner for daily cleaning of quartz surface such as Caesarstone, Cambria, Belenco, and ColorQuartz.
    • Quartz Ax Cleaner designed to remove lime scale and other tough stains from quartz surfaces.
    • Quartz Polish is for quartz surfaces that need the luster that has been lost for one reason or another restored to the surface.
  • Sintered, Porcelain & Ceramic Care
    • Booster scented detergent for cleaning tough dirt and grease from ceramic, porcelain, and sintered stone materials.
  • Products for Specific Treatments*
    • Rust Remover for cleaning surface rust from various stone surfaces.
    • Premium Stone Sealer for sealing stones that are porous and that can benefit from having a protective barrier on the surface.
* Although these products are made for use in specifically treating stone, you should make sure that your stone is compatible.