Use the following tips to maintain your slate floor in an undemanding and effective way:
1. Keep-off Dust/Debris
It is critical that dust or debris of any kind is not allowed to settle for too long on the slate surface. The debris can get impacted upon the surface and due to the footfall, get embedded deep within the slate surface. To avoid this problem, keep foot mats around the entry/exit points to rooms with slate floorings. Remember to dry mop the slate floor on a daily basis. Weekly vacuuming of slate flooring is also a good idea but use vacuuming attachments that aren't overtly abrasive. Remember that dry mopping the slate flooring is the primary step before proceeding with either of the following cleaning approaches.
2. Regular Cleaning of Slate Floors
Dry mopping followed by wet mopping with plain water is the most recommended form of daily cleaning for slate floorings. To ensure that daily cleaning of the slate flooring is effective, you can add some vinegar to the water. This can be done a few times during the week to ensure that traces of spills are removed. This also adds a hint of luster to the flooring. You should always follow vinegar cleaning with plain water mopping of the slate floor. If you want to use stronger cleaners on a regular basis, ensure that these are specifically formulated for slate or slate-like floorings. Any cleaner with a strong acid base is not recommended for this. The rinse-free variety of such cleaners don’t need follow-up cleaning with wet mopping as they don’t leave a residue—a major advantage over vinegar-based cleaning. Always dry a slate surface after cleaning it since it is slightly porous and moisture seepage can induce stains or dull the appearance of the floor.
3. Removing Mild Stains
You should try to clean the spills immediately. Before washing the stain, it is better to soak-up the spill. This is best done with some paper towels. Don’t press to hard upon the paper towels. For washing the stain, use lukewarm water. Use a mop or rag dipped in lukewarm water for wiping the stain. It is better to start cleaning from the edge of the stain, moving towards the inside. This avoids spilling of the stain towards the grout.
4. Removing Harder Stains
The method for stain-removal remains the same but you need a more potent cleaning solution than water. A recommended option is preparing a solution containing hydrogen peroxide and water in a ratio of 1:1. This is particularly helpful for greasy stains and hard stains over the grouting. However, this is used only for white or plain grout, i.e. peroxide can bleach away the color in colored grouts. The other option is to wipe the stain using a paper towel dipped in hydrogen peroxide. Ensure that after the chemical treatment of stain, you thoroughly clean the slate surface by rinsing it properly. If you still cannot remove the stain, use a plastic scraper. Apply some mineral spirit to the stain and then scrape it. Wipe-off the loosened debris with moist cloth before rinsing the surface.
5. Sealing Slate Floors
Sealing the slate flooring ensures that the flooring surface is protected against moisture and chemical reactions. You can choose penetrative sealers or topical sealers. Topical sealers are recommended for lesser-used slate floorings. Water-based sealants are readily absorbed, need a lesser drying time and have no fumes. The sealer treatment is rather easy. You merely need to coat the slate flooring with the sealer compound, using a paintbrush. Ensure that you follow the grain of the slate surface when applying the sealer. Allow the sealer to dry properly before walking upon the flooring.