Care and Precautions
Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the surface of many stones. Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under china, ceramic, silver orother objects that can scratch the surface.
Cleaning Procedures And Recommendations
Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean nontreated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize scratching. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface.
Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface.Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner, stone soap or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Do not use products that contain lemon vinegar or other acids on marble or other calcareous stones.
Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the stone. In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Frequent or over-use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of the stone.
Spills and Stains
Blot the spill with a paper towel immediately. Don't wipe the area, it will spread the spill. Flush the area with plain water and mild soap and rinse several times. Dry the mild soap and rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary. If the stain remains, refer to the section in this brochure on stain removal. Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate. It is sensitive to acidic cleaning products and frequently requires different cleaning procedures than siliceous stone.
Types of calcareous stone include marble, travertine, limestone and onyx. What may work on siliceous stone may not be suitable on calcareous surfaces. A simple acid sensitivity test can be performed to determine whether a stone is calcareous or siliceous by applying
household vinegar with an eyedropper. Select an out of the way area and apply a drop about the size of a quarter. If the stone is calcareous, the acid drops will begin to bubble or fizz vigorously.
Identifying the type of stain on the stone surface is the keyto removing it. If you don't know what caused the stain, play detective. Where is the stain located? Is it near a plant, a food service area, an area where cosmetics are used? What color is it? What is the shape or pattern? What goes on in the area around the stain?
A polished finish on the stone has a glossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the color and marking of the material. This type of finish is used on walls, furniture tops and other items, as well as floortiles. Surface stains can often be removed by cleaning with an appropriate cleaning product or household chemical. Deep-seated or stubborn stains may require calling a professional. A honed finish is a satin smooth surface with relatively little light reflection. Generally, a honed finish is preferred on floors, stair treads, thresholds and other locations where heavy traffic will wear off the polished finish. A honed finish may also be used on furniture tops and other surfaces.
Types of Stains and First Step Cleaning Actions
Biological (algae, mildew, lichens, moss, fungi) Clean with dilute (1/2 cup in a gallon of water) ammonia OR bleach OR hydrogen peroxide. DO NOT MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA! THIS COMBINATION CREATES A TOXIC AND LETHAL GAS!
Oil-based (grease, tar, cooking oil, milk, cosmetics) An oil- based stain will darken the stone and normally must be chemically dissolved so the source of the stain can be flushed or rinsed away. Cleangently with a soft, liquid cleanser with bleach ORhousehold detergent OR ammonia OR mineralspirits OR acetone.
Organic (coffee, tea, fruit, tobacco, paper, food, urine, leaves, bark, bird droppings) May cause pinkish-brown stain and may disappear after the source of the stain has been removed. Outdoors, with the sources removed, normal sun and rain action will generally bleach out the stains. Indoors, clean with 12% hydrogen peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia.
Metal (iron, rust, copper, bronze) Iron or rust stains are orange to brown in color and follow the shape of the staining object such as nails, bolts, screws, cans, flower pots, metal furniture. Copper and bronze stains appear as green or muddy-brown and result from the action of moisture on nearby or embedded bronze, copper or brass items. Metal stains must be removed with a poultice (a liquid cleaner or chemical mixed with a white absorbent material to form a paste). Deep-seated, rusty stains are extremely difficult to remove and the stone may be permanently stained.
Water Spots and Rings (surface accumulation of hard water) Buff with dry wool steel wool. Scratches and nicks slight surface scratches may be buffed with dry wool steel wool. Deeper scratches and nicks in the surface of the stone should be repaired and re-polished by a professional..
Information provided by Marble Institute of America