Having the best hard surfaces in your home requires special care to maintain and preserve those natural surfaces. Though not very difficult it is important to use the right cleaning agents and procedures. Natural stones-especially calcite-based stones such as marble, travertine, and limestone have a delicate chemical balance. This can be trouble if you are using products that are not specifically designed for the task. Lets cover some points dealing with natural stone maintenance.
When something is spilled onto the surface different reactions can occur. Lemonade, orange juice, wine, vinegar, tomato juice, yogurt, liquors, salad dressing, perfumes, wrong cleaning solutions etc. will ETCH polished marble, travertine, limestone, onyx, and alabaster. These products most likely will not damage granite. Pick up the spill immediately. Do not rub the spill, only blot it.
When cleaning floors the cleaning tool itself can be as important as the cleaning agent. On any type of hard surface floor I recommend the Hoover Floormate. This works well on marble, granite, ceramic and even wood floors. It has a water tank, vacuum and scrubbing brushes to help remove stubborn soil. This machine will leave the surface dry and streak free when using the correct cleaning agent. The Floormate keeps the water and soils from pooling in the grout lines. All of my Client’s that use this machine love it! If you are not in the market for this I recommend a loop-end cotton mop for marble with small grout lines. You may want to follow up with a clean towel to dry the floor quicker. For ceramic tile or natural stone with larger grout lines I would use a sponge mop followed up with a dry towel on a doodle pad or swifter pole/pad holder. Using a Hoover Floormate will eliminate the need for mops and toweling the floor dry. Our neutral cleaner product works well for marble and other natural stone. This product is made specifically for natural stone and will not damage the surface. I recommend using this for ceramic and porcelain as well. It will help maintain the sealer and help keep the floors streak free. What is very important when installing a new floor is to have it properly sealed . This can save you some trouble in the future trying to maintain the floors. A few more notes…Water only may leave streaks on the floor and won’t cut through grease. Try to use the products I recommend. Do not use: Vinegar, ammonia, bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, or other harsh chemicals. These can remove the sealer and DAMAGE the Natural Stone.
Most natural stone counter tops are made out of granite. If you have a marble counter top it will be difficult to keep the high gloss finish, unless you don’t use it. Even though Granite is a very hard and durable stone, you still need to be careful how you clean it. Stay away from aggressive pads that are green or brown in color. These can eventually wear down the finish and shine. Stick with a sponge that has a white pad on it or a soft plastic scouring pad. Apply the cleaning solution onto the surface. Let it soak for a few minutes. Then follow with the sponge or pad and clean. Buff dry with a clean towel.
Clean the showers daily using one of those windshield type tools. Squeegee blade on one side and sponge/pad on the other. At a bare minimum, squeegee down the walls after the shower. This will help with soap scum residue. It will help to keep the wall from reaching restoration state. After cleaning, buff dry with a towel. Stay away from harsh chemicals and the Scrubbing Cleansers. These will damage most natural stone and have harsh long term effects on grout as well.
Most natural stone and grout should be sealed right after installation. Even though some stones are more resistant to damage, sealing can add extra protection. Most marbles and grout need to be sealed. These have a tendency to etch and stain easier. Have a professional evaluate the protection and cleaning needs of your hard surfaces. In many cases, restoration is needed in the place of cleaning and simple sealing. Once again, if you have your new hard surfaces sealed right after installation, follow a good, safe maintenance plan-your hard surfaces-manmade or natural- will stay looking better longer.