Post-hurricane care and cleaning of natural stone

Andrea Antunes McGilton


Post-hurricane care and cleaning of natural stone

If you have granite or natural stone countertops or floors, you made a good choice that stood up well to Hurricane Matthew. Stone has proven its durability over the centuries and it's no different now.

However, you might need to contact a stone professional if you have marble or other surfaces that were affected, or sitting water that damaged some surfaces.

If your lower cabinets need to be replaced, the existing stone countertops should fit just fine if all dimensions are the same.

Here are some Do's and Don'ts from the Marble Institute of America for caring for your stone:

  • Do dust mop floors frequently.
  • Do clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap.
  • Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface with clean, clear water after washing.
  • Do blot up spills immediately.
  • Do protect floor surfaces with non-slip mats or area rugs and countertop surfaces with coasters, trivets or placemats.
  • 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 cleanser, grout cleaners, or tub and tile cleaners.
  • Don't use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
  • Don't mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas.
  • Don't use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels might scratch the stone's surface.

To seal or not? The type of stone, its finish, and location and how it is maintained all need to be considered when determining how to protect your stone.

In some cases it makes sense to seal the stone. Once properly sealed, the stone will be protected against everyday dirt and spills. In other cases, it is best to leave the stone untreated. Topical sealers can alter the surface texture and finish as well as build up on the surface, creating a layer that is less durable than the stone.

As always, consult your professional stone supplier for advice and guidance on enhancing and preserving your stone surfaces.

Andrea Antunes McGilton is project manager at Distinctive Granite and Marble, with showrooms in Okatie; Lady's Island; Pooler, Ga., and on Hilton Head Island.