Stone is often used for fireplaces, hearths, and accent walls in the home. Their maintenance, care, and repair vary from traditional materials. This will guide you on what to do.
Remove Dust and Debris
Brush stone occasionally to remove dust and "freshen" stone or dust with dusting attachment of vacuum cleaner. To remove soot, dissolve 4 ounces of yellow laundry soap in boiling water. After the mixture has cooled, add 1/2 pound of powdered pumice and 1/2 cup of household ammonia. Mix thoroughly.
Use a stiff brush to remove as much soot as possible. Then using a paintbrush to paint stones with the soap mixture, let remain 1/2 hour and clean with a stiff brush and warm water. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
For normal cleaning wash the stone with detergent or soap, using a mild abrasive if necessary. Rinse and wipe dry. For added beauty, rub dry slate with a soft cloth dipped in lemon oil furniture polish. Using a fresh cloth, wipe off excess oil and buff the stone. This makes stone uniformly dark and glossy. Do not use wax on fireplaces as it is affected by heat.
For grease stains on stone grills, dissolve 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) in 1 gallon of hot water. Wearing rubber gloves and with a stiff scrub brush, scrub the stone surface. Rinse with plenty of warm water. Repeat if soot or greasy stain is not removed. More TSP may be added if necessary, up to 1 cup per gallon. Since this is a very strong solution; avoid getting on skin, carpet, or fabrics.
This guide on stone maintenance, care, and repair will get you back on track, but there are some measures you can take to make it easier in the future. Stone fireplaces will be easier to clean if you apply a finish of penetrating sealer which contains tung oil. This is moisture resistant and forms a coating tough enough to wash with soap and water.
This article has been contributed in part by Michigan State University Extension