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6 Effective Methods for Cleaning Rough Slate Floor Tiles

Cleaning Advice / March 1, 2024


Slate floor tiles can add a stylish, natural look to any home. However, their textured, porous surface makes them prone to holding dirt, grime and stains. Cleaning rough slate floors properly is essential to keeping them looking their best. With the right methods and products, you can have your slate tiles sparkling again in no time.

Assess the Condition of the Floor

Before determining the best way to clean your slate tiles, take a close look at their current condition. Make note of any problem areas where dirt, grime and stains have really built up. Check for etching or pitting of the surface as well. This will help you figure out which cleaning methods to focus on. Target any especially dirty spots for extra attention during cleaning.

Sweep and Vacuum the Floor

Start by giving the slate floor a thorough sweeping to remove any loose dirt, dust and debris. Use a soft-bristle broom to avoid scratching the tile surface. Go over the floor carefully, getting into corners and along edges.

After sweeping, go over the floor again with a vacuum cleaner. The suction will pull up any remaining fine dust and dirt from the porous slate. Choose a vacuum with an adjustable hard floor attachment to gently clean grout lines as well. This prep work helps make the rest of the cleaning faster and more effective.

Clean With a pH-Neutral Cleaner

For routine cleaning of slate floors, use a pH-neutral stone cleaner. These specialty cleaners are formulated not to etch or damage stone surfaces. Mix the cleaner with water according to label directions. Use a microfiber mop or soft cloth to wash the floor with the solution. Let it sit briefly before wiping.

Focus on any visibly dirty areas, but clean the entire floor to prevent a patchy appearance. The pH-neutral cleaner will help lift ordinary dirt and grime. Rinse the floor thoroughly after cleaning and allow to air dry. Avoid using vinegar, ammonia or harsh alkaline cleaners on slate.

Remove Stains With a Poultice

For stubborn stains or built-up grime that won’t budge with regular stone cleaner, make a DIY poultice. This paste helps draw out deep-set stains from textured surfaces. Mix a poultice with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for organic stains or clay powder and vinegar for oily stains.

Spread a thin layer of the poultice paste directly onto the stain. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to work for 24-48 hours. Scrape away the poultice and rinse the area thoroughly. Check to see if the stain has lifted. Repeat as needed for difficult stains. This can help restore the slate’s appearance.

Give Etched Areas an Acid Wash

If some of the slate tiles have a dull, etched look, they likely have mineral deposits built up on them from water or other liquids. An acid-washing treatment can help dissolve the deposits and restore the slate’s shine. Mix a diluted acid solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water.

Use a mop or cloth dipped in the solution to wash the affected tiles. Don’t let it sit too long before rinsing. Wipe off any hazy residue and let the tiles air dry. Check to see if the etched appearance has improved. For severe etching, you may need a stronger acid solution.

Reseal the Floor Periodically

While slate itself is quite durable, the grout lines between tiles are more prone to damage. Sealant prevents stains from penetrating into the porous grout and makes cleaning easier. Use a slate-specific sealer and apply it carefully according to product instructions, avoiding contact with the slate tiles themselves.

Reapply the sealer once a year or so to maintain its protective properties. This can help prolong the great look of your slate floor in between deeper cleanings. Proper resealing protects your investment in slate tiles.

Use Floor Mats and Area Rugs

One of the best ways to keep a slate floor clean is to prevent excessive dirt from getting tracked in. Place mats inside and outside doorways where people enter with dirty shoes. These can catch a lot of the grit, sand and mud before it reaches your floor.

Area rugs are also great for protecting sections of slate flooring most prone to stains, like in front of the kitchen sink. Just be sure the backs of the rugs have a nonslip coating so they stay firmly in place. Routinely shake out and launder the rugs to keep dirt from accumulating underneath. Proper matting helps minimize the cleaning needed.

When to Call for Professional Slate Floor Cleaning

While DIY cleaning can keep your slate tiles looking fresh between deep cleans, periodically hiring a professional cleaning service is a good idea. Eco Cleaning Brisbane has industrial-strength cleaners and powerful equipment to deep-clean textured slate floors and rejuvenates any grout lines.

Professionals have the right techniques to safely clean slate and lift stubborn buildup and stains you may struggle with. This can restore the natural beauty of your investment in slate flooring. Trust the pros for a thorough periodic revitalization your floors need to stay gorgeous for years to come.

Cleaning rough slate flooring keeps the tiles from wearing down too quickly or getting permanently damaged. With this mixture of DIY methods and calling in professional cleaners, you can keep your slate floor looking like new for decades. Slate’s durability and style make it a flooring choice you won’t regret. Proper maintenance is key to maintaining its timeless, earthy beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Slate Floors

What are the best tools for cleaning slate flooring?

A soft-bristle broom, vacuum with hard floor attachment, microfiber mops and cloths, and stone-safe cleaners and sealers are ideal for cleaning slate without damaging it. Avoid abrasive brushes or scouring pads.

How can I get oil stains out of my slate tiles?

Make a poultice with clay powder and vinegar to draw out oily stains. Apply to the stain, cover with plastic, and leave on for 24-48 hours before scraping away and rinsing. Repeat if needed for difficult stains.

Why does my slate floor have some dull spots?

Etching from mineral deposits often leaves a hazy, dull look on sections of the slate. An acidic cleaner can help dissolve the deposits. Mix 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water and wash the affected tiles.

When should slate floors be resealed?

Reapply sealer to the grout lines about once a year to protect from penetration of spills and stains. Avoid sealing the slate tile itself unnecessarily. Professionals can advise the best slate sealing schedule.

Can I just use water to mop my slate floor?

Plain water alone won’t effectively clean a rough slate or remove any oily buildup or residues. Use a pH-balanced stone cleaner diluted with water for routine mopping and cleaning of the tiles.

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