We muddled through a bleak winter in some regions. We’ve spent a winter hunkered down indoors with the heater on.
Now, spring is nipping at our heels. It is time to leave the cold, deeper hues of winter behind. And take on the spring-inspired cleaning tasks to get your garden, pathway, and driveway surfaces into better conditions.
Following the same template, Laura Gaskill and her family are busy with natural stones spring cleaning and maintenance tasks right every morning. Someone knocked on the door. It was Shawn Gauthier, a design enthusiast, and a friend of Laura came by to see her. He saw how difficult it was to maintain the garden. After exchanging greetings, Venessa, Laura’s daughter, explains the plan of spring-cleaning maintenance. She was eager to absorb some spring cleaning tips from Shawn.
Shawn had picked her thoughts and immediately nodded his head in agreement. I will share all the tips that Shawn gave her the other day:
Before uttering any words, Shawn has given us some useful links to blog posts pertaining to natural stone cleaning and maintenance. I hope these links prove useful to all homeowners alike.
- 10 best cleaning & maintenance tips for natural stones in 2019
- 8 ways to choose the right products for cleaning your natural stone paving
- 7 common mistakes to avoid when cleaning natural stone surfaces
- 8 ways to clean natural stone walkway
- 8 landscaping maintenance tips for your backyard in 2021
- 5 ways to prevent weed growth between paving stones
Natural Stone Pavers Collection
Tip No.1 – You Must Prepare Your Tools for Natural Stone Spring Cleaning
Shawn said, “A few right accouterments make your spring cleaning a little more inspired.” She handed over a brief list of essential tools for the natural stone spring cleaning endeavor.
- Cross Apron. Wearing a criss-cross apron saves your clothes to get dirty during the entire spring-cleaning process.
- Large and small metal mop buckets. Inevitable to carry water for mopping and other cleanings of natural stones in your landscape.
- Extra fine and coarse steel wool pads. Different types of stones require smooth to coarse rubs to remove the light from deep stains.
- Extra cleaning clothes for dry and wet cleaning.
- Vacuum cleaner. For fast and automated cleaning, also saves you from getting back pains while dealing with large patios, decks, long driveways, and walkways.
- Dust brushes. Feather dusters are fun to use and awesome in deep dusting in grouts, furrows, and cracks in natural stones.
- Brooms. Perhaps the crème de la crème of brushes. An Italian broom is made of horsehair and looks elegant in tri-colors. You can go for plastic brooms too for outdoor spring cleaning.
- Dustpans. If you look for rugged and industrial appeal, aluminum large dustpans are a great choice. Otherwise, plastic dustpans are common.
- Dustpan brush. Wish a vintage natural fiber dust brush? It is okay with interior natural stone cleaning. Plastic fibers are fine for outdoor spring cleaning.
- Eraser sponge. It melts the soap scum off the walls and stone tiles of the floors in wet areas outdoors as well as baths indoors.
- Pressure washer. When you DIY do-it-yourself believer, you must have a power-operated pressure washer to accomplish your job with a deadline.
Tip No.2 – You Must Prepare Chemicals for Natural Stone Spring Cleaning
Now, Shawn had made a memorable statement, “The best and most important chemical for all cleaning is the water.” Yes, plain water is versatile to use like a simple drain, wet clothes, wet mops, and slow to fast water jets.
If you think standard detergent powder or solutions commonly available in grocery stores are safe, you’re absolutely wrong here. Reason? Acidic or alkaline pH that can interact with minerals in natural stone surface and mass.
So, avoid hydrochloride (HCl) or sulphuric acids (H2 SO4) and ammonia-like damaging products. Similarly, bleaching solutions also contain chlorides which are harmful to natural stones. If you think of mixing ammonia and bleach, don’t do it, as these solutions are of opposite pH and can create fatal fumes upon mixing.
Many think vinegar, lemon juice, and similar organic and natural cleaners are safe to use on natural stones, they are wrong. Any acidic or Alkaline products can damage your stone tiles.
They know the brand names of cleaning products with neutral pH & Many companies offer natural stone type-specific cleaning products with detailed instructions of use.
- Patio & deck cleaner
- Grime remover
- Crease & oil remover
- Efflorescence remover
- Algae remover
- Cleaning products for siliceous stones like granite, quartzite, and slate stones.
- Cleaning products for calcareous stones, such as limestone, marbles, and travertine.
Tip No.3 – Dos & Don’ts in Natural Stone Spring Cleaning for Sandstone
Most sandstone varieties are porous in nature. It needs sealing during the installation process. To protect the sealants on the surfaces and within the mass, you must avoid acidic and basic solutions for wet or dry cleaning.
For dust, a dry mop or brush is the best tool. Some surfaces in interior areas of a building simply need dry cloth cleaning once a day to prevent the accumulation of dust and dirt particles.
Once or twice a week apply clean water with a wet mop or jet spray to bring freshness in look-n-feel of sandstone slabs, tiles, or accessories. For interior sandstone surfaces, you can use warm water to get superb results. But don’t do it daily. Otherwise, it will weaken your surface sealants.
For tough stains, you can apply commercially available sandstone-specific or calcareous stone-specific products in the market. Amazon and other eCommerce stores have superb offerings.
Tip No.4 – Dos & Don’ts in Natural Stone Spring Cleaning for Granite Stones
Like sandstone, granite stones are calcareous types of rocks. However, many granite varieties have different intensities of pores.
It means granites also have sealants applied at the time of installation. You have to take all precautions we have described in the case of sandstone cleaning to protect that layer of sealants.
Tip No.5 – Dos & Don’ts in Natural Stone Spring Cleaning for Limestone & Soapstone
Limestone is containing calcium carbonate compounds in its structure. So, avoid any acidic or alkaline solution or product to clean limestone pavers or tiles on the walls.
For soapstone in particular, apart from standard cleaning procedures of dry and wet cleaning, you must use mineral oil products.
After installation, during the first year, you should rub soapstone surfaces with mineral oil every couple of weeks to help the stone to oxidize evenly. It will darken the appearance of soapstone.
For tough stains, you can use poultices for limestones and normal sandpaper is enough for soapstone.
Tip No.6 – Dos & Don’ts in Natural Stone Spring Cleaning for Marble & Travertine Stones
Marbles are the most beautiful types of natural stones used in main interior spaces and seldom in outdoor applications with honed rough finishes.
Marbles are extremely soft and sensitive stone types. So, take care of staining due to spills and metal rust. If it happens accidentally, try to remove spills & rusts immediately you notice it.
Travertine is similar to marble but due to their different origin and composition, they are suitable for outdoor applications. You have to take precautions the same goes with marble and limestone.
Otherwise, you have to go for marble poultices to remove deep stains. It is due to the highly porous nature of marble stones. You can use a soft cloth or sponge with warm water to remove light permanent stains.
Stay away from abrasive cleaners, lime juice, and vinegar-like cleaner to clean marble surfaces. Apply appropriate marble sealants once a year or as per recommendation by stone experts.
Tip No.7 – Dos & Don’ts in Natural Stone Spring Cleaning for Slate Stones
Slate seems gorgeous and rustic in appearance but proves a disaster on cleaning. Why? Thanks to many nooks and uneven surfaces of slate stone in natural cleft finishes.
The penetrating sealers are great remedies to protect the slate stones from spills and staining. For minor stains, you can use warm water or slate-specific cleaners to get its glory back.
For regular cleaning, you can use soft clothes, soft sponges, and wet mops to beat everyday dirt & dust.
Tip No.8 – Dos & Don’ts in Natural Stone Spring Cleaning for Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles
- Apply dry-cleaning tactics first to remove surface dust and dirt. Dry cloth, brush with soft bristles, mop, and vacuum cleaner are advisable tools.
- Wet mopping or mild water jet is excellent for wet cleaning.
- Neutral-pH cleaners specially made for ceramics or porcelain tiles are the best way to remove stubborn debris.
- Stay away from various home remedies containing acidic or alkaline pH solutions.
Tip No.9 – How to Deal with Natural Stone Spring Cleaning for Patios, Decks & Stepping Stones?
During harsh winter days, we used to avoid going to the swimming pool, arrange outdoor parties on patios, or usage of other outdoor areas.
Our negligence to outdoor areas turns into the accumulation of dirt, dust, debris, and growth of weeds in grouts particularly.
With spring cleaning, we make all outdoor areas alive again. Therefore, outdoor spring cleaning becomes a big campaign for the entire do-it-yourself enthusiasts.
Extensive dry cleaning with heavy mops and vacuum cleaners becomes mandatory. The same goes for wet cleaning and it should be vigorous enough to bring the glamor or natural stone back.
Now, spring is time to fill grouts, cracks, and repair broken stones. You can apply stone-specific sealants to make stones shine again.
Tip No.10 – Why Sealing Is Essential During Natural Stone Spring Cleaning?
Lastly, my daughter has asked a critical question to Ms. Shawn about why we should redo grout filling each year? Shawn replied that during snowing in winter and raining, a freeze-thaw cycle takes place and becomes the cause of cracks in grouts, which are often filled with either mortar or synthetic solution.
Moreover, our frequent dry-wet mopping and vacuum cleaning become the causes of wear & tear effect on the grout materials. The same goes for sealants. That’s why we grab the opportunity during spring cleaning tasks and refill the grouts and apply the penetrating as well as surface sealants to extend the functional life of natural stones and keep their appearance for centuries!