Stone Care


The natural stone you have in your home, office, or commercial building is an investment that will give you many years of beautiful service. Simple care and maintenance will help you preserve your stone’s beauty for generations to come.


  • Do dust mop floors frequently.
  • Do clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap.
  • Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface with clean, clear water after washing.
  • Do blot up spills immediately.
  • Do protect floor surfaces with non slip mats or area rugs and countertop surfaces with coasters, trivets, or placemats.
  • Don’t use vinegar, lemon juice, or other cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine, or onyx surfaces.
  • Don’t use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners, or tub & tile cleaners.
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
  • Don’t mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic lethal gas.
  • Don’t ever mix chemicals together unless directions specifically instruct you to do so.
  • Don’t use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the stone’s surface.



Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner, stone soap (available at hardware stores or from your stone dealer), or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Use a clean soft cloth for best results. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar, or other acids on marble or limestone. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.



Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean, not treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt, and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt, and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non slip surface.

Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes.

Normal maintenance involves periodic washing with clean, potable water and neutral (ph 7) cleaners. Soapless cleaners are preferred because they minimize streaks and film. Mild phosphate-free, biodegradable liquid dishwashing soaps or powder or stone soaps are acceptable if rinsing is thorough.

Wet the stone surface with clean water. Using the cleaning solution (following manufacturer’s directions), wash in small, overlapping sweeps. Work from the bottom up if it is a vertical surface. Rinse thoroughly with clean potable water to remove all traces of soap or cleaner solution. Change the water in the rinse pail frequently. Dry with soft cloth and allow thoroughly air dry.



Soap scum can be minimized by using squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Frequent or over-use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of the stone.



In outdoor pool, patio, or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use a mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.

The large expanses of stone generally found on exterior applications may make it impractical to perform normal maintenance on a frequent basis. Large installations, however, should be given periodic overall cleaning as necessary to remove accumulated pollutants. Easily accessible stone surfaces such as steps, walkways, fountains, etc., should be kept free of debris and soiling by periodically sweeping and washing with water.

Normal maintenance should include periodic inspection of stone surfaces for structural defects, movement, deterioration or staining.


  1. Remove any loose debris.
  2. Blot spills; wiping the area will spread the spill.
  3. Flush the area with plain water and soap and rinse several times.
  4. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth.
  5. Repeat as necessary.
  6. If the stain remains, refer to the section in this guideline for stain removal.
  7. If the stain persists, or for problems that appear too difficult to treat, call your stone care professional, installer, or restoration specialist.



Grease, tar cooking oil and cosmetics. They will darken the stone and normally must be chemically dissolved so the stain’s source can be rinsed away. Clean gently with a soft liquid cleanser, ammonia, mineral spirits or acetone.


Coffee, tea, fruit, tobacco, paper, food, urine, leaves, bark, bird droppings. May cause a pinkish-brown stain and may disappear after the source of the stain has been removed. Outdoors, with the sources removed, normal sun and rain action will generally bleach out the stains. Indoors, clean with 12% hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia.


Iron, rust, copper, bronze. Orange or rust stains are orange to brown in color and leave the shape of the staining object, such as nails, bolts, screws, cans, flowerpots or metal furniture. Copper and bronze stains appear as green or muddy brown and result from the action of moisture on nearby or embedded bronze, copper, or brass items. Metal stains must be removed with a poultice. Deep seated, rusty stains are extremely difficult to remove and the stone may be permanently stained.


Algae, mildew, lichens, moss, fungi. Clean with a dilute (1/2 cup in a gallon of water) ammonia, beach or hydrogen peroxide. WARNING: DO NOT MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA! THIS COMBINATION CREATES A TOXIC GAS.


Magic marker, pen, ink. Clean light colored stones with bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Use lacquer thinner or acetone for dark colored stones.


Small amounts can be removed with lacquer thinner or scraped off carefully with a razor blade. Heavy paint coverage should be removed with a commercial liquid paint stripper. DO NOT USE ACIDS OR FLAME TOOLS TO STRIP PAINT FROM STONE.


Surface accumulation of hard water. Buff with 0000 steel wool.


Older stones and smoke or fire stained fireplaces may require a thorough cleaning to restore their original appearance. Commercially available smoke removal products may save time and effort.


Caused by acids, typically from milk, fruit juices, alcohol, etc. Left on the surface of the stone, some will etch the finish but not leave a stain. other will both etch and stain. Honing or re-polishing may be required for deep etching. This process may require the services of a stone maintenance professional.


In some cases, it makes sense to seal the stone. Once properly sealed, the stone will be protected against everyday dirt and spills. In other cases, it is best to leave the stone untreated. If you have decided to treat your stone, make sure you understand the differences between the types of sealers available on the market:



Are coatings (film formers) designed to protect the surface of the stone against water, oil, and other contaminants. They are formulated from natural wax, acrylic, and other plastic compounds. When a topical sealer is applied, the maintenance program often shifts from a program focused on stone care to a program focused on the maintenance of the sealer (for example: stripping and reapplication).



Are water or solvent based solutions that penetrate below the surface and become repellents. They are generally hydrophobic (water repelling), but are also oleophobic (oil repelling). Impregnators keep contaminants out, but do not stop the interior moisture from escaping. These products are considered “breathable”, meaning they have vapor transmission.

Vanity tops and food preparation areas may need to have an impregnator applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. if an impregnator is applied, be sure that it is safe for use on food preparation surfaces. If thee are questions, check with the product manufacturer.


  • Read the manufacturers warranty and instructions.
  • Contact the manufacturer prior to application if you are unsure or need clarification.
  • Consider the life span of the application (1 year, 2 years, 5 years, etc.) – keep a log of each application.
  • Don’t switch from one product to another without fully understanding any potential issues. Not all products are alike – again, consult with the manufacturers.
  • Consult with your stone professional as necessary.