Caring for your stone is an important step in keeping your countertops “like new” for years to come. Luckily, natural stone countertops require minimal maintenance. Adhering to the following guidelines will help keep your countertops just as beautiful as the day they were installed. For engineered quartz care and maintenance, please access the appropriate manufacturer’s guidelines from our Engineered Quartz page.
- Clean all stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner, stone soap, or a mild dishwashing detergent and warm water. Rinse the surface thoroughly after cleaning and dry with a soft cloth.
- Never use abrasive cleaners, such as Comet or Soft Scrub. These cleaners could scratch or dull the surface of the stone.
- Avoid chemical cleaners such as Fantastic or Formula 409. These chemicals could etch and dull the stone.
- Do not use any cleaner which contains ammonia, such as Windex. Ammonia will build up and could leave a film.
- To prevent thermal shock, refrain from setting anything extremely hot or cold directly onto the stone. The use of trivets and cutting boards is always recommended.
Natural stone countertops are sealed with a commercial sealer and color enhancer immediately after installation. It is recommended that you re-seal the stone once per year.
- Granite and marble sealers are readily available at home hardware retail stores.
- Do not use any type of wax.
- Quartz (engineered stone), such as Caesarstone, Color Quartz and Silestone do not require sealer, and are not sealed at installation.
Identifying the type of stain is the first and most important step in getting rid of it. Various stains require different treatments, and what removes one type may not remove the others. The following describes types of stains and methods of removing them:
- Oil-based (grease, cooking oil, cosmetics)— Oil stains will darken the stone and must be chemically dissolved with a household detergent, mineral spirits, or acetone.
- Organic (coffee, tea, wine, fruit, food, leaves)—Possibly pinkish-brown in color, and can be removed with 12% hydrogen peroxide or a few drops of ammonia.
- Metal (rust, iron, copper, bronze) – Brown or orange in color and must be removed with a poultice.
- Biological (algae, mildew, fungi, moss) – Clean with a half cup of ammonia, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide, and a gallon of water. Do not mix bleach and ammonia.
- Ink (marker, pen) – On light-colored stones, clean with bleach or hydrogen peroxide. On dark stones, clean with lacquer thinner or acetone.
- Paint—Small amounts of paint can be scraped with a razor blade or removed with lacquer thinner. Large amounts of paint coverage must be removed with a paint stripper. Paint strippers can etch the stone, and re-polishing may be required. Paint stripper contains caustic ingredients; use of rubber gloves and eye protection is highly advised.
- Water spots—Buff with steel wool
- Etch marks (caused by acids left on the surface) – Requires re-finishing or re-polishing
- Efflorescence (a white powder that may appear on the surface of the stone) – Caused by mineral deposits of salts carried by water below the surface of the stone. The powder can be removed by dust mopping or vacuuming, and may require several attempts as the stone dries out. Do not use water to remove the powder.
Further information from the Natural Stone Institute: