The natural stone you purchase from The Granite Guy
for your home or office is an investment that will give you many years of beautiful service. Here are some recommendations
from the Marble Institute of America which will guide you in keeping it looking good as new.
begin with the basics:
Use coasters, trivets and place mats
Dust mop floors frequently.
Clean surfaces with MILD detergent
or stone soap.
Blot stains; don't wipe.
Rinse and dry the surface after cleaning.
Protect floors with non-slip
and area rugs.
Use coasters, trivets and placemats
on counters and tables.
THINGS TO NEVER DO
Hot foods and beverages,
should not be placed
on natural stone.
Do not permit vinegar, lemon juice or
other cleaners to contact surfaces.
Don't use cleaners that contain acids.
used in bathrooms to clean
tubs and tiles.
Never apply abrasive cleansers to stone.
Bleach and ammonia should not touch
natural stone.. Why? Because the
combination creates a toxic gas.
No raw chemicals and cleansers
should be mixed together
unless instructions included with the
chemicals used state it is safe to do so.
Know what stone you own!
There are two basic types.
Siliceous stone is made of
silica and quartz-like material. If you own bluestone, brownstone, granite, quartzite, sandstone and slate, it's sileceous
stone. In part because it's the most durable natural stone, it's easy to clean. Use mildly acidic cleansers.
Calcareous is essentially calcium cabonate. Limestone, marble, onynx and travertine are calcareous.
These types of stone are sensitive to acid cleansers. DO NOT use acidic cleansers on them. Consult with your friends
at The Granite Guy or knowledgeable associates at your favorite hardware store to select the best cleanser for your
The acid test
It's easy to learn what
type of stone you have. Begin with 4 ounces of a 10% solution of muriatic acid and an eye-dropper. You may also use kitchen
vinegar. Select a part of the stone that's not "everyday visible" and apply a few drops covering
an area about the size of a quater, several inches away from a mortar joint. If most of the stone has been extensively sealed
or polished, find an area not treated or chip some of the surface area so your solution touches untreated stone.
The drops will bubble and fizz of the stone is calcarious (marble, etc.) and if little or no reaction occurs, you
know your stone is siliceous (granite, etc.). Rinse the area with fresh water from the tap and wipe it dry. This
removes all residue.
The eyeball ident
you've seen varicose veins on folks who spend a lot of time on their feet, you know what to look for when
you're looking for marble. The "veins" in marble make it so visually attractive.
Granite has no veins. Instead it seems to be flecks of
minerals, more subtle in visual texture than marble, but with its own distinctive appeal.
Slate is the stone your grandparents'
teachers used to write on when schools had blackboards instead of projectors. With its natural colors of black,
dark green, dark grey, sometimes milti-colors and cleft texturing, it has always been popular flooring stone was well.
Sandstone can be light gray to yellow and even red. Reddish- brown
sandstone is often called brownstone. Bluestone
is sandstone that is distinctively bluish-gray or greenish-gray. Don't ask us why the greenish isn't called
greenstone. It wasn't our call to make.
Top quality natural stone, from The Granite Guy in Springfield
and Bloomington, requires relatively little maintenance to keep it colorful and sparkling for decades. We are happy to
share the following tips so you will know before you visit us, what kind of time and attention your new natural
stone will require.
Sand and dust are the sworn enemies of
stone. That's why frequent dry dust mopping keeps them off your floor and prevents them from
being ground in by everyday footwear. Be sure everyone knows to wipe their soles on the matt you place outside entrances
to natural stone floors. Where people stand and shuffle place a rug or matt to buffer the zone between feet
Clean your natural stone with stone
soap from The Granite Guy or from your favorite hardware store, or dishwashing detergent and warm water. The goal
is not to cook the surface; just to dislodge what needs to be washed away. It's better to use too little cleanser
than too much because if you go overboard, you may leave a film and streaks on the surface. Don't use cleansers wtih citrus,
vinegar or acids. When rinsing, replace rinse water with fresh frequently.
Bathroom and Vanities
Use a squeegee and mild cleanser to remove soap scum after every tub encounter.
This way you push grime off the surface instead of grinding it in with a brush or cloth. If you're out of mild cleanser
and want to impress visitors with an antiseptic ammonia fragrance, combone half a cup of ammonia in a gallon of
water. Don't everdo the frequency of that combination because ammonia can dull the surface.
With vanities, the seal is the deal. To keep alcohol, acid and other corrosive residues from hairspray, makeup and
other sources from dulling and staining the surface of your vanity, apply a sealer that is made specficially for your
type of natural stone. The Granite Guy can recommend specific products, but any acrylic auto paste wax will
be fine if you don't have time to call or visit our showroom.
In the kitchen
chemistries which affect your bathroom also play in your kitchen, but in different containers. The vanity's spilled cologne
is the kitchen counter's overflowed glass of wine. That's why a penetrating sealer is essential to provide a
lasting safeguard against stains and dulling. Since food is involved, be sure your sealer is non-toxic.
Patio and poolside
Algae and moss, which are seldom problems in kitchens and
bathrooms, thrive outside. Simple common sense is the watchword here. Mild bleach in water applied whenever buildup
of these organisms becomes an eyesore, is the perfect "solution," Questions? Call The Granite Guy nearest you.
We said it before,and
we say it again: BLOT stains; don't wipe them. After blotting, saturate the area with milde detergent and tap water and
dry so you can see how it looks without wet reflection. Repeat this until you know you've gone about as
far as you can go. Often, that's all you need to do, especially if you've sealed your stone as we suggested in the
prevention section. If you need to do more, see our stain removal suggestions.
Algae, fungi, lichesn mildew and moss require a gallon of water with a half cup of ONE of the following
added and blended in: ammonia, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide. Do not mix bleach and ammonia. That combination
creates toxic fumes that require emergency medical attention.
Well-sealed natural stone is impervious to some inks, but there's always the exception to the rule: the magic marker or
the chemistry used in a new pen. Light-colored stone should be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide. Dark stone should be cleaned
with lacquer tinner or acetone.
The white powder that may appear from nowhere on the surgace of your stoone is caused by moisture, a naturale part of your
stone's composition transporting mineral salts to the surface where they dry. This happens mostly with newly
installed stone which, like fresh-cut lumber used on a back deck project, must "cure" for awhile. Remove this
powder with a vacuum or dust mop lightly applied Do not moisten the area first. That only makes the salts seem
to disappear. Sometimes there is a heat source underneath the marble which continuously heats the stone and drives the moisture
and the salts to the surface. If efflorescence persists, contact The Granite Guy. We will help you determine the
cause and suggest an appropriate long-term fix to the problem.
If you'd rather spend time fixing problems instead
of preventing them, you will likely become well acquainted with etch marks caused by acids in cleansers, cosmetics,
foods and refreshments that remain on your natural stone. If you don't prevent them from reaching the surface, some will
etch; some will etch and leave stains. After you remove the stain, wet the surface with water (distilled is best) and apply
marble polish powder you can buy at your hardware store. Apply with a damp cloth or buffer at low speed until the etch disappears.
If that doesn't work, contact your nearest Granite Guy.
If the natural stone around your fireplace appears discolored and
without its former luster, The Granite Guy recommends you visit your hardware store for "smoke removing"
solutions you can apply.
Damage from iron and rust appears orange and brownish and appears as a shadow of the furniture contact point, flower
pot ring, can, screw, bolt or nail that left it behind. Brass, bronze and copper appear a lighter brown. These are serious
business. You will need a poultice to make them disappear, and even with that effort, some will not be evicted from your natural
stone. Read If At First You Don't Succeed which follows this section.
Cooking oil, some cosmetics, linseed oil, putty, caulks, sealants, tar, grease and milk spilled
onto unsealed stone will leave dark stains. Unlike salts which dissolve in water, they must be chemically treated
with household detergent or liquid cleanser with bleach or ammonia
or mineral spirits. As stated earlier never combine cleansers that
contain bleach with cleansers that contain ammonia because the chemical reaction when they combine can be lethal.
Leaves, bark, bird droppings,
urine, tobacco, paper, many foods, including non-citrus fruit, coffee and tea leave pinkish-brown stains. Most of the time,
they disappear when you remove them from the surface with a damp cloth. If you still see traces, , clean with
a 12% hydrogen peroxide solution, typical in hair bleach, and a few drops of ammonia. Outdoors, simply removing
leaves, etc. and letting cycles of sun and rain work their magic takes care of those stains.
Latex and acrylic paints seldom stain natural stone. Enamels
and lacquers are another story. Remove small amounts with a scraper or single-edge razor blade. Large paint coverage
requires "heavy liquid" paint strippers you can buy at hardware and paint stores. To remove oil-based
paints, read what we say above about Oil-based Stains. Do not use acid or heat to remove paint from stone
Water Spots and Rings
When hard water accumulates on your natural stone, use dry .0000 steel wool to gently buff it. There's just enough
abrasion in that grade to remove the stain without dulling the surface. Pause and examine the area as you buff to be sure
you're not overdoing it. And if you do, restore the surface with marble polishing powder described earlier at
If at First You Don't Succeed -- Poultices
A poultice is a thick paste, the consistency of peanut butter, consisting of a liquid
cleaning agent and dry material that that absorbs the stain, transported to it via the agent. It is
applied in a thckness of 1/4 to 1/2 an inch, covered with plastic and taped to seal the area, and left alone for 24 to
48 hours. Sometimes fresh poultices must be applied up to five times to remove the stain, and sometimes even
that will not "evict" the stain from your natural stone. As we said earlier, an ounce of prevention is worth
a pound of cure.
Talc (as in talcum powder
but unscented), white molding plaster, whiting, powdered chalk, kaolin, fuller's earth and diatomacious earth
are pliable and easy to use. White paper towels (with no decorative printing), gauze and white cotton balls may be used
as well. Do not use whiting or iron-type clays that contain acids.
When combined with the cleaning
agent, about one pound of poultice will cover one square foot of stained natural stone.
Specific Cleaning Agents
them to your specific types of stains
Biological - Use hydrogen peroxide or ammonia or
bleach. Don't combine ammonia and bleach.
Cooper - You may succeed with ammonia; at least apply
once or twice and if you see results, continue. If you see no results, call The Granite Guy.
Iron - Use diatomacious earth and rust
remover from the hardware store. Rust stains are "iffy" from the get-go. Try, try, and if you see no results, call The
Granite Guy nearest you.
Oil - Baking soda and water may do the trick. If not, try mineral spirits with another powdered absorbent
Organic - Use a powdered absorbent
material and 12% (hair bleach strength) hydrogen peroxide.
Get It On!
1. Remember you want a paste the consistency of
smooth (not chunky) peanut butter. If you're using cotton balls, paper or gauze, you don't want any dripping as
you apply it, so let the excess drain a few minutes before you apply iit
2. Before applying anything, wet the stained
area with distilled water.
3. Apply the poultice about an inch beyond the stained area. Use a wood or plastic scraper
to apply it. You don't want to accidentally scratch the surface with a metal scraper.
4. After covering the
area with plastic sheet -- the kind you might use for a drop cloth or weather-proofing windows -- seal the entire border of
that covering with tape; not just a few spots along the border. The goal is to keep the liquid cleaning agent from drying
|5. Don't touch the area for 24 to 48 hours.
6. Then remove the plastic and allow
the area to dry.
7. Remove the poultice, using a wood or plastic scraper if necessary. Rinse the area with distilled
water and buff it with a soft cloth.
Repeat the proceedure up to five times or more (your choice) if the removal
is not as complete as you had hoped.
What do you do if the stain is still
there after 10 poultices?
Call The Granite Guy nearest you!