Cleaning your stone flooring before Christmas

One of the benefits of installing natural stone is its ability to withstand the external environment and in many cases, the material continues to get better with age. However, as with any exterior surface, natural stone flooring is often faced with dirt and debris particularly in high traffic areas. If the stone is not well maintained, algae, mildew or moss can also infiltrate the surface.

Cleaning and sealing is an essential step in protecting the beauty and ensuring the longevity of any stone flooring. This will reduce the likelihood of unsightly and stubborn stains, as well as help keep the maintenance of your natural stone to a minimum.

If you have sealed your stone flooring, you may still benefit from a  good clean every now and then to improve the appearance of your entire outdoor space.

Stone cleaning tips for your Christmas gatherings

If you’re hosting a Christmas gathering outdoors this summer and your stone floor is looking a little worse for wear, try these cleaning tips:

  1. Sweep away any excess dirt and grime with a broom.
  2. Use a pH-neutral cleaner and liberally apply it to the stone’s surface in manageable sections.
  3. With a stiff broom or a nylon pad such as Doodlebug by 3m, gently agitate the surface to lift the dirt.
  4. With a squeegee, remove the residue from the surface. A wet-vac can also be used.

Tips to manage spills and stains

Spills are often inevitable when you entertain, especially a large crowd. Installing the best stone for your application and sealing it upon installation is the best way you can avoid unsightly stains on your stone surface. For general management of spills and stains, try these cleaning tips:

  1. Blot the spills up immediately with paper towel or a soft cloth.  Avoid wiping the spill as this can cause it to spread.
  2. wash the affected area with clean water and a mild soap solution. A household detergent may be the best cleaning product to remove organic stains such as those from food or leaf matter.
  3. Repeat the rinse several times.
  4. Dry the affected area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat again if necessary.

To avoid stains from general garden debris, keep your stone area swept often. This will prevent the leaf matter, moss and mould from penetrating the stone and staining the surface.

*Treatment of your stain will depend on the cause. Some organic stains (food, leaf matter, moss) can be cleaned using a common detergent or household bleach. Inorganic stains (rust, paint, copper, chemical) may require a stronger cleaning solution. It is recommended you consult with a cleaning and sealing specialist before using any harsh chemicals on your stone.

What to avoid when cleaning stone

Never use acidic cleaning products on your natural stone flooring whether you’re cleaning the entire surface or spot cleaning. Acidic cleaners can disturb the finish and compromise the quality of the stone. Abrasive cleaning products can be problematic also.

Avoid strong cleaning products unless recommended by your sealing professional as they may strip the sealant or grout. Oil-based cleaning agents should also be steer cleared of as they can cause the surface to become slippery and affect the natural texture of the stone.

*For best results, we recommend you seek the help and advice of a professional before using any cleaning products on your stone. Speak to one of the Eco Outdoor team for recommended cleaning and sealing contractors. They will also be able to provide valuable advice on stone maintenance.