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How to Clean and Maintain Your Slate Countertop

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Keeping your slate countertop beautiful isn’t frightening when you know how to clean it!

Do you have slate countertops in your house that look grimy, but you’re too scared to clean them? After all, cleaning slate is tricky. Slate is a porous stone that looks beautiful in the kitchen and bathroom.

However, if it’s not cleaned correctly you could etch the surface. So it’s important to know how to clean slate countertops so that you can maintain their beauty for years to come.


What is the Best Cleaner for Cleaning Slate?

The best cleaners for cleaning slate are mild detergents such as dish soap or castile soap. Teak or slate oil is used for deep cleaning of the slate countertop. While rubbing alcohol is used for removing stains.

You’ll also want to have hydrogen peroxide and baking soda on hand for cleaning the grout.

It’s important to avoid using acidic products such as vinegar and lemon juice, as well as oil-based and abrasive chemicals. Acidic products and abrasive chemicals may etch and damage the surface of your slate countertop.

You’ll also want to avoid wax-based cleaners. A hot object placed on the countertop may cause the wax to melt and stain your beautiful slate countertop.

How to Clean Slate Countertops

Thankfully, a slate countertop doesn’t need to be constantly cleaned. However, it does need to be cleaned regularly, because sand and dirt will etch and wear away your beautiful stone.

Wipe it daily with a microfiber cloth and focus on cleaning the slate countertop when it looks grimy or every two or three weeks.

To clean your countertop, you’ll need:

  • A microfiber cloth
  • Dish or Castile soap
  • A bucket
  • A non-coarse towel.

1. Remove Debris

Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe off your slate countertop and remove all the dirt, crumbs, and debris. Do this diligently as any particles left on your countertop may scratch the slate when you clean it with soapy water.

2. Fill Your Bucket with Soapy Water

Fill your bucket with warm water and add a couple of tablespoons of dish soap or Castile soap to the water. Put your non-coarse towel into the soapy water.

3. Clean Your Slate Countertop

Be sure to wring out the towel before you wipe it on the countertop to keep it from making a huge mess and getting soapy water everywhere. Carefully clean your slate countertop by wiping it with the non-coarse towel that’s soaked up the soapy water. Rinse the towel in the bucket frequently to remove any dirt the towel picks up.

Take your time to let the soap do its job and pick up all the dirt. If you see a stain or mark, dip a soft-bristled brush into the soapy water and gently scrub the stain until it’s removed.

4. Rinse the Countertop

Now rinse the countertop with clean water to remove all the soap. Any soapy residue left will attract dirt causing the countertop to become dirty fairly quickly. If you remove all of the soapy residue, it will take much longer before the countertop becomes filthy so you won’t need to clean it as often.

5. Dry Your Countertop

Again, take a dry microfiber cloth and carefully dry the stone. Make sure you’ve removed all the water from the countertop.

It’s a good idea to dry your countertop everytime you wipe it down with water. This should prevent any spots or mineral deposits.

Here’s a demonstration of how to clean slate tiles. He refers to cleaning a slate floor, but you’ll apply the same technique to your slate countertops.

How to Get Stains out of Slate Countertops

If you find that your beautiful slate countertop has been stained, there are a couple of tricks you can try.

1. Use Hydrogen Peroxide and Water

First, mix equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide in a bottle.

Next, spray this mixture onto the stain and let it sit there for around five or ten minutes. Now carefully scrub at the stain with a soft scrub pad or a soft-bristled brush. Do not use steel wool! It will scratch the surface of the stone.

Finally use a damp warm towel to wipe the slate clean.

2. Mix Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

A tough stain may need a stronger solution. Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste.

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are mild cleaners and safe for slate countertops. Plus they work together to lift and remove dirt and grease.

The paste will bubble for a time. Wait until the bubbling has stopped, and then carefully wipe the paste onto the stain. Wait until the paste sets and then wipe it away with a dry cloth.

How to Protect and Maintain Slate Countertops

There are some steps you can take to protect and maintain your slate countertops such as applying teak oil, cleaning spills immediately, and sealing the stone.

1. Apply Teak or Slate Oil

After you have cleaned and dried your countertop, apply a thin layer of teak or slate oil with a soft cloth. Slate oil is expensive and hard to find, but teak oil works just as well and is easier to find at a reasonable price.

2. Clean Spills Immediately

To maintain the beautiful polish of the stone, be certain to clean any spills immediately. This will prevent mineral deposits and water spots from developing.

3. Apply Sealing

A newly installed slate countertop should have been sealed. Water splashed on it will bead. However, after time water splashed on the countertop will no longer bead.

This means it’s time to reseal the slate.

Seal the countertop with a stone-and-tile sealer. You can find the sealer at most big hardware stores and tile vendors. Follow the directions of the sealant to seal your tile properly.

4. Handle Heavy Kitchenware Carefully

As you work around your slate countertop, you’ll want to handle heavy kitchenware carefully. Nothing is worse than dropping a heavy skillet and chipping your countertop!

Also do not use your kitchen countertop as a cutting board. This will also scratch and damage the surface of the slate.


The Bottom Line

Now that you know how to clean slate countertops, your slate tile should be easy to maintain. So handle kitchenware carefully, seal the stone, clean spills immediately, make cleaning slate part of your routine, and apply teak oil after cleaning. Following these steps will give you a beautiful slate countertop that will last for years.

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About the Author

Sara Dennis

Sara Dennis is a coffee-loving freelance writer, homeschool blogger, and mom of six kids. In her free time, Sara loves reading books and researching more efficient and effective ways to keep a clean house, homeschool her children, and blog better while making a home for her large family.