Stone is a popular choice for indoor flooring as it offers a great visual appeal – different types of stone are available in a variety of colours, shapes and textured finishes meaning that no two floors are identical. All types of stone are also highly durable substances which mean they will last for years and are relatively low maintenance and mostly suitable for all locations (although in some cases not – such as limestone in areas where spillages are common – kitchens and bathrooms).
Basic stone cleaning begins with protection, so once a floor has been cleaned, a good quality sealant should be applied to the surface of the tiles and the grout. The surface needs to be protected from surface scratching so take care when moving heavy objects and with dirt walked in on the soles of your shoes. Regular sweeping and vacuuming should remove the majority of this.
Cleaning itself is relatively simple, but needs to be done regularly to be effective. Most people take a quick look at the floor, note nothing obvious and just leave it – which will allow layers of dust, grime and bacteria to build up over time and can lead to staining and dis-colouring which can be difficult to deal with.
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Once the floor has been swept and vacuumed, you really only need to use a mop and some warm water, although it is usually wise to use a little detergent to shift any surface marks that are present. Mopping the floor and rinsing regularly should do the trick, leaving you with a wait for the floor to dry (which can take time on a cold or humid day). If you wish to use a cleaning product, you should probably consult a stone cleaning specialist as certain products can stain or mark natural stone – especially if they contain acid or bleach.
Spillages are the enemy of stone floors and need to be avoided wherever possible. Stone floors are not so common in places where spillages are likely, but in any case a spillage should be cleaned up as soon as it happens to avoid the possibility of staining. This is not always possible, and young children and pets will certainly not advise in the case of spillages or ‘accidents’ so care needs to be taken to check there is nothing on the floor whenever possible.
Once the floor has been thoroughly cleaned, it is a good idea to re-apply sealant whenever you can. If the floor has been carefully looked after this will not need to be done so often, but every couple of months mopping on a new sealant will certainly aid your cleaning efforts.
If you notice a stain you cannot shift or an uneven or dull appearance it is possible the surface or grout may have become stained, and you may need to contact a stone cleaning company which will be able to utilize modern techniques to restore your floor to its original state.