CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE: NATURAL STONE

With the proper care, it is simple to keep your Natural Stone looking like new, year after year. Natural Stone is one of the easiest to maintain and most permanent of all surfacing materials. So easy, that it only requires a routinely quick wipe with a cloth and clean water or methylated spirit. This is your guide to preserve the beauty of your Natural stone, by following some simple pointers and maintain the beauty of your Natural Stone with a minimum of care.

Care and Precautions

Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the surface of many stones. Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that can scratch the surface.

Occasional Care

Periodic wiping with clean water, methylated spirits or appropriate cleaning products is generally sufficient to keep your Natural Stone installation looking like new. Do not use detergents, acids or caustic cleaners. Cleaning agents vary depending on the stone type and application as explained in Cleaning Procedures and Suggestions.

Sealants

Sealants (Available from your stone dealer) can be applied periodically depending on the wear and tear of the material and the porosity of the stone, such as marble, granite or limestone. Always remember to follow the instruction on the bottle and apply the sealer with your windows open and/or with sufficient ventilation. Appropriate sealants vary depending on the stone type and application. More information about the suggested sealants is available on our website (See Products>Sealants):

Dry-Treat META CRÈME™

Dry-Treat STAIN-PROOF Original™

Dry-Treat INTENSIFIA™

Caution

Due to the characteristics of Natural Stone, some care should be taken with some products such as, juices containing acidic products, strong detergents, corrosive liquids or scouring powders which can react on the surface, leaving residues that may dull the polished/honed surface of the Natural Stones.

Cleaning Procedures and Suggestions

Floor Surfaces

Dust mop interior floors frequently, using a clean non-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. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface. It is recommended to use a steam mop or neutral cleaning agents for routine cleaning. Always remember to follow the manufactures instructions when using any cleaning products or appliances.

Suggested cleaning agent - Hanafinn OXY-KLENZA™ or Hanafinn REJUVENATA ACTIVE

Other Surfaces

Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner, stone soap and warm water. Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces 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. Change the rinse water frequently. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface. Always remember to follow the manufactures instructions when using any cleaning products.

Suggested cleaning agent - Hanafinn OXY-KLENZA™ or Hanafinn REJUVENATA ACTIVE

Bath and Other Wet Areas

In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a 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.

Suggested cleaning agent - Hanafinn OXY-KLENZA™

Vanity Top Surfaces

Vanity tops may need to have a penetrating sealer applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. A good quality marble wax or non-yellowing automobile paste wax can be applied to minimize water spotting.

Suggested cleaning agent - Hanafinn REJUVENATA ACTIVE™ or Hanafinn REJUVENATA™ Spray 

Food Preparation Areas

In food preparation areas, the stone may need to have a penetrating sealer applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. If a sealer is applied, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use on food preparation surfaces and remember to apply with your windows open and/or with sufficient ventilation. If there are questions, check with the sealer manufacturer.

Suggested cleaning agent - Hanafinn REJUVENATA ACTIVE

Outdoor Pool and Patio Areas

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

Suggested cleaning agent - Hanafinn OXY-KLENZA™

Stone Identification 

Know Your Stone

Natural stone can be classified into two general categories according to its composition: siliceous stone or calcareous stone. Knowing the difference is critical when selecting cleaning products.

Siliceous stone is composed mainly of silica or quartz-like particles. It tends to be very durable and relatively easy to clean. Types of siliceous stone include granite, slate, sandstone, quartzite, porphyry, brownstone and bluestone.

Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate. It is sensitive to cleaning products and frequently requires different cleaning procedures than siliceous stone. Types of calcareous stone include marble, travertine, limestone and onyx. What may work on siliceous stone may not be suitable on calcareous surfaces.

Stone Finishes

A polished finish on the stone has a glossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the colour and marking of the material. This type of finish is used on walls, furniture tops and other items, as well as floor tiles. A honed finish is a satin smooth surface with relatively little light reflection. Generally, a honed finish is preferred for floors, stair treads, thresholds and other locations where heavy traffic will wear off the polished finish. A honed finish may also be used on furniture tops and other surfaces. A flamed finish is a rough textured surface used frequently on granite floor tiles.

Stone Colour and Apperance

Granites and marbles are quarried throughout the world in a variety of colours with varying mineral compositions. In most cases, marbles and granites can be identified by visible particles at the surface of the stone. Marble will normally show "veins" or high concentrations. The minerals in granite will typically appear as small flecks distributed uniformly in the stone. Each type of stone is unique and will vary in colour, texture and marking.

Sandstones vary widely in colour due to different minerals and clays found in the stone. Sandstone is light gray to yellow or red. Dark reddish brown sandstone, also called brownstone, has commonly been used in the north-eastern United States and eastern Canada. Bluestone is dense, hard, fine-grained sandstone of greenish-gray or bluish-gray colour and is quarried in the eastern United States.

Limestone is a widely used building stone with colours typically light gray, tan or buff. A distinguishing characteristic of many limestones is the presence of fossils that are frequently visible in the stone surface. Slate is dark green, black, gray, dark red or multi-coloured. It is most commonly used as a flooring material and for roof tiles and is often distinguished by its distinct cleft texture.

Stains

Spills and Stains

Blot the spill with a paper towel immediately. Don't wipe the area, it will spread the spill. Flush the area with plain water and mild soap and rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary. If the stain remains, refer to the section in this brochure on stain removal.

Stain Removal

Identifying the type of stain on the stone surface is the key to removing it. If you don't know what caused the stain, play detective. Where is the stain located? Is it near a plant, a food service area, an area where cosmetics are used? What colour is it? What is the shape or pattern? What goes on in the area around the stain? Surface stains can often be removed by cleaning with an appropriate cleaning product or household chemical. Deep-seated or stubborn stains may require using a poultice or calling in a professional. The following sections describe the types of stains that you may have to deal with and appropriate household chemicals to use and how to prepare and apply a poultice to remove the stain.

Types of Stains and First Step Cleaning Actions

Oil-Based

(Grease, tar, cooking oil, milk, cosmetics) An oil-based stain will darken the stone and normally must be chemically dissolved so the source of the stain can be flushed or rinsed away. Clean gently with a soft, liquid cleanser with bleach OR household detergent OR ammonia OR mineral spirits OR acetone.

Suggested cleaning agent - Hanafinn OXY-KLENZA™

Organic

(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 with12% hydrogen peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia.

Suggested cleaning agent - Hanafinn OXY-KLENZA™

Metal

(Iron, rust, copper, bronze) Iron or rust stains are orange to brown in colour and follow the shape of the staining object such as nails, bolts, screws, cans, flower pots, 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 (See section on Making & Using a Poultice). Deep-seated, rusty stains are extremely difficult to remove and the stone may be permanently stained.

Suggested cleaning agent - Hanafinn EFF-ERAYZA

Biological

(Algae, mildew, lichens, moss, fungi) Clean with diluted (1/2 cup in a four litres of water) ammonia OR bleach OR hydrogen peroxide. DO NOT MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA! THIS COMBINATION CREATES A TOXIC AND LETHAL GAS!

Suggested cleaning agent - Hanafinn OXY-KLENZA™

Ink 

(Magic marker, pen, ink) Clean with a solvent paint remover or an alcohol.

Paint

Small amounts can be removed with lacquer thinner or scraped off carefully with a razor blade. Heavy paint coverage should be removed only with a commercial "heavy liquid" paint remover available from hardware stores and paint centres or alcohol. These removers normally contain caustic soda or lye. Do not use acids or flame tools to strip paint from stone. Over use of paint removers can etch the surface of the stone; re-polishing may be necessary. Follow the manufacturer's directions for use of these products, taking care to flush the area thoroughly with clean water. Protect yourself with rubber gloves and eye protection, and work in a well-ventilated area. Use only wood or plastic scrapers for removing the sludge and curdled paint. Normally, latex and acrylic paints will not cause staining. Oil-based paints, linseed oil, putty, caulks and sealants may cause oily stains. Refer to the section on oil-based stains.

Water spots and rings

(Surface accumulation of hard water) Buff with dry 0000 steel wool and always remember to rinse the stone thoroughly and remove all the excess residual of steel wool dust as it may that may cause stain marks.

Fire and smoke damage

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

Etch marks

Etch marks are caused by acids left on the surface of the stone. Some materials will etch the finish but not leave a stain. Others will both etch and stain. Once the stain has been removed, wet the surface with clear water and sprinkle on marble polishing powder, available from a hardware or lapidary store, or your local stone dealer. Rub the powder onto the stone with a damp cloth or by using a buffing pad with a low-speed power drill. Continue buffing until the etch mark disappears and the marble surface shines. Etch marks may also be buffed with a dry 0000 steel wool. Contact your stone dealer or call a professional stone restorer for refinishing or re-polishing etched areas that you cannot remove.

Efflorescence 

Efflorescence is a white powder that may appear on the surface of the stone. It is caused by water carrying mineral salts from below the surface of the stone rising through the stone and evaporating. When the water evaporates, it leaves the powdery substance. If the installation is new, dust mop or vacuum the powder. You may have to do this several times as the stone dries out. Do not use water to remove the powder; it will only temporarily disappear. If the problem persists, contact your installer to help identify and remove the cause of the moisture.

Suggested cleaning agent - Hanafinn EFF-ERAYZA

Scratches and nicks 

Slight surface scratches may be buffed with a dry 0000 steel wool. Deeper scratches and nicks in the surface of the stone should be repaired and re-polished by a professional. Always remember to rinse the stone thoroughly and remove all the excess residual of steel wool dust as it may that may cause stain marks.

Poultices

Making and Using a Poultice

A poultice is a liquid cleaner or chemical mixed with a white absorbent material to form a paste about the consistency of peanut butter. The poultice is spread over the stained area to a thickness of about 7 or 12mm with a wood or plastic spatula, covered with plastic and left to work for 24hours. The liquid cleaner or chemical will draw out the stain into the absorbent material. Poultice procedures may have to be repeated to thoroughly remove a stain, but some stains may never be completely removed.

Poultice Materials

Poultice materials include kaolin, fuller's earth, whiting, diatomaceous earth, powdered chalk, white moulding plaster, talc or Hanafinn OXY-KLENZA™. Approximately one pound of prepared poultice material will cover one square foot. Do not use whiting or iron-type clays such as fuller's earth with acid chemicals. The reaction will cancel the effect of the poultice. A poultice can also be prepared using white cotton balls, whitepaper towels or gauze pads.

Cleaning Agents or Chemicals

Oil-Based stains

Poultice with baking soda and water OR one of the powdered poultice materials and mineral spirits OR Hanafinn OXY-KLENZA™ with water. Organic stains Poultice with one of the powdered poultice materials and 12% acetone OR Hanafinn OXY-KLENZA™ with water.

Iron stains

Poultice with diatomaceous earth and a commercially available rust remover OR Hanafinn EFF-ERAYZA™. Rust stains are particularly difficult to remove and you may need to call a professional.

Copper stains

Poultice with one of the powdered poultice materials and ammonia OR Hanafinn EFF-ERAYZA™. These stains are difficult to remove and you may need to call a professional.

Biological stains

Poultice with diluted ammonia OR Hanafinn OXY-KLENZA™ with water. DO NOT MIX AMMONIA AND BLEACH! THIS COMBINATION CREATES A TOXIC AND LETHAL GAS!

Applying the Poultice

Prepare the poultice. If using powder, mix the cleaning agent or chemical to a thick paste the consistency of peanut butter. If using paper, soak in the chemical and let drain. Don't let the liquid drip. Wet the stained area with water. Apply the poultice to the stained area about 7 or 12mm thick and extend the poultice beyond the stained area by about one inch. Use a wood or plastic scraper to spread the poultice evenly. Cover the poultice with plastic and tape the edges to seal it. Allow the poultice to dry thoroughly, usually about 24 hours. The drying process is what pulls the stain out of the stone and into the poultice material. After about 24 hours, remove the plastic and allow the poultice to dry. Remove the poultice from the stain. Rinse with distilled water and buff dry with a soft cloth. Use the wood or plastic scraper if necessary. Repeat the poultice application if the stain is not removed. It may take up to five applications for difficult stains. If the surface is etched by the chemical, apply polishing powder and buff with burlap or felt buffing pad to restore the surface.

Dos and dont's 

DO Always remember to follow the manufactures instructions when using any cleaning products and/or appliances

DO Dust mop floors frequently

DO Use a steam mop for routine cleaning

DO Try to clean a small inconspicuous area first

DO Thoroughly rinse well with clean water and dry the surface after washing

DO Avoid high concentration of cleaning agents for prolonged periods of time

DO Protect your floor if renovating or if there is any construction surrounding the tile area

DO Blot up spills immediately

DON'T Use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub and tile cleaners

DON’T Use cleaning agents which incorporate wax or polish, as it may result in a buildup of residue over time

DON’T Use bleach as it may affect some silicones

DON'T Mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas

DON'T Ever mix chemicals together unless directions specifically instruct you to do so

MORE IS NOT BETTER when it comes to cleaning agents and chemicals

It is very important to call a professional stone cleaning specialist for problems that appear too difficult to treat. On many occasions cleaning contractors are engaged, rather than a Stone expert. This often relates to a perceived reduction in cost that may actually turn out to be more expensive in the long run. If an inappropriate cleaning process is used, the result could be disastrous. Properly cleaned stone should have a natural colour and hue, with no evidence of streaking or bleaching. The pores of the substrate must be free of any residual acidity or alkalinity that could cause the formation of damaging soluble salt. If the cleaner/contractor that is responsible for cleaning Natural Stone takes the proper steps and precautions when analysing the problem and selects the appropriate process, the stone will once again return its original beauty.

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