Spring is a time of renewal and revitalization, but it’s hard to appreciate all the invigorating aspects of spring when your home still bears months of winter dust and dirt. Tackle your living space room-by-room for a spring clean that will leave you and your home refreshed and ready for a new season.
Make Spring Cleaning a Cinch
(Family Features) Spring is a time of renewal and revitalization, but it’s hard to appreciate all the invigorating aspects of spring when your home still bears months of winter dust and dirt. Tackle your living space room-by-room for a spring clean that will leave you and your home refreshed and ready for a new season.
Once all your cleaning is complete, take a few extra steps to make your home feel extra fresh and clean. On a warm day, throw open the windows to let the fresh breeze chase away stale winter air and add lightly scented candles throughout the house for a home that smells as inviting as it looks. Find more advice to make spring tasks simple at elivingtoday.com.
Don’t Lose Your Natural Stone’s Luster
It’s important to understand the shine on granite and other natural stone is not from applying a wax, but a natural shine that reflects a rigorous process.
After being quarried from the earth’s surface, these stone blocks are taken to a factory for processing. The next step is a polishing line. It’s this factory finish that enhances the inherent characteristics of natural stone – the veins, swirls and crystals. From there the slabs are bundled and shipped to local stone manufacturers and installers to be cut to a homeowner’s specifications.
Once installed, you can maintain that luxurious factory finish with these tips from the experts at Granite Gold.
Clean often. Even miniscule particles could have a detrimental effect on your natural stone. However, it’s important to avoid common cleaners and abrasives as they can break down the protective seal and dull the natural finish, and result in expensive repairs. Also avoid using an abrasive scrubbing pad, which may leave unsightly scratches. Rely on scrubbing pads designed specifically for natural stone or look for “non-scratch” on the packaging.
Seal frequently. Frequently sealing natural stone surfaces maintains maximum surface protection, penetrating stone surfaces to provide superior, long-lasting resistance to staining, etching and soil buildup. It’s easy to test when to reseal. Pour water (about 3 inches in diameter) on the surface and let it sit for 30 minutes. If the water beads, then the stone remains sealed. However, if a dark mark or ring is created by the water, it is time to reseal. Be sure to repair any etching or stains before the sealant is applied.
Polish regularly. Polishing not only brings out the stone’s natural beauty, it reinforces the protective seal and provides ongoing protection against water spots and fingerprints. One time-saving but effective solution after sealing is Granite Gold Clean & Shine, which provides the cleaning power of the line’s Daily Cleaner and the luster from the Polish in one easy-to-use formula.
You can find the products nationwide at Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon; check the product locator at GraniteGold.com.
Photos courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Veins of color and unique patterns give marble tile a truly stunning appearance. However, maintaining that elegance may seem anything but effortless. It may seem impractical to care for a marble floor, but once you understand the basics, it’s actually quite simple.
How to Maintain Marble Floors
(Family Features) Veins of color and unique patterns give marble tile a truly stunning appearance. However, maintaining that elegance may seem anything but effortless.
Common advice cautions against using vinegar, bleach, ammonia or other general-purpose cleaners, while taking care to prevent scratches from the wheels of an old vacuum or basic sand and dirt is paramount. With all these rules, it may seem impractical to care for a marble floor, but once you understand the basics, it’s actually quite simple.
Know the difference between etches and stains. “Marble is porous and can stain when it absorbs liquids,” said Jacqueline Tabbah, vice president of the family-owned stone restoration company International Stoneworks in Houston.
Stains can discolor marble and have a dark appearance; they are oftentimes caused by kitchen grease or makeup and lotions.
An etch mark is a chemical corrosion of the surface layer of the stone caused by the acids found in most household cleaners and in substances like tomato sauce, lemon juice and alcohol. Etch marks are often most visible at an angle, when they appear duller and less shiny than the surrounding surface.
If a spot is lighter than the surrounding stone, it’s most likely an etch mark. If a spot is darker than the surrounding stone, it’s probably a stain.
To remove stains, use a poultice, which you can buy at a hardware store. Spread it on the stain then cover the area with plastic wrap, holding it down with painter’s tape. The next day, remove the plastic, allow the poultice to dry completely and gently wipe it up. If the stain is still there but noticeably lighter, repeat the procedure. If it’s just as bad as it was, it will only come out with the help of a professional restorer. Etch marks can usually be prevented by wiping up spills immediately and using the right cleaners.
Be careful what you use to clean. Acids are the main enemy of calcitic marbles. Avoid cleaners containing vinegar or citrus, as well as abrasive powders and creams, which can scratch softer stones. Strong household cleaners like toilet bowl cleaner, metal cleaner or oven cleaners can cause irreparable etching or permanent color changes in stone.
Tabbah recommends a cleaner with a pH level of at least 7 or 8, or buying one that specifically mentions marble.
Mop carefully. “A microfiber mop is the main line of defense for your marble floor,” said Tom Workman, owner of Floor Cleaning Experts, a Florida company that cleans and restores commercial and residential floors.
A dry microfiber mop draws in dry hair and dirt. For deeper cleaning, saturate the mop with water. The thin microfibers have tiny triangular wedges that lift grease and oil as the mop glides across the floor. The small amount of water won’t stain your marble.
Soften water in showers. “If you have hard water, a water softener is a must,” Workman said.
Mineral deposits build up slowly but surely, requiring professional honing and polishing to remove. If you don’t use a water softener, leave the vent fan on after showering and squeegee the walls after use.
Use a doormat. Place a mat outside your front door and another mat or rug inside. They’ll absorb dirt and sand before it gets to your marble floors.
Don’t shy away from marble. Caring for it is easy if you follow these simple rules. For more information for caring for marble floors and other stone surfaces, visit naturalstoneinstitute.org/consumers/care.
Shower image courtesy of MS International
Building Stone Institute
13604 Natural Stone in the Shower
“Stone can be a good choice for the shower, but it does require certain care and maintenance,” said David Bonasera, owner of ESP, a San Jose, California-based distributor of environmentally safe cleaning and sealing products for natural stone. “The most important thing you can do is be a good steward to the stone.”
Know Your Material
A useful generalization is that the lighter the stone, the more porous it is. Darker stones have a tighter molecular structure and are less likely to stain, Bonasera said. There are many exceptions to this concept and a knowledgeable stone supplier and fabricator can help guide you to a suitable material.
Granite is a good choice for bathrooms, said Jacqueline Tabbah, vice president of International Stoneworks, Inc., a stone restoration company in Houston, Texas.
“Most granites are easier to maintain because they don’t react to the three As: acid, ammonia and alcohol,” she said. “Acid reacts to marble and travertine, and etches the surface, removing the polished finish.”
Understand Proper Care
“Customers may decide not to use natural stone, but porcelain tile can become discolored and grout lines can darken,” she said. “There is always upkeep, it will just be different.”
When cleaning natural stone, it is best to keep things simple. Soapy cleaners can add buildup and attract dirt while vinegar and harsh cleaners can damage stone. To avoid these issues, always use a neutral cleaner with a pH level around seven.
A few quick preventative measures can keep stone surfaces looking fresh. To help avoid water marks on the stone surface, use a squeegee on the walls after showering. Bonasera also recommends leaving the door open to accelerate air drying and using glycerin over traditional bar soap.
“It’s transparent and doesn’t have a lot of fat, lye and animal byproducts that are in regular soap,” he said. “It will cut soap scum, which is a food source for mold.”
For more information about using natural stone in your shower, or elsewhere in your home, visit usenaturalstone.com.
Main image (white marble shower) courtesy of Stoneshop
Building Stone Institute
Not only does natural stone lend a beautifully sophisticated aesthetic, it’s generally regarded as a practical choice because it’s more durable than many other materials. However, granite, marble, travertine and other natural-stone and quartz surfaces do require proper care and attention to maintain that luxurious finish. Keep your natural stone in top condition with these tips.
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