Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Natural stone can be classified into two general categories according to its composition: siliceous stone or calcareous stone. Knowing the difference is critical when selecting cleaning products.
Siliceous stone is composed mainly of silica or quartz-like particles. It tends to be very durable and relatively easy to clean with mild acidic cleaning solutions. Types of siliceous stone include granite, slate, sandstone and quartzite.
Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate and will react to acidic foods such as lemons or tomatoes. This reaction will result in a dulling in surface sheen and change in texture, otherwise referred to as “acid etching”. Cleaning products that work on siliceous stone may damage the surface of calcareous surfaces. Types of calcareous stone include marble, travertine, limestone and onyx.
As a general rule of thumb, whenever a spill occurs, immediately blot the spill with a paper towel. Don’t wipe the area; it will spread the spill. Flush the area with plain water and a mild liquid dishwashing detergent. Rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.