Slate is the most popular option for stone floors. It is naturally beautiful, durable, fireproof and cheaper than comparable options. Whether used on a fireplace or the floors, slate can bring earth and texture to any room.
However, since slate is a natural stone, it requires more maintenance and careful cleaning methods to make it look good.
What is the best way to clean slate floors?
If you want to keep slate floors clean and look their best, sweep them daily. Dust and dirt particles can act as sandpaper on a slate floor and grind pieces of stone away. Mop your slate floors as needed or weekly with a damp mop and a mild detergent made specifically for natural stone.
Slate floor cleaning: Everything you need to know
The most important maintenance task for slate floors is sweeping. This must be done daily. All you need for this is a great duster. Run the broom over slate floors and pick up dust and dirt. If you choose to use a vacuum instead of a broom, make sure your vacuum is on the hard floor setting to avoid scratching the tile.
Mop your slate floors every week or as needed. It is important to use a very gentle detergent on your slate tiles. Two good options are Stone Care Stone Floor Cleaner or Weiman Stone Floor Cleaner.
Stay away from vinegar and citrus-based cleaners – they are too acidic and can cause damage. You will also want to avoid oil-based cleaners as they can make your floor extra slippery.
If there is standing water on the floor after mopping, wipe it up with a towel or dry microfiber mop.
As needed: Spot Treat Stains
If you find a stain on your slate floors, you can treat it with isopropyl alcohol. Here you need to do:
- Mix 1 part alcohol to 8 parts water
- Soak a cloth in the solution and wipe on your stain
- Let sit for a few minutes and then dry
If the stain still appears, scrub it lightly with this solution. Repeat if necessary.
Every 3-5 years: Seal your slate
Although slate is very durable, it is still porous. Porous materials absorb liquid, which is why it is necessary to seal your floors regularly.
Here’s what to do to determine if your slate needs to be sealed:
- Pour several drops of water on your slate floor
- Let the water sit for 10-30 minutes and then wipe it off
- If your floor is dark, it needs to be sealed
Failure to seal your slate floor properly will allow water and other liquids to seep through and cause damage and make your floors look lifeless.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best way to make my slate floors shiny?
The best way to make your slate floors look shiny is to use a reinforcing sealant. If your slate is brand new, you can do this after installation. If your slate tiles are older, first clean them thoroughly.
Enhancing sealants can produce the natural colors of your tiles and give your floor a wet, shiny look.
Can I use vinegar on slate floors?
You should never use vinegar on slate floors. Vinegar is very acidic and can react with chemicals found naturally in slate, dull the stone color and make it look crisp.
Use only mild detergents on your slate floor.
Can I use a steam cleaner on my slate floors?
Maybe. You need to refer to the manufacturer of your sealant to see if a mop for steam cleaner will be an appropriate way to clean your floors. Some sealant manufacturers claim that a steam mop can break down the sealer and leave the floors exposed.
If you use a steam mop, be sure to keep it on the lowest heat setting.
Final thoughts on cleaning slate
Slate is a beautiful flooring option. And although it requires careful cleaning, it is not difficult to take care of. The most important thing you can do to keep your slate looking good for years to come is to keep your floor sealed and sweep and mop regularly.