Stone & Marble Cleaning Instructions
Created by David Bonasera of Environmentally Safe Products and Procedures
If all of the marble and tile in your home has been sealed, the sealer can last for years with the proper care. Please check the warrantee on each sealing application.
- Using a marble cleaner will help the sealer hold out staining, not etching. The marble cleaner should have a PH of 7, which is neutral.
- When spills occur, wipe them up quickly. Do not allow them to sit for an extended period of time.
- Most foods, fruits, vegetables, soft drinks, and juices can eat through the sealer and cause staining to occur. There are some sealers that are not affected by acids. They area much more expensive to the customer. There is no sealer on the market that is 100% stain proof so even the best sealer can stain after an extended period of time.
- The proper cleaner to use is one with a sealer in it. A regular marble and granite stone cleaner will help keep the countertop protected and keep its beauty for years. Some cleaners now have 1-3% sealer in them.
CAUTION: Be careful of stone soaps. These are good for a limestone floor, but not countertops. Too much soap can build up after time.
WARNING: Never buy a product that says “and good for marble too”!
Dish soap can cause the counter top to loose its luster. Soap build up over time will become sticky and attract dirt and become streaky when trying to clean it.
Soap dispensers drip and can slowly eat through the sealer and stain the counter top. The trend now is to use a foam soap which will not drip and cause unsightly stains and also takes less water to rinse.
Most store bought spray polishes tend to be oily and cause a build up over time. Even some that say Stone, Marble or Granite polish on the label. A spray polish is most likely the best choice. Liquid polishes tend to be very oily and look great for a while and then build up over time. Some polishes now have silica in them and adds a micro thin coating to keep the Marble and Granite easier to maintain that beautiful look.
The biggest problem with floors is the way it is cleaned. Most TV commercials show a flat mop. This looks great but these applicators clean the top of the tile and then drop the dirt into the grout. Using too much soap can make the floor harder to keep clean.
Sealed floors need a marble neutral cleaner. This is a mix with 2 to 5 oz of product to 1 gallon of water. Warm water is better than cold when cleaning ground in dirt or grease.
AVOID: Store bought cleaning chemicals!
Most of these cleaners are a base (alkaline) or an acid. Both will strip the sealer and cause the tile and grout to be harder to keep clean. Harsh cleaning chemicals can and will discolor the grout and make it hard to keep that beautiful even look. Most bathroom cleaner will etch the polish of the marble and limestone finishes,
Natural Stone Showers
There are many problems with the upkeep of marble, limestone, travertine, granite and other natural stone surfaces. The biggest one is the cleaning company or maids. They are the biggest contributor to the stone restoration industry’s 401K. You can fix the clients stone surfaces though the cleaning crews are going to use whatever they think is appropriate or whatever they can get in a store. Most of these cleaners can damage the stone. Train your clients to have their cleaning personnel them leave all of there cleaning chemicals in there work vehicle and only bring in clean towels with them. Unless the company is fully trained in natural stone care and maintenance the home owner should always supply the cleaning products they would like them to use. Their vacuums and mops may be cross contaminated which can bring this contamination into your clients homes and stone surfaces.
If your client leaves the shower door open after they are finished using it, this will cut down the mildew at least 80 to 90 %. Using an exhaust fan for 30 to 45 minutes after showering will also greatly help. The shower door left open all day will greatly extend the life of the shower.
Most soaps have fats, lye and other animal by products in them. The Federal Government has minimum standards for the amount of moisturizers in soaps; the rest is, well, something you would not talk about at dinner. Glycerin soaps are more pure and when using them it will cut down the soap scum in the shower about 70 %. Both using the right soaps and keeping the shower door open will double the life of your clients shower.
Most seam showers can leave hard water deposits near the steam fixture, Aside from a Bio Colloidal cleaner. Generally diamond grinding will be the only way to remove the heavy build up of hard water. Seal this type of shower with multiple coats of sealer.
Don’t pinch pennies on the cost of the sealer. Remember, Solvent based sealers for tight stones and Water based for very porous stones.
Wood / Laminate Flooring
Wood floors or laminates should be cleaned with the correct cleaner for the wood. The best and safest wood cleaner is BONA Use with a damp towel or micro fiber towel.
Swiffer Wet Jets may seem nice but can sometimes cause problems with the heavy detergent that may be in this product, and again can these can put too much soap or detergent and make it hard to keep clean with out streaking.
Stainless Steel / Metals
Stainless Steel is a very soft metal. Do not use any powder abrasives or scrub pads that will scratch the surface and make the Stainless Steel very unsightly. Spray polishes for the stainless steel will keep the surface looking clean and beautiful for many years, even decades. (Note: Oil based seems to work better than water based.)
Light Water Spots
Hard water spots can be tough to remove. Using a 000 or 0000 steel wool on polished granite and marble and the fixtures in a shower will keep it free from unsightly spotting and keep the fixtures looking great for years. Some cream metal cleaners will work and some will be too aggressive for most of chrome, nickel, and other soft metal fixtures. Using a wet towel with the metal product may help cut down on the abrasiveness of the product and be just what you need.
Daily or regular dry dust mopping or vacuuming with a soft brush is critical for keeping dust, grit, sand and dirt from scratching polished or unpolished stone.
Make sure sufficient walk off mats are utilized in the entry and exit areas of the floors.
This is the most effective way for protecting the polish of the stone surfaces, especially the softer ones.
ESP/Environmentally Safe Products & Procedures
- David Bonasera, CTC, CSI
- 434 Roberson Lane
San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 436-0470
Fax: (408) 573-7946