Care and Consideration
Fine natural stone should receive the same attention given to fine wood. Coasters should be placed under glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acid. Marble is an alkaline material and acid will eat into or "etch" the stone. Spills of any type should be wiped up immediately. Hot plates should be used under heated dishes. Place mats or felt bottoms should be placed under china, ceramics, silver and furniture to prevent scratching of the stone.
The best way to keep your new or old stone lovely is to keep it clean. If natural stone is given proper care, it should sustain its beauty and durability. Ordinary dust particles in the air can settle on the stone surface, and can be ground in by foot traffic, and slowly remove the natural polish on the stone's surface.
Natural stone should be washed regularly with fresh warm water and a clean, non-abrasive cloth. Adding a neutral (pH balanced) cleaner will help to remove topical dirt and grime. Some stone cleaners have a petroleum or animal fat base which may alter the appearance of your stone. These may darken the stone and leave a residue that may buildup and turn yellow. Artistic Marble and Granite recommends using GranQuartz brand 3-In-1 Spray cleaner. It is USDA approved for food preparation surfaces, offers no build-up and can be used on any non-walking surface. 3-In-1 also resists water spots and stains can also be used on brass, stainless steel and chrome.
General Poultice Method is a special cleaning procedure for removal of deep-seated stains, grit and grime which regular cleaning does not remove. The poultice is mixed into a paste-like medium and concentrates it's efforts over a period of time by drawing the stain out of the marble into the poultice. The cleaning agent used can vary from water, acetone or bleach, but the use of bleach may make the spot appear cleaner than the rest of the surface, and cleaning the entire area may be the only way to achieve a uniform look again.
Poultice can be mixed with various liquid additives such as water, a neutral cleaner, bleach, acetone and various others, forming a paste the consistency of oatmeal. Figure about a pound per square foot of material. Apply the paste with a wood or plastic spatula to a uniform thickness of about 1/2". Tape a plastic sheet over the area to retain moisture, and allow to set for 24-48 hours. Remove the poultice with a wood or plastic spatula and rinse with clean water. Blot excess and allow to dry. Several applications may be necessary depending on the specific stain.
Organic stains caused by food, tea, coffee, tobacco, flowers, bird or animal droppings may be treated with a poultice of liquid hydrogen peroxide in 6% hair-bleaching solution. Urine stains should be attacked with a strong chlorine bleach poultice additive.
Oil stains will darken the stone, and are caused by butter, cream, salad oils, cosmetics or mustard for example. In order to remove this type of stain, an acetone or solvent poultice should be used. Make sure the solvent is pH balanced as to not affect the finish of the stone. Make sure there is adequate ventilation, and if uncertain about this procedure, let Artistic Marble and Granite perform a professional cleaning/restoration for you.
Rust stains are caused by metallic objects such as steel wool, nails, flower pots, cans, etc. in the presence of moisture. Superficial stains may be removed by vigorous scrubbing with a non-abrasive material and neutral cleaner. Seated stains are often affected by the application of a commercial "Naval Jelly" or "Rust Remover" that is neither high in acid or alkaline. Follow manufacturer's directions carefully.
Etch marks can be caused by high acidity substances such as orange juice, vinegar, wine, beer, tomato products, mustard, carbonated beverages, ink and salad dressing, as well as soaps excessively high in alkaline. These etch marks are damage to the surface of the stone that reduces its' shine. The stone has a polished surface because after it is cut, it is polished with silicon carbide or diamond abrasives that are finer and finer until the pores of the stone are virtually closed, which does not allow light to be absorbed by the material, thus giving it a shiny appearance. If etching occurs, the pores are opened again, causing the light to be absorbed by the stone and giving it a dull look. Minor etch marks can be hidden temporarily with a high gloss sealer, but keep in mind that this will need to be maintained. Severe etch marks can be repolished with diamond sanding equipment. If more than a few etch marks appear, you may want to consider having the surface professionally restored, which is a service offered by Artistic Marble and Granite.
Warning: Don't combine liquids containing ammonia and bleach, for toxic fumes will be produced.
Disclaimer: This information is intended as a guideline for caring for your stone surface, and is by no means warranted to produce exact results. Before beginning any restoration, thoroughly clean and test in an inconspicuous area. Artistic Marble and Granite cannot be held responsible for damages that may occur from following these guidelines.