Mother Earth Living

Hone Your Stone: Clean Your Countertops Naturally

Clean your natural stone countertops with this nontoxic, homemade cleaner.
By Ken Hoyt
July/August 2008
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Granite, marble and other natural stone surfaces offer durability and a sense of luxury, making them ubiquitous for countertop applications in upscale kitchens. Care for them with nontoxic cleansers and forgo the chemical sealants—the effort will go a long way toward making your kitchen more earth-friendly.

Most stone is porous, meaning that soil, food particles and liquids can penetrate the surface. Natural sealants can delay this, but none promise to prevent it completely. For daily maintenance, spray the surface with our simple Stone Cleaning Solution and wipe with a clean, soft cloth.

For spills, the best option is to wipe them up and use the solution as soon as possible. For really sticky messes, completely moisten a cloth with the solution, then microwave it for 20 seconds (or more) until the cloth is steaming hot. Use tongs to place the cloth directly on the stubborn spot. Soak until the grime is loosened.

If you’ve exhausted home remedies and the stain is persistent, call a professional stone installer for advice or a referral.

Stone Cleaning Solution

2 tablespoons  biodegradable liquid soap
3 3/4 cups water
32-ounce spray bottle*

1. Pour soap and water into spray bottle.

2. Replace top and shake gently until completely combined. It will keep indefinitely.

* Reusing a bottle left over from another water-based solution is fine, but wash and rinse it thoroughly first.

Watch Out For… 

ABRASION: Grit, sand, scouring powders and even china or porcelain dishes with unglazed bases can mar the sheen of stone. Be careful of not to set abrasive objects on your stone, and use a soft cloth or brush to wipe away grit before cleaning.

ACID: Vinegar, citrus juice, tomato products and other acids can permanently etch the surface. Wipe up the acid first, then wash the surface with clear water.

Call it a Patina

Everything wears a little with age—sterling silver and fine furniture acquire a tasteful glow after years of service and gentle polishing. Consider letting your stone surfaces age naturally. You’ll end up with a look that has Old World elegance and is eco-friendly.

Seal it Up

Conventional wisdom favors maintaining a like-new appearance with a series of chemical treatments meant to seal and protect. You don’t have to seal stone, but if you do, try Safecoat MexeSeal, a water-based, low-odor alternative.  

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