How to Clean Slate Floors

By Harold K. Hardesty Updated January 8, 2021

Keep your slate floors in perfect conditions

How to Clean Slate Floors

Do you like slate floors? Slate floors are an attractive option for modern homes. However, they are porous and they absorb stains and get dirty pretty easily.

That’s why cleaning them regularly is a necessity. But you have to be careful about the kind of cleaning products you use on a slate floor.

Being porous, the solid stone surface is easily eroded by harsh cleaners. So, in this guide, I’ll discuss how to clean slate floors without harming their finish or texture.

Table of Contents

How To Clean Slate Floors – Step by Step?

Make sure you have a soft mop at home. Since it’s a multi-step process, do it over the weekend when other chores aren’t taking up your time.

Materials

Here are the supplies you need for cleaning the slate floors:

1.Sweep the Floor

Remove dirt and debris from the floor. You can use a broom for this. However, make sure it has soft bristles as harder ones can scrape off the floor’s surface.

Or, you may use a vacuum for cleaning the floors. Attach the brush accessory to the vacuum and clean properly between crevices.

Keep in mind that slate damages easily. Thus, it’s essential to use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush roll.

2.Use a Dust Mop

Mop the surface using an oil-free dust mop. Mop the floor in a single direction to collect the debris. Do not move it back and forth.

3.Prepare a Slate-cleaning Solution

In this step, you can either use a store-bought slate cleaner or make a solution at home.

If you’re using a pre-made slate cleaner, it should be non-acidic. Follow the guidelines on the bottle to use the cleaner. Only use the recommended amount as saturating the floor can cause damage.

To make a homemade slate-cleaning solution, put a quarter cup of mild detergent in a gallon of warm water.

Precaution

Harsh detergents can abrade slate floors. Therefore, use a gentle detergent that you use for clothes. Alternatively, you can use dish soap.

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4.Mop the Slate Floors

Dip a mop into this solution and wring it well before mopping the floor. Move the mop slowly over the surface, avoiding streaks.

Rinse the mop with clean water after covering a small surface. If you mop the floor with a dirty mop, the debris will embed into the surface since it’s porous. You can also use a steam mop to clean slate floors since they pick up debris easily.

If the mop is leaving streaks on the stone surface, make a new cleaning solution. Your existing solution is contaminated.

5.Dry the Surface

Dry it afterward before putting the furniture back. Use a microfiber cloth or a soft towel to dry the floor.

Try to wipe as much moisture as possible. Excess water may seep into the floors. To avoid that, go over the surface with a clean towel two to three times.

After that, let the floor dry for 24 hours before walking on it again.

6.Use Teak Oil

Use a soft cloth to apply teak oil to the stone surface. Make sure you’re only applying a thin layer since excess oil will seep into the surface.

My Tip

You can also use slate oil, but it will cost more than teak oil.

7.Benefit from Regular Cleaning

Slate is a delicate surface. Thus, you must clean it at least every three months to keep it in pristine condition. Regular cleaning removes grime from the floors, ensuring that stains do not get tougher over time.

8.Seal the Floors

To prevent staining on the slate floors, you can use a stone sealant to block the pores in your slate floors. In this way, spills and stains won’t be able to get into the pores. Also, it makes cleaning easier and less frequent.

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Spot Cleaning and Stains Removal

Cleaning natural stone isn’t as simple as removing stains from tile flooring. While the latter retains stains on the surface, the former absorbs them. That’s why it’s harder to remove stains and spots from slate floors.

If there’s a spill, tend to it immediately. Don’t give it time to get into the stone flooring. Otherwise, you’ll have to follow an extensive cleaning method.

In an unfortunate situation where the stain does get into the floors, here’s how to remove it.

How To Remove Stains from Slate Floors?

1.Rub the Stain

Rub the stain with a clean sponge. You can use a scrub brush, but it shouldn’t have metal bristles. Dip the sponge in warm soapy water and use it to rub the stain.

2.Water and Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

If there are stains on non-colored grout, tackle them with water and hydrogen peroxide solution. Mix water and hydrogen peroxide(1) in 1:1 amount and pour the solution into a spray bottle.

Spray the solution onto the stain. Wait for ten minutes before scrubbing with a brush. Since it’s bleach(2), it will remove the color from the grout.

3.Remove Stubborn Stains

For stubborn stains, make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. When you mix the two, the mixture will start bubbling. Apply the paste to the stain after the bubbling has died down and let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes.

Then, use a soft towel or cloth to wipe the stain.

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4.Clean Colored Grout

If your floors have colored grout, you can clean them using shaving cream. Apply the cream to an inconspicuous area to check if it discolors the area.

If it doesn’t cause discoloration, let it sit on the stain for 15 minutes. Then, use warm water and a soft cloth to remove the stain.

5.Remove Oil Stains

FAQs

Which cleaner is the best for slate floors?

If you’re not sure about which cleaner to use, hot water will suffice. It does not damage natural stone floors. However, if you want to buy cleaners, make sure they’re not acidic.

How can I make the slate in front of my fireplace shinier?

Start by cleaning the surface as much as possible. After removing the debris, add a sealant to the surface.

Since sealants contain polish and wax, they leave a long-lasting shine on the slate surfaces. Depending on how often you use the fireplace, you’ll have to apply the sealant every few months to a year.

What is the purpose of using teak oil on slate floors?

Teak oil helps beautify your natural stone flooring by protecting it from harsh rays and water stains. Thus, whenever you clean slate floors, apply teak oil too.

How do I clean the rough, uneven slate in my patio?

First off, sweep and mop the slate. Then, you can use store-bought cleaners, but they should be non-acidic. Or, you can use a water and detergent solution to clean the slate.

Since it’s a rough and uneven surface, you can make it look better by sealing it. The StoneTech Stone Sealer works quite well for such surfaces. Remove the previous sealant coating before applying a new one.

Tips and Warnings

When cleaning slate floors, here are a few tips and warnings to keep in mind:

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Tips

  • For smaller stains, you can simply remove a small piece of the slate floor. Use a blunt object, such as a nail, to remove the area surrounding the stain. Be careful not to damage the rest of the flooring.
  • You may use store-bought grout cleaners for stone floors. However, check them on a hidden spot before applying the solution to the whole floor.
  • The best way to prevent stains on natural stone flooring is to seal it. Apply a few coats of the sealant after cleaning the floors to prevent staining in the future.
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Warning

  • Do not use acidic cleaners on slate floors. Even when using homemade floor cleaners, do not use vinegar, as it contains acetic acid(3). You can use laundry detergents instead.
  • Only use non-oil based dust mops on slate flooring.
  • Do not put rugs with rubber back on slate floors, as they can abrade or scrape the uppermost surface.

Final Words

In this guide, I’ve discussed simple ways to clean the natural stone flooring and prevent further staining.

Slate floors should be maintained properly, otherwise, they lose their finish. It’s crucial to clean the slate floors in your house every three to four months. Moreover, you can apply a sealant to restore the floor’s vibrant finish.

About the Author

Harold K. Hardesty

Harold is a Flooring Specialist at TheHouseWire, educating people on the flooring by writing guides about the topic. He is a well-seasoned flooring specialist with experience in the industry for nine years.

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