Why You Should Never Use Vinegar on Granite & How to Clean Other Natural Stone Surfaces

Read time: 7 mins

Many homeowners are unsure about the correct products and methods for cleaning different types of stone surfaces. A common question we get is, 'Can you use vinegar on granite?' This highlights a larger issue—using the wrong cleaner can cause significant damage to countertops, floors, and other stone features. 

It's crucial to understand that not all cleaning solutions are suitable for every type of stone. Relying on a single method for cleaning all the stone in your home can lead to costly regrets. 

Find out the RIGHT way to care for each type of stone surface with insights from the COIT team of stone cleaning technicians below. 

Contact COIT for a professional cleaning!

How to Clean Granite

While granite is a strong stone with tight grain, it must be cleaned with caution. If you use the wrong products, the surface shine can be damaged and will require repair in the future. 

Can You Use Vinegar on Granite Countertops?

No, you cannot use vinegar on granite countertops. A common cleaning myth is that vinegar is a go-to solution for everything due to its natural disinfectant properties. However, when it comes to granite countertops, the answer is a firm no. Vinegar is acidic and it can etch the surface of granite, dulling its shine and damaging its protective sealant. 

Why Vinegar is Harmful to Granite

Although granite is a hard and durable stone, it’s not impervious to acidic substances. Vinegar, lemon juice, and other acidic cleaners can cause microscopic damage to the surface. Over time, this leads to a lackluster appearance and can make the granite more susceptible to staining. It's crucial to understand the chemistry behind your cleaning supplies to prevent unintentional damage to your stone surfaces.

Safe Cleaning Alternatives for Granite

To keep your granite countertops in pristine condition, stick to a gentle, pH-neutral dish soap diluted in water and use a soft cloth for wiping down the surfaces. Microfiber is ideal for this purpose as it's effective at trapping dirt and grease without scratching the stone. 

For a deeper clean or disinfection, there are commercial granite cleaners formulated to safely cleanse without harming the sealant or the stone itself.

Routine Maintenance Tips

Regularly sealing your granite countertops is essential to protect them against stains and etches. 

While daily cleaning with appropriate products will maintain their shine and cleanliness, professional sealing is recommended every one to two years, depending on the level of use and the stone’s porosity. 

Always promptly wipe up spills, especially acidic substances like wine or coffee, to prevent potential staining.

The Right Care for Granite

At COIT, we understand the unique needs of different stone surfaces. Granite is a beautiful and durable stone, making it a popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms but it requires specific care to maintain its appearance. 

By avoiding acidic cleaners like vinegar and following proper cleaning and maintenance routines, your granite surfaces can remain stunning for years to come. If you’re unsure about the current condition of your granite or need professional cleaning and sealing, our team of experts is here to help restore and protect your investment.

How to Clean Marble

Marble floors and surfaces must be cleaned correctly,or they will be left looking dingy or scratched. Never use acidic cleaners on marble. No matter how many DIY sites advise the use of vinegar/water as your cleaner – don’t do it. 

Marble is a porous stone, and when cleaning, every drop of water must be removed or it can seep into the grain and leave an ugly stain. Never use commercial granite cleaner on marble or you could damage your floors or countertops. Use only non-abrasive cleaning tools on marble as it can scratch. Before starting your cleaning, thoroughly sweep away all dust, dirt, and debris. 

First, clean the floor with pure water, which can be sprayed and wiped away to remove any remaining dirt. Your best option is using a (non-citrus) pH-neutral dish soap and clean, warm water. Rinse the cleaning cloth frequently in another bucket of clean water, replacing it when it becomes dirty. After cleaning, mop again with clear water. 

Once complete, you must remove all water immediately. Use a thick towel so no drops or streaks are left. If your marble floors or surfaces have been scratched, stained, or damaged, our stone cleaning technicians at COIT can help you restore them to a beautiful gleaming shine, including adding a critical sealant that will protect it for the long term.

How to Clean Travertine

Travertine is a porous stone and is a popular choice in homes as it is beautiful and available in a range of colors. It is often chosen for floors, walls, cabinets, backsplashes, in bathrooms, stairs, countertops and other areas in the home -- including outdoors. It is tough, and less costly than marble. 

Although it has all these positive features, travertine is prone to being damaged if not treated correctly in cleaning. Ensure travertine is sealed before it is installed. As it is permeable, without the sealant it can stain or even develop mold growth. 

Travertine must be cleaned frequently, and generally should be cleaned with plain water. Never use a very wet mop, but just a slightly dampened one, as you want to avoid any water seeping into the pores of the stone. Any acidic cleaners (including vinegar) can stain the tiles. 

Always sop up any spills quickly so the floor doesn’t get stained. One of the critical points in keeping travertine looking beautiful is to ensure it is professionally cleaned periodically. 

At COIT, we use the correct cleaning products and processes for travertine specifically – and re-seal the floors as the final step. If your travertine floors have developed scratches, stains, or look dull, we can bring them back to life. 

How to Clean Slate

Slate is a popular stone used in homes, from floors to fireplaces, and other features – but it must be cleaned properly or it can be damaged. 

Always sweep away surface dust, dirt, and debris prior to cleaning, and then dust mop for the final removal. Steam cleaning can be a good option for slate tiles, if you own a steam cleaner. If not, use warm water and a non-acidic cleaner. 

The problem with tiles is often the grout. Cleaning the grout is important in keeping your floors looking great, but abrasives can damage the stone, so you have a two-part cleaning job ahead of you. Grout cleaner must be applied with a tiny brush (toothbrush) and used carefully. 

You can try commercial slate cleaners, but always test the product in a hidden area before use. A simple cleaning solution is simply warm water with mild dish soap. Keep two buckets, and frequently rinse the mop in clean water so you are not just spreading the dirt on your floors. Rinse with a clean mop and clean water, and ensure the floor is completely dry before walking on it. 

If it is stained, scratched, or the sealant needs to be restored, you can turn the problem over to the COIT technicians, who clean slate and grout properly, leaving the floor looking splendid. 

COIT Stone Cleaners: We Do It Right.

Our team of stone cleaners will treat every stone correctly and have an array of specially formulated cleaning products for various types of stone, tile, and grout. 

Our process is extremely thorough, and involves the following steps:

  • Prepare the Stone: We prepare the area for deep cleaning and mask any areas that should not be treated.
  • Pre-seal: This is necessary for certain types of stone to keep the surface as dry as possible.
  • Honing: We hone the stone surface to remove any scratches, etching, or wear marks.
  • Polish: After thoroughly honing the stone so flaws are removed, we polish the stone features with specialized machines and compounds to restore the original shine.
  • Sealing: We then seal the stone with one or more coats of specially-formulated sealants, and buff the stone so it looks beautiful, smooth, and gleaming – and is protected for longer.

Call COIT today for professional stone cleaning – we do the job right and offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. We know the business of stone cleaning!

Contact COIT for a professional cleaning!

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