Natural stone requires about the same level of care and maintenance as any countertop or floor, and certainly no more than natural wood products like tables and chairs.
The best care you can give your natural stone is preventative care. Preventing stains or scratches before they happen is far easier than getting rid of them after fact.
Granite countertops are surprisingly resilient to stains, and practically impossible to scratch. But, as a preventative measure, wipe up any spills on the countertops within a reasonable amount of time. Don’t let liquid sit on countertops overnight. Granite is most prone to staining by oil and acid, so blot these spills up soon after they happen and then clean the stone with mild soap and water.
Marble countertops and tabletops are easily stained by acidic foods like fruit, tomato sauce, coffee and wine. Blot, do not wipe, any spills up immediately, and then clean with mild soap and water. Do not set hot pans directly on marble. And place a mat or pad between marble and anything which might scratch it, like a pan or utensils. Use coasters between marble and any glasses, especially ones containing acidic compounds like fruit juices, wine or coffee.
In bathrooms, marble and granite tend to attract soap scum, just like manmade tile. Keep a squeegee handy for shower walls, and rinse vanities and natural stone sinks with hot, clean water regularly. Then towel them dry.
The use of sealers is also a powerful preventative measure. For countertops, sealing application is highly recommended to prevent against stains. North Lion Stones will seal your countertop for one time after installation; you will need to reapply this sealer periodically. Ask us recommendations and apply the sealer according to the manufacturer’s directions. The frequency on applications will depend on the sealer, and on the type of stone you have.
If stains and scratches do occur, there are many things you can do on your own to remove them. On granite countertops, remove oil-based stains with acetone, mineral spirits, or bleach or ammonia diluted in water. (NEVER mix ammonia and bleach!) Food stains like coffee, tea, or fruit juices can usually be removed with hydrogen peroxide, combined with a few drops of ammonia. On marble countertops, avoid harsh cleaners and acidic cleaners, including vinegar.
For stubborn soap scum in the bath, ammonia can be used sparingly. Ammonia will, overtime, dull the finish on marble, so use it caution, and only when the soap scum cannot be removed with a mild, neutral detergent and hot water.
Remember the following list of Do’s and DON’Ts
DO use preventative cleaning measures to keep your stone pristine;
DO use sealers, applied and reapplied according to manufacturer’s directions;
DO blot up spills quickly, especially on marble, and the wash with soapy water;
DON’T use any kind of acidic cleaner on marble, limestone or travertine;
DON’T use harsh bathroom cleaners or grout cleaners on any natural stone;
DON’T be afraid to call North Lion Stone for suggestions on maintenance, care and cleaning;
DON’T worry, if you get a significant stain or scratch, that your entire natural stone investment is ruined. Virtually, anything can be fixed with professional help.
And above all, DON’T let fear of maintenance for natural stone scare you into avoiding it. There is no substitute for natural stone when it comes to beauty, practically and value. Keeping you natural stone beautiful is something you will enjoy, and no one ever regretted having chosen natural stone over alternatives.