A Guide to the Care & Cleaning of Natural Stone

If you have any type of natural stone countertop, you’ll need to care for it and clean it properly.

Every natural stone is slightly different to care for due to its hardness level, but we’re going to cover care and cleaning options that are universal for most stones.

Why Choose Natural Stone?

Natural stone is an investment, and with the right maintenance and care, this stone can last for decades.

For example, if you buy soapstone countertops, they can last for 20+ years with proper care.

Even if the stone is scratched, you can buff these imperfections out.

Natural stone is an excellent choice for countertops and other uses because it offers:

variety: You’ll find numerous types of stone, from soapstone to granite and marble, to choose from. Due to these stones forming naturally, they offer exceptional resistance and a unique look.

Sustainability: Stone is a very durable material. Most types of stone have high heat resistance and offer decent resistance to cracks and chips under normal conditions.

Value: You may pay more upfront for natural stone, but you’ll have the stone for decades with the right care. There’s a lot of long-term value when choosing stone as your choice material.

You will want to keep in mind that natural stone is heavier than something like wood, so you may need to reinforce your countertops if you plan on remodeling and adding stone to your surfaces.

Maintenance and Cleaning of Natural Stone Surfaces

Natural stone may be used on flooring, countertops or other surfaces. You’ll have one of two stone types:

Calcareous stone will require you to be more cautious when using it as a countertop material.

You’ll want to be careful of acidic foods or drinks because the acid can cause the stone’s surface to become dull or etched.

However, some general rules of thumb for both types of surfaces are:

  • Avoid placing hot items right on the material
  • Use placements to prevent scratches
  • Remove standing water from the stone if used outdoors
  • Place runners or carpet in entryways if the stone is used for flooring to prevent slipping

You’ll also want to be cautious when cleaning stone. Certain cleaning products and methods may damage the stone.

For example, you do not want to use any of the following cleaners on your natural stone:

  • Abrasive cleaners
  • Acidic products, such as lemon juice or vinegar
  • Worn vacuum cleaners that may scratch and damage flooring

Acidic products are a major concern, especially if you’re using them on certain materials, such as marble, onyx, travertine or limestone, all of which can be damaged by the acid.

So, What Should You Be Doing to Maintain Your Stone?

Dust off the stone often and clean it with either stone soap or a mild detergent.

Rinse the surface with just water after using a cleanser and blot it dry to ensure that no chemicals from the cleaner are left behind.

If you have a stone countertop, you can clean it with some mild dish detergent and a soft sponge.

Abrasive sponges can scratch the stone and permanently damage it, so be careful to use a soft sponge for best results.

Outdoor stones will require inspections to ensure that there are no structural defects, movement or staining.

Outdoor stones can deteriorate and require additional care to keep them in tip-top shape.

Depending on the type of stone and the manufacturer’s recommendations, you may be able to buff the stone if there are stains.

Finally, you’ll want to seal the stone.

Sealing Natural Stone

Every stone will have its own sealing requirements.

You’ll want to research your specific stone’s sealing requirements because they will differ for something like marble or granite.

You’ll need to follow the sealant’s recommendations.

You’ll find:

  • Topical sealers
  • Impregnators

Installers will recommend the right sealer because if you use the wrong product, it can stain the material or may even react with any resin that was used on the stone.


When you purchase your stone, be sure to ask the seller what maintenance and care recommendations that you should follow.

However, if you follow the basic tips above, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your stone in pristine condition for years to come.

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