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Invest in quality cleaning tools
A cleaning chore—any cleaning chore—is never a matter of a cleaning product only. The implements— cleaning rag, paper towel, scrubbing pad, squeegee, etc.—are important considerations as well. A good quality mop and the proper mopping bucket are critical to obtaining the best results when mopping your highly polished stone or porcelain floor.
We found that sponge mops are not the best choice for highly polished stone floors. A better choice is a good sized, closed-loop cotton string mop. However, the very best are micro-fiber mops.
It is a good idea to have at least a couple of mop-heads, so that when one is dirty, all you have to do is throw it into the washing machine and use another one in the meantime.
Micro Fiber Type Mop
Newly Installed Floors
The best thing to have done to a brand-new polished stone floor is a detailing job by a properly trained janitor, or a professional stone refinisher. Detailing means deep-cleaning the floor virtually square inch by square inch, removing all possible grout residue or film and adhesive, taking care of possible small damages left behind by installers, or a possible few factory flaws, and open the pores of the stone by using a heavy-duty stone, tile and grout cleaner or, in extreme instances, if a grout film is still present over the surface of the tiles, a stone safe soap film remover, which would also be effective at removing mineral deposit due to the presence of chelates (MB-3) in its formula. (Grout film could be equated to mineral deposit.) In that way the stone can “breathe” and dry properly. For porous stones like honefinished limestone or certain mercantile granites, the application of a good-quality impregnating sealer, is recommended, especially if the floor is installed in a room where accidental spills of staining agents (i.e.: cooking oil, coffee, juice, etc.) are likely to occur.
The application of an impregnating sealer to highly polished marble and travertine, or polished high density mercantile granites is generally not recommended. Should you decide not to have your floor detailed, DON’T damp-mop your floor immediately after installation and grouting. While you would not cause any real damage, the fine powder most likely left on the floor will be trapped in the water and may leave ugly and hard-to-remove streaks all over its surface. For the first week or so, just vacuum (being careful not to use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface. Upright vacuum cleaners are not recommended. Canister vacuum cleaners and central vacuum systems are the best) and dust mop (with a NON-treated dust mop or a clean, dry micro-fiber mop) your floor as often as you can. Remember the head of your vacuum should be a soft horsehair attachment. You will know it is ready to be washed when your hand remains clean (no whitish powder) after rubbing it on the Newly Restored (Refinished) Floor
DON’T damp-mop your floor using a solution of water and stone soap. As with any other soap, stone soap will leave a hard-to-remove deposit on the surface of the stone. Stone soaps have very limited applications and, most importantly, they are not for cleaning a highly polished stone floor. Even so-called “rinse-free” stone soaps are discouraged. In fact, by reading the label on soap stone bottles, you will see that every so often (when you can’t stand to look at your streaky and smeary floor any longer, that is!) you should be using a heavy duty stripper/degreaser to remove all the soap scum that has been accumulating on your otherwise beautiful floor by not rinsing it after damp-mopping it.
Always use a pH neutral floor detergent, opposed to soap. (Even dish soap would create the same problem.) (MB-1) DON’T damp-mop your floor using a solution of water with a commercially available cleaner, unless its label specifically indicates that it is safe to use on natural stone. Worse yet, DON’T damp-mop your floor using a solution of water and vinegar. Vinegar is highly acidic and will damage the stone. DO a deep-cleaning of your stone floor and grout lines when needed using a solution of water and a heavy-duty stone, tile and grout cleaner. If your floor is in a foyer or any other room with direct access to the outside, DO use proper floor mats. The leather or rubber of your shoes won’t damage your floor, but dirt will. It is important to have good rather than merely ‘pretty’ mats.’ DO clean your floor mats often. When they get saturated with dirt and sand they defeat their purpose.