How do I Care for my Natural Stone Flooring?

Stone and stone-look floors are the height of luxury. Trained technicians can return the shine to a dull or dirty hard-surface floor.

Whether it’s a palatial estate or a modest bungalow, many of the most desirable homes on the market feature natural stone flooring. After all, there is no more elegant surface and no better floor for standing up to frequent foot traffic and wet zone woes.

But for all the hardiness of this classic floor choice, natural stone can be a challenge to keep in pristine condition. Folks in the cleaning industry often get the question, “Can I DIY my natural stone floor cleaning or does it require professional care?” Not to be cheeky but the short answer is “yes.”

Need a little clarification? Let us walk you through the best care practices for natural stone, including what you can handle yourself and what is best left to the pros.

A professional understands the particular needs of stone. Leave the deep cleaning of your floors to a company with the tools and products to do it right.

What do the Pros Know?

Let’s be clear up front. Stone flooring requires periodic professional care. Certified pros have access to the best tools and products for tackling grout grunge and cleaning, restoring and sealing stone.  That is why, when you live with stone floors, it’s a good idea to budget for the cost of expert maintenance.

Some stone retailers suggest a cleaning as often as every 12 months. However, that timing depends largely upon the type and frequency of wear on your floor.

In between appointments, there are many things you can do to clean your natural stone and protect it from damage.

It is not necessary to have tile or stone cleaning certification to offer daily care to your hard surface flooring.

The Most Important Thing You Can Do…

Even if you don’t have specialized training, when it comes to preserving the beauty of your natural stone, you want to think in terms of regular maintenance and preventative strategies.

First and foremost, you have to keep your stone flooring free of everyday grit and grime. This is key to its long-term performance.  Begin by gently vacuuming the floor, using a suction-only setting on your device. In addition to that regular vacuuming, plan for a frequent dust-mopping of your natural stone surfaces. Use a clean, non-treated, dry dust mop or microfiber cloth.

Without routine care, stone surfaces are vulnerable to scratching and permanent damage.  The combination of the cleaning strategies above will corral both large and fine soil particles, removing the abrasive sand and dirt we regularly track across our floors.

There are a lot of cleaning products on the market but only a few are suitable for cleaning stone floors.

Avoid All-Purpose Cleaning Products

So your natural stone flooring is dust-free. Now what?  This is a good time to spritz on and wipe away a neutral cleaning product. Select a cleaner that is especially formulated for stone.  When it comes to cleaning chemistry, the pros always say to avoid any acidic products. These cleaners can etch and dull the stone you are trying to clean.

Never clean with lemon juice, vinegar, glass cleaners or other acid-heavy formulas and never scrub your stone with abrasive products or tools. Avoid alkaline solutions too. A cleaner with ph neutrality is the safest option.

Specialized cleaning agents, like Bona Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner, are water-based and made of biodegradeable ingredients. Other respected products include the Dupont Stonetech professional line.  Whatever cleaner you choose, be sure to read the information on the container and follow the instructions for optimal outcomes. The best formulas are rinse-free and streak-free and require only a spray and mop strategy to apply.

One of the best ways to prevent damage to your natural stone floors is to stop sand, soil and dust at the door.

An Ounce of Prevention

At the end of the day, natural stone flooring lasts longest in households that “take steps” to prevent damage. One great strategy is to source effective rugs or mats. Place these at every outdoor access. When you and your family wipe your shoes on these mats, it will cut down on the likelihood that grit is tracked over your stone floor.

Keep your doormats regularly vacuumed so they perform effectively. Some homeowners even ask friends and family to take off their shoes when entering a home. It is all about keeping dirt and sand from ‘walking’ through that front door.

Stone requires periodic re-sealing to insure that grout lines and the naturally occuring cracks and crevices from accumullating dirt and grunge.

Support Your Efforts with Professional Care

Lastly, be sure to schedule professional service as recommended.  Beyond cleaning, stone specialists can restore a floor to its natural beauty. This may require honing or polishing, in addition to a thorough wash-down.

Remember too, highly-trained technicians have the know-how and the tools to tackle the grunge that builds up in your floor’s grout lines.  They can ensure that your stone and grout is effectively sealed to protect its luster and shine.

Need a little more hand-holding? Call a trustworthy cleaner in your community. He or she can tell you more about the do’s and don’ts of natural stone cleaning. With a little research you can find a local company who will talk you through their multi-step stone cleaning process. 

Primary baths are a great place to show off natural stone, whether in showers, on floors or on countertops.

Long-term Investment, Longer-term Pay-Off

Natural stone flooring is among the most luxurious and long-lasting materials on the flooring market. Whether the old-world character of a tumbled travertine, the smoky spectrum of slate, or the shine and dramatic veining of marble, every stone surface brings beauty to its surroundings. However, these surfaces also require specialized care.

Begin with a weekly commitment to keep your flooring free of dust and debris. Add a long-term pledge to provide professional maintenance. Ultimatelly, your partnership with your local stone-care expert will guarantee that the beauty of your natural stone lasts a lifetime.

Seeking advice on maintaining your other hard-surfaces?  Read our blog about tile and grout…

Can Dirty Tile and Grout Really Make you Sick?


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