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Natural Stone Damage – 10 Tips on What to Avoid With Cleaning & Maintenance

February 4, 2014

Natural Stone includes granite, marble, onyx, travertine, soapstone, sandstone, quartzite, slate and limestone. There are many other types of natural stone, but not as commonly used.

It is imperative to know the exact type of stone that is to be maintained. Stone is natural and may have adverse reactions to certain cleaning chemicals and procedures. Most stones are also natural alkalis and so are dirt and soil; therefore, stone and dirt are attracted to each other which often makes cleaning very difficult. This makes the proper selection of cleaning procedures and chemicals for stone very complex.

1. Don’t use cleaning products on or near your natural stone unless the label specifies that it is safe on natural marble or natural stone (cultured marble is man-made, and it’s basically a plastic material). This includes glass cleaner to clean the mirror over a marble vanity top, or a liquid toilet bowl cleaner when the toilet is set on a marble floor.

2. Don’t clean your natural stone with a solution of vinegar and water. Vinegar is highly acidic and will damage the stone.

3. Don’t clean your natural stone using a solution of water with a commercially available cleaner, unless its label specifically indicates that it is safe to use on natural stone.

4. Don’t use powder cleaners, cream cleansers, generic soap film removers, generic mildew stain removers or harsh disinfectants on your natural stone.

5. Don’t leave spills, especially orange juice, lemonade, wine, vinegar, liquors, tomato sauce, yogurt, salad dressing, perfume, after shave, etc. Wipe up these types of spills right away, even if the natural stone has been sealed.

6. Don’t use standard floor wax or other topical shine agents on your natural stone. It will only take away from the natural beauty of the stone and could lead to more costly and constant maintenance. If you want a shine to your stone, have your stone professionally polished.

7. Don’t apply sealers to natural stone that has not been professionally cleaned. The sealers will trap in dirt and debris that may damage your stone over time. Also, do not use sealers that are not specifically noted safe for natural stone. If incorrect sealers are used, scuffing and peeling can also occur.

8. Don’t place drinking glasses, plants, china, silver or hot items directly on any natural stone surface. Scratching, etching and other types of damage may occur.

9. Don’t damp mop or wipe your natural stone with a cloth right after installation or grouting. While you may not cause any real damage, fine powder most likely left on the surface will be trapped in the water and may leave ugly and hard-to-remove streaks all over its surface.

10. Don’t use any type of green or brown scouring pad on your natural stone. The presence of silicon carbide grits in them will scratch even the toughest granite.

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