What's the best way to clean my stone floors?

What's the best way to clean my stone floors?

December 17, 2013

Natural stone floors are gorgeous, there’s no doubt about it. But they do come with their own list of “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to cleaning. The most important thing? Keep dirt and grit to a minimum. The easiest way to do this? Dry mop. How often? Often. Here’s why…

Quartzite Stone Entrance

Quartzite stone entrance by Solomon+Bauer+Giambastiani; photo via Houzz

Nobody likes dirt and grit, but for a marblegranite, or slate floor, they’re enemy number-one. Just walking on stone floors that are covered in sand or grit can grind in dirt and cause scratching. The best way to remove dirt is with a clean, dry dust mop. It’s also best to buy a “non-treated” mop, as oils or chemicals in a “treated” mop can make its way into the stone and cause discoloration.

Why not a wet mop? Well, you can wet mop your stone floors, but it requires a lot more diligence and time—plus dry mopping often will clean up a proper amount of dirt. We suggest dry mopping for day-to-day cleaning and leaving wet mopping for those “special occasion” cleaning sessions. If you do use a wet mop, you want to be sure to rinse any soap product or residue off of the stone. Anything left behind could, over time, leave a film or cause streaks.

Speaking of soap, be sure to stick to very mild soap or use a product made specifically for stone. (Check out our recommended products, which you can purchase throughwww.marbleandgranite.com) The type of mop you choose matters too. We suggest you avoid the sponge mops in favor of a closed-end string mop. But micro-fiber mops are usually the best for the job. When you’re finished mopping, be sure to thoroughly dry the floor, or even buff it. (Don’t you agree a swoop with a dry mop sounds better than mop, rinse, dry, buff, repeat…?)

You could also use a vacuum cleaner to help suck up the debris, but be very cautious. If you have an older model with metal or worn wheels, avoid sliding it across your stone floor. It could create some pretty deep scratches. Also, be mindful of any attachments. Metal or plastic hoses can scratch, as can rotating power brushes. If you’re going to use a vacuum cleaner on your stone floors, stick to a soft brush attachment.

When it comes to spills, clean them up as quickly as possible. Always “blot” and avoid using a wiping motion, as this will usually just spread the spill. Try diluting the spill with water and continue to blot. If necessary, use a mild soap. Just be sure to rinse and dry it completely with a soft cloth. Have a stubborn stain that won’t come out? Call your stone professional. It’s best to get advice on how to treat your specific type of stone than to make it worse by using a harsh chemical cleaner. As a reminder, never use abrasive products like scouring pads or creams, and avoid using anything containing lemon, vinegar, or other acids, as they’ll dull or etch the stone.

Short of cutting down foot-traffic (not always the best option this is your home and you want to live in it!), rugs are the best tool for minimizing dirt—especially this time of year when most of us are up to our ankles in salt and sand from winter weather maintenance. A couple of well-placed rugs with non-slip backings can go a long way in helping to keep grit off your stone floors.

Have more questions about how to care for your natural stone floors? Our in-in house stone professionals can answer your questions and help you ensure you’re giving your natural stone floors the care they deserve to enjoy a long, beautiful life.

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