Home & Garden

Tips to maintain the beauty of your home’s stone surfaces

After blotting spills on granite countertops, dry with a soft cloth

(StatePoint) — Natural stone is one of the hottest trends in home decor. According to a 2012 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, three-quarters of homeowners who intend to remodel their kitchens in the next two years would like to install granite countertops.

“Granite and marble countertops and floors add beauty and value to any home,” says Garen Distelhorst, communications director at the Marble Institute of America. “But to get the longest life and preserve the beauty of natural stone, homeowners should be sure they understand how to properly maintain their product.”

The Marble Institute of America offers homeowners these maintenance tips:

• Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices.

• While many stones can withstand heat, use trivets or mats under hot serving dishes for added protection.

• Dust mop interior floors frequently, using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit are abrasive and can damage natural stone.

• Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that may scratch the stone floor. The underside of the mat or rug should be a slip resistant surface.

• When vacuuming, be sure the metal or plastic attachments and wheels are not worn, as they can scratch the surface of some stones.

• When spills occur, blot, don’t wipe. Flush the area with water and mild soap. Rinse several times, changing the rinse water frequently. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth.

• Many suppliers offer products used for stone cleaning, however you can always use a neutral cleaner, or mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water.

• In the bath or other wet areas, use a squeegee after each use to minimize soap scum. Remove soap scum using a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of 1/2 cup of ammonia to a gallon of water. Use sparingly, as over-use of ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of some stone types.

• Remove algae or moss in outdoor pools, patios and hot tub areas by using a mild bleach solution and flushing with clear water.

For more maintenance tips, or to find a qualified stone company, visit marbleinstitute.com.