Why It’s Important to Regularly Clean Natural Stone Surfaces
With its rustic beauty and durability, natural stone has become a popular choice for a wide range of surfaces — inside and outside the home. From kitchen countertops, flooring, walls and outdoor pavers, natural stone is a smart investment to beautify just about any space in any home. Now make sure you’re protecting that investment by regularly cleaning and caring for your natural stone surfaces.
Natural Stone — Beautiful but Porous
The type of natural stone used in homes is quarried straight from the source (namely, the earth), without anything added to it. Over the course of time, natural stone is formed by subterranean heat and pressure to create the beautiful, durable material that appeals to so many homeowners. Common examples of natural stone include granite, limestone, sandstone, marble and travertine — each with different colorations, markings, as well as levels of porosity and durability.
In general, natural stone is porous, meaning the material is full of tiny holes. These holes allow water and other liquids to pass through the stone — which can in turn leave the stone vulnerable to staining, etching and eventual breakdown. Moisture trapped inside those tiny holes can also cause something called efflorescence, creating a white powder that forms on and stains the surface of the stone.
The porous nature of natural stone also provides an ideal breeding ground for all manner of microorganisms, including bacteria, microalgae, mold and mildew.1 In fact, researchers have found 362 different species of bacteria thriving in granite countertops.2 Yuck is right. As bacteria and mildew spread throughout the porous stone, those microorganisms can thrive, fester and become a health hazard.
Now consider how much activity a home’s natural stone surfaces see on any given day. Take a kitchen granite countertop, for example. In addition to providing a surface for food preparation that can leave behind bacteria and contaminants (hello, raw poultry), countertops are a popular spot for setting down dirty dishes, doing homework, placing bookbags, tossing keys, getting a wipe down with a less-than-sanitary sponge, and coming into contact with all sorts of items that bring with them all sorts of germs. Makes you look at those beautiful stone surfaces a little differently, doesn’t it?
Caring for Natural Stone Surfaces
Because of its porous nature, natural stone requires regular cleaning and care to not only get rid of contaminants and potentially harmful germs, but also to preserve its natural beauty and durability. To help protect your natural stone countertops from contamination and damage, use cutting boards rather than prepare food directly on the surface. And be sure to clean the surface before and after food prepping. When cleaning natural stone surfaces yourself, it’s important to make sure you’re using stone-safe cleaning products that won’t damage the natural stone. Vinegar, for example, will kill pathogens in the stone’s pores but can also cause etching on the surface.
Your recommended care regimen for your natural stone surfaces should also include regular polishing and sealing to prevent water, liquid, bacteria and fungi from penetrating the tiny holes in the surface. This will help the stone last longer, maintain its natural color and texture, while also keeping it more sanitary and easier to clean. Sealing natural stone surfaces additionally creates a barrier to keep out oil, grease and other substances that may also leave behind unsightly stains.
Professional Cleaning for Natural Stone
Your best bet to protect your natural stone surfaces as well as your healthy home environment, is to call in specially trained professionals who know how best to care for and clean natural stone. At COIT, we employ a proven, multi-step method to ensure your natural stone retains its original shine and beauty, while also making sure it provides a sanitary surface for you and your family.
First, COIT Pros use lab-developed and field-tested advanced solutions strong enough to remove the most stubborn and embedded grease, dirt, grime and other contaminants without damaging the stone’s surface. This deep-cleaning process also eliminates microbes hiding inside the tiny pores. Using specialized honing pads and compounds, our technicians carefully hone the natural stone to remove scratches, etching and other signs of wear. COIT techs then seal the stone to protect against future staining and liquid penetration, and polish the stone to restore and revive its shine.
The result is a beautiful, like-new natural stone surface that contributes to a healthier home environment and lasts longer. Let us show you how to bring your natural stone surfaces back to life. Schedule your natural stone cleaning today.