Proper stone care and maintenance require understanding the geological classification and composition of the stone. Natural stones fall into three geological classifications – Sedimentary, Metamorphic, and Igneous, and can be either Calcareous or Siliceous.
Calcareous stone is primarily composed of calcium carbonate, which is sensitive to acidic solutions, so mild, non-acidic cleaners are recommended. Siliceous stone, composed primarily of silicates, is generally resistant to most acids found in kitchen settings. However, acidic cleaners are still not recommended.
To preserve the beauty and longevity of natural stone, follow these simple tips:
- Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices.
- Use trivets or mats to minimize heat exposure.
- Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop.
- Use mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance to minimize sand, dirt, and grit that may scratch the stone floor.
- If you use a vacuum cleaner, be sure the metal or plastic attachments or wheels are not worn as they can scratch the surface of some stones.
- Blot spills immediately with a paper towel. Flush the area with water and mild soap and rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary.
Clean stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner, stone soap, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Avoid using an excessive concentration of cleaner or soap as it may leave a film and cause streaks. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Change the rinse water frequently.
Many suppliers offer stone cleaning products. Avoid using products containing lemon, vinegar, or other acids as they may dull or etch calcareous stones. Scouring powders or creams often contain abrasives that may scratch certain stones. All stones, including granite and quartzite, will be attacked if exposed to hydrofluoric acid (HF).
Sealing is a common step taken on some stones as an extra precaution against staining. Sealing does not make the stone stain-proof, but it makes the stone more resistant to staining. If a sealer is applied in a food preparation area, ensure that it is non-toxic and safe for use. Consult with your supplier or sealing manufacturer specific to the type of sealer and frequency of use recommended.
Identifying the type of stain on the stone surface is the key to removing it. Stains can be oil-based, organic, metallic, biological, ink-based, paint-based, or acid-based. Surface stains can often be removed by cleaning with an appropriate cleaning product or household chemical. For tougher stains, it may be necessary to apply a poultice to remove the stain.
Remember that natural stone is a long-term investment that requires proper care and maintenance. By following these tips, you can keep your natural stone looking beautiful for years to come.