For spring cleaning, here's a primer for stone surfaces

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It's spring. You're cleaning. Here's a refresher for your stone surfaces.

Stone floors

Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean, non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness.

Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface.

Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels might scratch the surface.

Countertops

Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner, stone soap or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Use a soft cloth for best results. Too much cleaner or soap might leave a film and cause streaks.

Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Change the rinse water frequently.

Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that might scratch the surface.

Bath and other wet areas

Soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Frequent or over-use of an ammonia solution might eventually dull the surface of the stone.

Outdoor pool and patio

On pool, patio and hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use a mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.

And a reminder: Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the surface of many stones.

Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that can scratch the surface.

Andrea Antunes McGilton is project manager at Distinctive Granite and Marble, with showrooms in Okatie; Lady's Island; Pooler, Ga., and on Hilton Head Island.

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