Is It Safe to Use Soap & Water When Cleaning Natural Stone?
The combination of soap and water makes for one of the most common household cleaning mixtures, but it cannot be recommended for cleaning natural stone surfaces. Despite having gone through millions of years and heavy geological processes of formation, natural stone such as marble, granite, and travertine won’t react well to many of the substances that make up common household cleaning products.
Why Can’t You Use Soap and Water When Cleaning Natural Stone?
To understand why soap and water shouldn’t be used when cleaning natural-stone floors, countertops, and other surfaces, it helps to learn the effect of the mixture on natural stone.
The scaling stains that form on faucet fixtures and around drains are caused by hard water, a phenomenon that results from the high mineral content of calcium and magnesium in carbonic acid form. Limescale is the chalky buildup of hard water minerals, and it can certainly happen when using soap and water to clean natural stone. White marble is particularly sensitive to limescale stains. In the United States, the Geological Survey estimates that more than 80 percent of households receive hard water sanitized by local utilities. Soft water is mostly found in New England communities.
High Acidity Levels
Acidity is the main problem posed by common household cleaning products, including soaps and detergents. Since natural stone is naturally metamorphic, it can be expected to chemically react when exposed to acidic substances. The modern soap-making process involves transforming fatty acids into sodium or potassium salts. Therefore, they usually end up with high concentrations of hydrogen ions when mixed with water, which means they have a high measurement on the pH scale. While human skin can easily handle pH levels between 9 and 10, the same cannot be said about natural stone, which may react in unpredictable ways. High acidity is the reason you shouldn’t use vinegar to clean natural stone even though you can safely use it on ceramic surfaces.
Protecting the Seal on Natural Stone
Sealing is an important part of the natural stone finishing process. It should be applied upon installation and should be repeated at frequent intervals. This seal is what protects the natural stone from the previously mentioned acidic substances as well as other types of damage. To determine how often granite sealer should be applied, make a water puddle of about three inches in diameter in various spots on your stone tiles or counters. If a dark ring forms at the edges within 30 minutes, you’ll know it’s time for sealing.
Natural-Stone Cleaner Is the Best Option
Some homeowners don’t know how to clean granite and other types of natural stone. Instead of household cleaners or soap and water, you should only use natural-stone cleaner because it’s specially formulated for this purpose. Granite Gold Daily Cleaner® will keep surfaces looking like new without compromising the seal, even when used on a daily basis. The benefits of cleaning can be complemented with regular sealant applications. Reach out to Granite Gold® today if you have any additional questions about caring for marble, granite, travertine, and other types of natural stone.
If you have quartz surfaces in your home, Granite Gold® also offers a specially formulated quartz and Corian cleaner. Call 1-800-475-STONE (7866) to speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives. If you’re on Facebook, make sure to like our Granite Gold® Facebook page for additional stone and quartz care tips.