Cleaning Masonry

by Jill Culley
(last updated October 28, 2013)

If you have masonry in your home such as granite, tile, marble, limestone or concrete, then you know how important it is to take care of it properly. Obviously masonry is great for the home because it helps heat your house in the winter and keeps it cool in the summer, you never have to paint over it to keep it looking great and it looks great as countertops, bathroom tile and sink splash boards. I have granite countertops in my home and I realized that the surfaces needed to be cleaned a little bit more intensely than wiping it off with a towel. I knew from my mother's house that you can't clean masonry with just any cleaner because you can cause damage. I decided to find out how to clean different types of masonry.

  • Granite. Granite should have a deep cleansing about once a month. A mild soap, like dish soap, is a great cleaner for it. Remember that cleaners high in pH (like ammonia, vinegar and lemon/lime juice) will damage the surface and cause what is commonly called "etching." Simply take some warm water with a mild soap and wipe down the whole surface with a smooth cloth or sponge. Then, make sure to wipe the surface down completely with a soft cloth like terry cloth.
  • Tile. Cleaning tile is especially tricky because of the grout and mortar used to keep it in place. Typically, a grout cleaner is enough to clean the tile, too. If tile is in the bathroom, you will also want a mildew cleaner. I try to clean my bathroom tile like this at least twice per month, preferably three to four times, though. I will spray the cleaners on the tile and grout and let it sit for about fifteen minutes. Then I wipe it down with a cleaning sponge. I will also run hot water through the shower head in my tiled shower just to release any extra dirt that didn't get wiped off by the sponge.
  • Limestone. Limestone is a really porous rock so it will easily absorb any surface debris. The best way to clean it is by using a poultice. First, we down the area that is stained with some water. If it has time to moisten, the stain will lift easier and more will come up. I use a mixture of flour and water to make a peanut butter like consistency. I then put the mixture over the stain and let it sit overnight to make sure as much comes up as possible. Then, I remove the poultice and clean the surface with a damp cloth. Repeat as necessary until the stain is leeched out of the limestone.

Masonry can really start to look run down if it isn't properly cared for so make sure you clean it regularly for the best results.

Author Bio

Jill Culley

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