4 Tips for natural stone cleaning
When it comes to the topic of stone cleaning, many homeowners and garden owners are faced with a conundrum. After all, the dirt that can settle on stones or tiles over the course of many years is sometimes very stubborn.
But it is not only the impurities that settle on stone surfaces within longer periods of time that need to be removed. Stones and tiles can also be contaminated by accident, for example by spilled liquids, by painter’s paint, building materials and the like.
Cleaning Natural Stone Surfaces
Traditional stone cleaning – for “clean results”
Generally, three basic types of contamination are distinguished on stones and tiles in indoor and outdoor areas. These are chemical, inorganic, and organic contamination. Depending on the nature and material composition of the substances, it takes more or less effort to remove them.
If it is done correctly, it is quite possible to clean the tiles or paving stones without leaving any residues or even color changes on the surfaces in the end. In many cases, it is sufficient to reach into the “in-house treasure chest” and proceed with stone cleaning in the same way as was customary in grandmother’s day.
Sometimes, however, it is necessary to use “heavier weapons” and try to clean the tiles or paving stones with specific means. In this case, however, caution is required, because the use of many chemical preparations is associated with certain dangers. This guide shows how to clean the stone properly.
Interesting facts about stone cleaning and stone care
- Organic soiling
Whether fungal growth, algae, moss, lichen, wild growth, or weeds – organic soiling of various kinds can usually be removed with comparatively little effort. The use of chemical substances is not absolutely necessary; it is often sufficient to use a high pressure washer or – on smaller surfaces – a coarse brush. In this way, stone cleaning can be done without any chemicals at all. This is not only good for the wallet, but also for the environment.
When we talk about inorganic contamination on tiles and stones, we are usually referring to grease and oil, but also graffiti smears, cement deposits, and other building materials, as well as rubber abrasion or similar residues. It is advisable to use chemical cleaning agents for stone cleaning in order to “declare war” on such stubborn dirt. However, it is advisable to work with tact and sensitivity. Otherwise, even stone surfaces could be affected.
If the attractiveness of tiles, stones, or paving stones is impaired by chemical soiling, acid rain, or other environmental influences, corrosion or residues of chemical substances may also be the cause. Here it is worth taking a close look. Efflorescence also reduces the visual quality of stone surfaces. They can best be eliminated with individual cleaning methods.
Which form of stone cleaning can be helpful under these circumstances can be seen from the 4 following tips for efficient stone cleaning and stone care:
Cleaning tiles and paving stones – but properly
Whether inorganic, organic, or chemical – each type of soiling usually requires individual procedures to ensure effective cleaning. However, not only the type of soiling but also the degree as well as the extent of soiling on the stone surfaces take a high priority in the selection of the appropriate cleaning method.
It is indeed not a pretty sight when paving stones or tiles in the outdoor area are soiled by weather influences as well as by plant growth, bird droppings, or the like. But also the “little mishap” on stone surfaces in the interior of the house, such as on marble kitchen countertops or on the natural stone floor in the corridor or entrance area is a real nuisance.
Especially when considered in the long term. This is because, given the design of the stone or tile surfaces, it is sometimes easy for sauces, paints, wines or fats to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone surfaces and cause lasting optical damage in the upper segments.
Stone and tile cleaner product Buying Advice:
Where water, scrubbing brushes, and neutral cleaners have to fit, cleaners are used that are available for almost all types of stone. Choose the right product for the cleaning stone and tile.
Tips for stone cleaning and stone care in the house, yard and garden
Clean tiles and get rid of bird droppings – stone cleaning made easy.
Bird droppings are a real “chemical bomb”. Car drivers can literally sing a song about how the appearance of the vehicle’s paintwork changes if the droppings left behind by birds are not removed from the surface in time. Thanks to ammonia and co. the droppings of the animals “eat” deep into the paint and cause irreparable damage. A real tragedy, and it is extremely time-consuming and costly to “undo” the whole thing. Even if the surface of stones or tiles comes into contact with bird droppings, rapid action is required.
Bird droppings, but also fungus stains, etc. should be removed as soon as possible from the terrace floor, from the natural stone stairs or from the marble floor in the courtyard or in front of the garden house. Because only then it is possible to prevent worse. The effort required for cleaning tiles or paving stones is relatively low in this respect. It is only necessary to let the bird droppings dry and then remove them with a coarse broom.
A mixture of lukewarm water and a ph-neutral cleaning agent is then applied to the previously cleaned area. After a reaction time of about 15 to 20 minutes, the mixture can be rinsed off with clear water. If even now remains of the bird droppings are still visible, the procedure is repeated without further ado.
Oil and grease on the kitchen worktop
One wrong move or not paying attention for a moment – and it’s done: When baking, frying, sizzling, or cooking, cooking oil or frying fat ends up on the work surface or on the natural stone floor in the kitchen or utility room.
Regardless of whether it is just a few drops or even a full bottle of oil has emptied onto the surface – it is now essential to act quickly. Otherwise, stubborn discolorations will remain that cannot be quickly removed from the stone surface. It is important to remove the excess grease or oil immediately with an absorbent cloth.
A kitchen cloth made of cellulose or blotting paper – both are ideal. However, under no circumstances should the greasy contaminants be rubbed onto the area with it, because otherwise the grease can penetrate much deeper into the stone pores. The damage would then be irreversible. Careful dabbing is therefore advisable. After the work is done, apply some liquid bile soap to the contaminated areas. This will loosen the grease quite well from the floor or countertop.
Cleaning paving stones
On pavers with porous surfaces, liquids can soak in quickly and cause permanent stains that are difficult to remove later. If you have paved a seating area, you should wipe up spilled red wine, grease splatters, and other fresh stains as quickly as possible.
Sweeping up is part of regular paver’s maintenance, but it’s also the first step before using any cleaning products. Because as soon as you handle water on the pavers, soil, leaves, and plant debris become a greasy mass that can loosely clog drains.
You can remove loose dirt with a street broom or a classic witches’ broom, leaves, and fallen petals also with the leaf brooms known from the lawn – but with a plastic model that does not cause scratches. On large paved areas, sweepers take a lot of the work off your hands; you don’t have to bend down when cleaning, and you can push the most battery-powered devices comfortably like a lawnmower.
Coffee stains on marble – it all comes down to proper stone cleaning and stone care
Coffee drinkers usually wake up early in the morning. But when the “black and gold” liquid is accidentally spilled in the early morning hours and lands on the granite surface in the kitchen, the “hello-wake-up moment” is felt with particular intensity. Granite is a precious natural stone material that absorbs liquids of various kinds like a sponge. This means that ugly stains and edges can quickly remain on the surface.
Therefore, it is essential to act quickly and quickly remove the coffee with a kitchen towel. Only then is it guaranteed that as little coffee as possible will penetrate the stone pores. Then place a damp sponge on the contaminated area. The stone also absorbs this liquid, so that the brown stain becomes less and less visible. Provided that the stone cleaning with this technique was not completely successful, the procedure should be repeated several times.
After the generously applied bile soap has been allowed to work for about five to ten minutes, it is removed again with a paper towel. Finally, it is advisable to rinse the treated surface with lukewarm water to remove any remaining dissolved grease residues and the remaining bile soap.
Sulphur dioxide reacts with the stone to form calcium sulfate. In protected areas of stone (which are not washed by rainwater), these crystals trap pollution causing a black crust to form. This causes the pores of the stone to become clogged and movement of water in and out of the stone is affected.
Vacuum or sweep the floor to remove any dirt particles. Fill a bucket with a gallon of warm water and use just the water or mix in a small amount of Neutral All-Purpose-Cleaner, Dish Soap or the manufacturers recommended cleaning solution. Change the solution when it gets cloudy or dirty.
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.
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.