Slate floors add a beautiful and earthy and even a bit rustic feel to a home. To keep slate looking its best proper care is very important. The wrong cleaning products and techniques can damage your natural stone. Read on for some best care practices when it comes to your slate floors.
How to Clean Slate Floors
Slate floors are great because they bring in the high-quality look of natural stone without as much needed attention to upkeep. When your slate floors do need to be cleaned however, careful attention to proper cleaning of slate is important.
Start out cleaning your slate floors with sweeping or vacuuming to get rid of any dust and loose dirt hanging out on the surface. Not only will it make it easier to mop, it will prevent scratches from happening.
Note: If you use a vacuum, you want to avoid using the beater bar because this will scratch the stone. If your vacuum does not have an option to raise the beater bar or remove it, do not use the attachments instead, opt for a broom.
Grab your cleaning solution. The best mopping solution for slate floors is one specifically made for slate floors. Additionally, you can also use mild laundry detergent or mild handwashing dish soap diluted in water. If you are using detergent or dish soap simply add a quarter cup to a bucket of warm water. When using a store-bought cleaner made for slate be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle exactly.
Related: How to Care for Limestone Floors
Grab your mop. We recommend one that rings out nearly all of the liquid because the mop needs to be only just barely wet. When mopping, use slow smooth strokes starting from the farthest corner in and then mop your way out of the room. Be sure to change out the water as it gets dirty, you don’t want to be spreading the dirt around the floor.
If you want to you can go with a dry mop method and add your mopping solution to a spray bottle. Simply spray the area of the floor you are about to mop and use a Swiffer type mop to do the wiping. With this method, you want to be sure to change the mop heads out often.
Steam mops can also be used if you would like to deeply clean and sanitize without the use of soap. Be careful not to keep the steam mop in one place for too long. Steam mops are a good idea for homes with pets.
When you are done mopping, don’t leave the floor to air dry. This can attract any dirt or dust just hanging out in the air. You also want to avoid the possibility of any standing water seeping down into the pores of the slate. Wipe down the floor surface with a soft cloth or towel to get it dry.
Use a very small amount of slate oil or teak oil to enhance the final finish. Apply a small amount to a cloth and gently rub in being careful not to clog the slate’s pores.
About once a year it is a good idea to have your slate professionally cleaned and sealed. This will help to ensure all of the pores are free of debris as well as the pores in the grout. It is important to follow up with sealing as the seal on the stone will wear away over time and need to be reapplied. Sealing helps to prevent things from soaking into the slate and grout.
In Florida, we have a lot of tile, slate and natural stone floors. Keep them shiny and durable for years!