How Did Ancient Cultures Keep Their Stone Surfaces Clean?

Ancient stone care and cleaning
You can tell a lot about a culture by their cleaning practices. While we can’t travel back in time to quiz ancient civilizations about their spring-cleaning routines, we can examine the clues they left behind. Luckily, some substances are malleable enough for ancient cultures to leave their mark — but enduring enough to have made it to modern-day times. By looking at how people have treated their natural-stone pieces over time, we can learn a lot about humanity’s history — and about the properties of natural-stone surfaces. To a certain extent, there’s a lot of wisdom we can draw from in the cleaning practices of cultures past. However, we don’t live in the Stone Ages anymore. Now, we have better options for natural-stone care — options that can make our beautiful stone surfaces last. Combining centuries of stone-care expertise with modern-day tech innovations can result in an easy, reliable and science-backed way to keep our stone surfaces shining come spring, year-in and year-out.

Scrubbing, Scouring and Wishful Thinking: The Spring Cleaning and Stone Care Routines of Ancient Cultures

As it turns out, a quick perusal of historic stone-care regimens shows that modernity is a very good time for maintaining stone (and general hygiene) well. For example, the ancient Romans socialized, relaxed and practiced some level of personal hygiene in stone structures called public baths. Unfortunately, even though these facilities, which were often made of marble, received a lot of heat, moisture and direct human contact, they rarely received a thorough cleaning. Bath visitors would scrape off their bodily oils, dirt and sweat and flick them onto the nearby stone surfaces. This collection of oils would leave a natural sheen on the stone. For many centuries, this was the extent of “cleaning” that the gorgeous marble structures received. Ancient pottery remains show us that the Babylonians had engineered a rudimentary soap used to clean their surrounding surfaces. In medieval times, scullery maids would sometimes care for stone floors by sweeping up the rushes they used to mitigate unpleasant aromas before using harsh lye soap to scrub up dirt and grime. By the 19th Century, humanity had at least realized that some level of attention (and elbow grease) was necessary. One home-keeping magazine from 1864 mentions a very work-intensive routine for maintaining stone floors: “Over any grease spots, rub a mixture of soap and sand. Rub this in with a stout floor cloth or scrub-bro; then, sprinkle clean river sand over the floor, pour on hot soap suds, and scrub perseveringly.” That type of gritty, focused pressure undoubtedly wore away the stone surfaces, etched them to an incredible extent and made it difficult to keep their floors looking nice at all. Today, we have tools that have helped us realize that natural stone is neither as impervious nor as impermeable as past cultures have believed. While ancient people tended to think that rock was a substance that didn’t require daily care, now we know better. Natural stones like granite, marble, travertine and others are porous and susceptible to damage. Common soap is harsher than past cultures may have thought — as are DIY solutions with vinegar and other acidic substances. To coax a long-lasting luster from your stone, you need to give it a little targeted TLC — and the right type of products.

Modern Cleaning Techniques and Technology Allows us to Care for Stone in the Best Way Possible

Fortunately, we don’t have to scour our stone as our 1800’s predecessors did. Instead, modern times tell us that the best way for you to care for your stone is a 3-step process that includes cleaning, sealing and polishing. That’s why we created the Granite Gold® brand of premium stone care and maintenance products nearly 20 years ago. Prior to that, there really wasn’t anything readily available for consumers; what few there were didn’t perform well and left residue and streaks. So, we tinkered in our garage and produced safe, easy-to-use formulas for all natural-stone and quartz surfaces – from countertops and backsplashes to floors, showers, baths, grout and patios. Our Stone Care Experts have three generations of stone-care expertise at the ready to make your cleaning routine easy. Call our friendly team at 1-800-475-7866 with your questions today!

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