Being able to answer the question "how do I clean slate floors?" will help you keep your floors fresh and bright for years, ensuring that they look new no matter how much wear they take.
Slate is a natural stone with a fine texture that comes from small silt and clay particles bonded together under high heat and pressure. That bonding gives slate its smooth texture, and because the particles are so small it is difficult for liquids to penetrate the slate, making it stain resistant. This makes slate a fine choice for flooring, even in high traffic areas such as entryways and kitchens.
Slate comes in many different colors and textures. The colors, which include black, red, green, gray, brown, and mottled shades, are formed due to the impurities of the stone, and the texture can also vary. Slate with a slight roughness is the most desirable for flooring, since the texture will make it less slippery.
Keeping Slate Floors Clean
The easiest way to clean slate floors is to be sure they don't get too dirty in the first place. Coating the floor with a high quality sealer (available from home improvement and flooring retailers) will keep liquids from penetrating the stone and give it a high gloss finish. For the best results, use multiple coats of sealer but allow each coat to dry for at least 30 minutes before applying the next layer. Do not use regular wax to coat a slate floor, as it will dull the stone and make it dangerously slippery. With use, the sealer will eventually wear out, and it should be replaced every few years, with the old coats stripped off before new sealer is applied.It is also easy to keep slate floors clean by using area and throw rugs in the areas most prone to spills and stains, such as near doorways and by kitchen appliances. Avoid wearing shoes on slate floors, as the shoes will drag in dirt, sand, and debris that will stain and scuff the floor. Wipe up any spills immediately to avoid lasting damage, and follow a regular cleaning and maintenance routine to keep your slate floors looking their best.
So, How Do I Clean Slate Floors?
No matter how well you take care of your flooring, it will need regular cleaning. Cleaning slate floors is easy, however, and only takes a few simple steps.
- Sweep the floor first to loosen any debris, or vacuum the floor with a soft bristle attachment or vacuum designed for stone floors.
- Dust mop the floor with a rag mop with cotton fibers. Sweep the mop in the same direction each time, moving slowly so no dust or dirt is scattered.
- Combine two gallons of warm water with 1/4 cup of mild soap (dish detergent or a slate floor cleaner) if desired; if your floor is not very dirty, plain water will be fine.
- Mop the floor slowly, wringing out the mop frequently to avoid spreading dirty water.
- If the floor is sudsy or soapy, rinse it with a clean mop and clean water.
- Allow the floor to air dry thoroughly before it is walked on.
When you clean your slate floor, be sure to move any rugs or furniture so the entire floor will be cleaned. This will keep the floor's coloration and wear even.
Most people will ask "how do I clean slate floors?" when they have a stain that needs removing. While slate flooring is naturally stain resistant, particularly if it has been sealed, it is always possible to stain the floor with certain foods, chemicals, or other products. In most cases, however, it is not the slate that will stain, but the grout between individual tiles. How you clean that grout depends on whether it is colored or non-colored.
For colored grout, always test cleaners in an inconspicuous area before using them on the stain. Special cleaners that will not discolor or bleach the grout will be necessary to remove stains on colored grout.
If your grout is not colored, treat the stained area with a 50-50 solution of water and hydrogen peroxide, letting the solution sit on the stain for 15 minutes before wiping it up. If the stain persists, repeat the treatment or consider using a specialized grout cleaner.
After cleaning grout, be sure to reseal the area of the floor that was cleaned to protect it against future spills or stains.
More Tips for Cleaning Slate Floors
To keep your slate floors looking their very best…
- Never use acidic cleaners such as vinegar, which can damage and discolor the stone.
- Avoid scrub brushes with stiff or metal bristles that may scratch the flooring.
- Use clean tools (mop, sponges, etc.) when cleaning the floor to avoid spreading extra dirt around.
- Sweep or dust mop your floor regularly as part of a house cleaning chore list to prevent buildup of debris or dirt that may cause stains.
Cleaning will extend the life of slate floors, making them appear new longer and preventing damage and stains. By answering the question "how do I clean slate floors?" you'll be able to care for your flooring easily.