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The following is designed to give you information about caring for your stone:

Know Your Stone
Spills and Stains
Care and Cleaning for Granite Surfaces
Types of Stains & First Step Cleaning Actions
Cleaning Procedures and Recommendations
Do's and Dont's

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. 

Types of siliceous stones include granite, slate, sandstone, quartzite, brownstone and bluestone. Siliceous stone is composed mainly of silicia or quartz-like particles. It tends to be very durable and relatively easy to clean with mild acidic cleaning solutions.

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

How to Tell the Difference
A simple acid sensitivity test can be performed to determine whether a stone is calcareous or siliceous. You will need a few drops of vinegar and an eyedropper. Because this test may permanently etch the stone, select an out of the way area ( a corner or closet ) and several inches away from the mortar joint.

Apply a few drops of the vinegar to the stone surface on an area about the size of a quarter. If the stone is calcareous, the vinegar will etch the stone. If little or no reaction occurs, the stone can be considered siliceous.

Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water and wipe dry. This test may not be effective if the surface sealers or liquid polishes have been applied.

Stone Finishes
A polished finish on the stone has a glossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the color and marking of the material. This type of finish is used on floor tiles, walls, as well as for furniture tops, counter tops and other items.

A honed finish is a satin smooth surface with relatively little light reflection. Generally, a honed finished is preferred for floors, stair threads, 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 Plasma flame finished is a rough textured surface used frequently on granite floor tiles and wall tiles.

Granite Colors and Appearance
Granites are quarried throughout the world in a variety of colors with varying mineral compositions. In most cases, granites can be identified by visible particles at the surface of the stone. The minerals in granite will typically appear as small flecks distributed uniformly in the stone. Each type of granite is unique and will vary in color, texture and marking. All granites have some degree of pitting and fissures.

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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, see your stone dealer on stain removal.

Stain Removal
Identifying the type of stain on the granite 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 color is it? What is the shape or pattern? What goes on it the area around the stain?

Surface stains can often be removed by cleaning with an appropriate cleaning product. Do not use household chemicals unless advised by your supplier. Deep-seated or stubborn stains may require using a poultice.

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Care and Cleaning for Granite Surfaces

Granite is an investment that will give its owner many years of beautiful service. Granite is a natural product and simple care and maintenance will keep it looking beautiful. This specification guide will give you recommendations for routine care and cleaning as well as procedures for simple stain removal techniques should that ever be necessary.

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Types of Stains & First Step Cleaning Actions

Oil-based (grease, tar, cooking oil, milk, cosmetics): An oil-based stain will darken the granite and normally must be chemically dissolved so the source of the stain can be flushed or rinsed away. Clean gently with household detergent or ammonia or mineral spirits or acetone.

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 removed. Outdoors, with the source removed, normal sun and rain action will generally bleach out the stains. Indoors, clean with 12% hydrogen peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia.

Metal (iron, rust, copper, bronze): Iron or rust stains are orange to brown in color 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. Deep-seated, rusty stains are extremely difficult to remove and the granite may be permanently stained.

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

Ink (magic marker, pen ink): Clean with hydrogen peroxide (light colored stone only!) or lacquer thinner or acetone (dark stones only!).

Paint: 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 heavy liquid stripper available from hardware stores or paint centers. Do not use acid or flame tools to strip paint from the granite. Paint strippers can etch the surface of the granite; 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 an acrylic paints will not cause staining. Oil-based paints, linseed oil, putty, caulks and sealants may cause oil stains.

Water Spots and Rings (surface accumulation of hard water): Buff with dry 0000 steel wool.

Fire and Smoke Damage: Older granites 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.

Scratches and Nicks: Slight surface scratches may be buffed with dry 0000 steel wool. Deeper scratches and nicks in the surface of the granite should be repaired and re-polished by a professional.

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Cleaning Procedures and Recommendations

Floor Surfaces
Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to granite because of their abrasiveness. Mats or rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the granite floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface.

Other Surfaces
Clean granite surfaces with neutral cleaner or stone soap. Dilute as directed in warm water. Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for better results. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. 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 granite.

Bath and other Wet Areas
In the bath or 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.

Food Preparation Areas
In food preparation area the granite has been sealed with a penetrating sealer. Clean as directed “in other surfaces”.

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Do's and Dont's

Do's Dont's
Do dust floors frequently

Do clean surface with mild detergent or stone soap

Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing

Do blot up spills immediately

Do protect floor surfaces with non-slip mats or area rugs

Don’t use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub and tile cleaners

Don’t use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleaners or soft cleaners

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

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