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Natural stone in your home or office is an investment that will give you many years of beautiful services. Stone is a natural product and simple care and maintenance will keep it looking beautiful.

A comprehensive care and maintenance program will ensure the long-term enjoyment of your project and is just as important as the initial material selection, in fact material selection is frequently based on the owner’s care and maintenance tolerance.

Whether you are a homeowner, or a designer or architect, you will want to be aware of the care and maintenance requirements before you select or specify a material for your project.

We strongly recommend you read this article before you make your material selection.

These are general guideline on how to care for your newly installed surface, based on the material selected and the respective application

Based on its mineral composition 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 with mild acidic cleaning solutions. Types of siliceous stone include granite, slate, sandstone and quartzite. Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate and will react to acidic foods such as lemons or tomatoes. This reaction will result in a dulling in surface sheen and change in texture, otherwise referred to as “acid etching”. Cleaning products that work on siliceous stone may damage the surface of calcareous surfaces. Types of calcareous stone include marble, travertine, limestone and onyx.

Follow the following steps to clean spills on your natural stone surface:

  • When a spill occurs, immediately blot the spill with a paper towel. Don’t wipe the area; it will spread the spill.
  • Flush the area with plain water and a mild liquid dishwashing detergent. Rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth.
  • Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.

All natural stone in any application must be regularly and thoroughly cleaned with a neutral detergent and water, or a cleaning product designed specifically for stone.


General Precautions

There are a few most important things that you can do to keep your natural stone surface healthy and beautiful for years to come.

  • Remove any dust, grit, and sand from the stone’s surface.
  • Clean up accidental spills as soon as possible.
  • 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 stone surface. This is especially true for calcareous natural stones such as marble, limestone, onyx, and travertine.
  • Daily cleanings should be accompanied by periodic deep cleanings.
  • 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
  • Do not use vinegar, lemon juice, or other acid containing cleaners such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners, or tub and tile cleaners on your stone.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
  • Do not mix chemicals such as bleach and ammonia alone or in combination. Mixing some chemicals together creates a toxic and lethal gas.


Stone Flooring

  • Protect your natural stone floors near entry ways with non-slip mats or area rugs. This helps to remove any loose dirt or sand from shoes.
  • Frequent dust mopping, vacuuming, and sweeping of your natural stone floors will prevent the accumulation of grit and grime. This will also slow the rate of deterioration caused by foot traffic grinding in dirt, sand, or grit.
  • Wet mop using a mild vegetable soap and water solution, or a stone cleaner made especially for stone. Many qualified stone technicians believe that damp mopping with clear water every day to clean soiled areas is all that is necessary to keep your stone floor clean. Most often, the floor will be damp mopped less frequently and a soap and water or stone cleansers should be used.
  • Quick daily cleanings should be accompanied by periodic deep cleanings. How often you deep clean your stone will depend on the usage. Having children and pets will require more frequent deep cleanings.
  • Daily spot cleaning. This is simply wiping up any accidental spills promptly. If you do get a stain, attend to it as soon as possible with a slightly stronger solution of detergent and then a poultice if the detergent cleaner is unsuccessful.
  • Do not damp mop your floor with vinegar, lemon juice, or other cleaners containing acids on Marble, Travertine, Limestone, or Onyx surfaces. This can seriously damage your stone.
  • Do not damp mop your floor with a commercially available cleaner unless it indicates it is safe for your stone.
  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner with worn or missing wheels.



  • Wipe up any spills as soon as possible. If left unattended, the spills can etch the polish and dull the finish of the stone. Beverages such as coke and orange juice contain acidic elements that when in contact with calcium-based stones (marble, limestone, travertine, and onyx) can deteriorate the stone. This doesn’t burn a hole through your stone, it just loses its polished finish in the area of contact and can change the color of darker stones in the area of contact.
  • Use coasters or placemats on your natural stone surfaces. Rinse and dry your natural stone surface after washing. This is very effective on dark stones to get rid of streaks. Miracle cloths are very effective for drying your darker stone to a streak free finish.
  • Daily spot cleaning is simply wiping up any accidental spills promptly. If you do get a stain, attend to it as soon as possible with a slightly stronger solution of detergent and then a poultice if the detergent cleaner is unsuccessful
  • Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar, or other acids on Marble, Limestone, Onyx, or Travertine.
  • Do not use scouring powders or creams.
  • Do not use more cleanser than recommended.


Vanity Tops

  • Clean your bathroom vanity top regularly with a cleaner, intended for Natural Stone.
  • Clean your mirrors with the same solution.
  • Apply a penetrating sealer if needed.
  • Do not clean Marble, Travertine, Limestone, or Onyx Surfaces with vinegar, lemon juice, or other cleaners containing acids.
  • Do not use bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners, or tub and tile cleaners that contain acids.
  • Do not clean with dry or soft cleansers that contain abrasive.
  • Do not clean your vanity mirror with a household cleaner if it’s above a Natural Stone vanity.
  • Do not use any powder cleaner, or any cream cleaner, such as Soft Scrub®.
  • Do not paint your nails on your marble vanity top or perm your hair anywhere near it.
  • Do not place any wet bottle, such as perfume and after shave, on top of a marble vanity.


Shower Walls

  • Minimize soap scum by using a squeegee after each use.
  • Always Remove Soap Scum with a product intended for natural stone.
  • Monitor your grout and caulk lines periodically and address any problems immediately.
  • Do not use just any cleanser, either in a powdery or creamy form, cleaner should be intended for natural stone.
  • Do not use ammonia solutions. Your surface will dull over time.
  • Do not clean stone shower walls with any generic soap film removers.
  • Do not use any generic mildew stain removers such as Tilex Mildew & Stain Remover on your polished stone shower wall.
  • Do not scrub with any magic self-cleaner such as Scrub Free® or any harsh disinfectant such as Lysol®.



Please note that the information on this page is a general summary of industry-accepted standards and tips regarding natural stone considerations, applications and care. We have compiled this information to help you in your stone selection and care. MGSI is not involved in geological testing and has no formal proof of the information presented in the article and relies on industry wide information and standards. MGSI will not be responsible for any direct or indirect claims and damages, resulting from the improper application and/or interpretation of this information. Please note that natural stone varies substantially. Ask your stone specialist what works best for your project

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