After the centuries it took the earth to form the quarried stone selected as your flooring, you will want to do all you can to keep and protect it at least that long within your home. If you’re low on time or floor problem that seems out of your league you should find a service that deals with stone and granite repairs, other wise here are some tips for cleaning your stone floors to preserve their natural appearance and unique qualities.
Less is More
It is helpful to know that you need not go at the natural stone finish as you would synthetic surfaces with all the waxes and strippers. A sealer or “impregnator” may be applied making the stone more stain resistant. In fact, a vacuum is not always the best simply because the wheels and beater bar can scratch or “etch” the surface of the stones as particles of dirt, grit or sand get dragged across them. A broom will do just fine.
A simple solution of mild soap diluted in warm water on a regular basis is really all that is needed in terms of regular cleaning. Damp mop in lieu of soaking the surface as stone is still porous in nature, some more than others.
Not All Stone Are Alike
As a result of the process of their formation, natural stones fit into one of three basic geological classifications: Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary. Further, their composition is categorised as either silicate, such as mica, quartz or feldspar, or calcium carbonate produced from shells or pearls and the like.
It is in understanding which of these types of stones you may have that determines the approach to getting up stains or spills. For example, the calcareous stone is very sensitive to the acidic cleaners whilst the siliceous stone has a resistance to most acids that might be found in the kitchen, although it is still not advisable to use them.
Dealing with the Stains
Organic sources from both indoors and outdoors cause stains. Some of these are wine, grape juice, coffee, tea, food, tobacco, leaves, urine, bird droppings and tree bark. A 12 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of ammonia will work nicely on indoor stains whilst the sun and rain outdoors will naturally bleach the stains out.
Moisture produces biological stains from mildew, moss, fungi or algae. Clean with a dilution of 1/2 cup of either hydrogen peroxide, bleach or ammonia to one gallon of water. However, never blend ammonia with bleach as it produces a deadly toxic compound.
Metallic sources produce the familiar orange-brown stains leaving the tell-tale shape of such culprits as flower pots, tins, screws or nails. The characteristic green and muddy brown patina from bronze or copper use the same treatment of a poultice made from baking soda and a formulated stone cleaning compound. Apply a layer and cover with plastic to leech out the stains.
As you can see, despite the strength of the stone, a gentle touch is required in protecting its delicate nature.