Natural Stone Cleaning FAQ

Why should I have my stone cleaned and sealed?

Your natural stone surface is millions of years old and it can be damaged by using an improper cleaning product that is not suitable for use on stone surfaces. Natural stone is formed of delicate minerals that can react to improper cleaning products such as: vinegar, many over-the-counter cleaning products, window cleaners, dishwashing detergents, generic neutral cleaners, degreasers, acidic-based cleaners and much more; therefore, it is important to have it professionally cleaned and sealed. Then follow manufacturer’s guidelines for at home maintenance.

How often do I need a stone care professional?

Natural stone should be cleaned and sealed upon installation. Again, sealant is vital! Please verify a professional has cleaned and sealed your stone. Over time the sealant will dissipate becoming less effective. Being able to determine when a new seal is needed is a necessary skill of a granite owner. The test, called the Water Seal Test, is quite simple, but will be important for knowing when to call MasterCare to clean and replenish your seal. 1. Pour water, about 3 inches in diameter, on several different places of the surface. Let the water sit for about 15 minutes. 2. If you see a dark mark or ring, the water is penetrating the stone (don’t worry, it will evaporate) and it’s time to reseal. 3. Ensure you’ve tested key areas of your stone such as areas near sinks or appliances where liquid is most likely to accumulate on the stone. The water will darken and pool together when on unsealed stone. The darkening occurs because the water is soaking into the pores of the stone. Whereas on sealed stone the water will sit on top of the surface.

What types of sealants are there?

There are two types of sealants, coatings and penetrating. Coating sealants form a protective layer on top of the granite surface. Penetrating sealants go into the pores of the stone forming flexible molecular links. MasterCare Inc. uses the penetrating (impregnating) sealants that last longer and provide more thorough protection.

Are the products MasterCare uses safe for food handling surfaces?

Our sealers are safe for food-handling or food-prep surfaces.

What can I do at home to maintain my GRANITE?

First, always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Clean up spills immediately, including water. While a healthy seal will prevent most stains from soaking into granite, it is still important to clean up spills quickly. By allowing a spill to sit on the granite you’re opening up a possibility of staining or dulling the granite. This is especially true of vinegar, lemon juice, and spilled chemicals such as bleach or drain cleaners. A few drops of NEUTRAL cleaner, stone soap or a MILD liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water can be used to clean. Use a clean rag for best results. Too much cleaner or soap will leave a film and cause streaks. Do NOT use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on the granite as the high acid content may etch the surface. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the solution and dry with a soft clean cloth. Change the rinse water frequently. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface. In bath and 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. Frequent, or over use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of the stone.

DO’s: 1. Dust the surface frequently. 2. Clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap. 3. Thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing. 4. Blot up spills immediately. 5. Seal stone every 2 years (or as required by the manufacturer’s guidelines) for a long term gloss.

DON’Ts 1. Use vinegar, lemon juice or other cleaners containing acids. 2. Use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom, grout or other tub and tile cleaners. 3. Use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers. 4. Mix bleach and ammonia – this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas.

How do I care for my marble countertops and floors?

Marble is porous, and easily stained and is etched by acids. Avoid setting beverage glasses directly on marble as they leave rings. Fruit juice, carbonated beverages or other acids will etch (remove shiny surface) if allowed to remain on marble. Wipe up acid spills immediately, and wipe surface with a wet clean cloth. If surface is etched, polishing may be required. Dust mop interior marble 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.