The Do It Yourself Approach To Resolving And Caring For Natural Stone

What is the Best Way to Clean a Stone Countertop?


Natural stone surfaces, including countertops, require cleaners that are specially formulated products. Popular household cleaning agents contain acids and alkalines that will damage and etch the surface of the stone. Powder cleaners and scouring pads will leave behind fine scratches. Even disinfecting wipes that aren’t formulated for stone will cause damage to the surface. The best way to regularly clean a stone surface is with neutral, Ph balanced cleaners. These cleaners will remove the dirt, grime and mold without harming the protective performance of the sealer, if and when the stone was treated with a penetrating sealer. A sealed stone surface will hold up quite well under normal use. Remember to immediately clean and wipe away any spills.


Start by removing any excess dirt/debris from the surface of the stone to be cleaned. Using the cleaner, use a clean soft cloth or microfiber and follow the instructions on the container. If necessary, wash and rinse using warm water. Remove any excess cleaner being careful not to leave excess water on the surface as it too could have negative effects on the reflectivity of the stone.


Daily Cleaning Procedures and recommendations


Use a soft cloth for best results with the product you select recommended by the manufacturer for daily use on natural stone. Following the directions, proceed to clean remembering that too much cleaner or soap left behind can cause a film and streaks. Never use products that contain lemon; vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone, and the softer stones. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry with a clean soft cloth. Do not use scouring powders or creams as these products tend to contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.


What can I do to Treat and Remove an Etch Mark; Stain or Light Scratch?


The first step towards treatment is to know what kind of stone you have in order to identify the right polishing tools needed. The number one mistake most people make is to use an acid-based cleaner for polishing natural stone. The wrong approach could result in abrasion to the surface, damaging it, resulting in a lot of effort to remove and eventually calling a professional from Marble Renewal to assist in the restoration and recovery of the stone. The following is a general step by step approach:


1.       Apply a small amount of Marble Renewal’s marble polish to the affected area (etch and/or stain or scratch). Using a soft cloth, add some water to the polish. Remember that a little amount of polish goes a long way so only apply a small amount at a time.

2.       With a 4 inch white polishing pad, place the pad on top of the polish and begin rubbing gently into the stone in a circular fashion going a little beyond and outside of the affected area(s).

3.       Continue this action, periodically checking the area by removing a little of the polish from the stone. The scratch or etch/stain marks should start to dissipate.

4.       Once you feel that you have achieved your desired results, remove any excess polish from the surface of the stone and allow to dry. Buff off any topical residue left behind with a dry & clean microfiber cloth.


Why Should I Seal my Natural Stone


The best way to prevent stains on your granite, marble, limestone and other natural stones is to treat the surface with a penetrating sealer. Natural stone is very porous and thus will absorb liquids and stains from various spills. Sealers help repel spills and stains on the surface, giving you time to wipe them away quickly before they have a chance to penetrate into the stone.


To determine whether or not the stone has been sealed is a simple test. Apply a drop of water at least a ½ inch in diameter to the top of the stone and let it stand for at least 15 minutes. Cover the area with a glass to inhibit evaporation. If the area does not darken then the stone has likely been sealed against water based stains. Testing for oil repellency is not as simple as the risk of the test is such that if the stone hasn’t been sealed then the oil you test with will cause a stain.


The sealing process should take place as follows:


1.       Start off by cleaning the countertop to remove all dirt. Make sure to use a dry, clean cloth. Once this is done, disinfect the area using a safe cleaner designed for use on natural stone. Allow the area to dry for a few hours.

2.       You’re now ready to apply the sealer. Using a clean cloth or sprayer, apply according to the directions on the container working one section at a time not to exceed 4 – 5 square feet at a time. Allow 3-5 minutes for the sealer to penetrate into the stone. As the surface appears to be nearly dry, apply a second application and wipe off any excess with a clean cloth.

3.       Continue the remaining areas following step 1 and 2. Always pay attention to the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the sealer.