Cleaning and Proper Care For Stone Showers: Marble, Travertine & More
Proper care is essential for maintaining the look of marble and travertine showers. With more than 32 years of experience within the tile and stone industry, I would like to offer a few simple tips on daily stone care and preventative maintenance that keep natural stone showers looking like new.
Know Your Stone
First and foremost, know the difference between a natural stone that is siliceous or calcareous. Marble and travertine are two of the most common types of natural stone used in showers and are both calcareous stones. It is very common to see the tops of shower seats, curbs, and sill pieces trimmed out with granite, a siliceous stone. The differences between these two types of stone are significant, which means that using some of the most popular leading brands of household cleaners can be a costly mistake.
Has Your Stone and Grout Been Properly Sealed?
Typically, a tile installer will seal the stone prior to grouting. However, I've been around for a while and have seen some installations that look good, but lack the basic fundamentals such as applying a sealant. When properly sealed with a penetrating sealer, you are adding resistance to the level of absorption and significantly reducing your exposure to both organic and oil stains.
Play It Safe with pH Neutral Cleaners
So how can you clean your shower? Thankfully, that's an easy question. If you aren’t sure what type of stone you have, play it safe and use pH neutral cleaners. For example, using regular Windex on a calcareous stone, such as “polished” marble, will immediately cause it to dull or etch. One simple cleaning will compromise its appearance and require professional help to restore the shine.
Daily Care and Maintenance
A bit of daily care and maintenance goes a long way in preserving the beauty of stone showers. Before you exit the shower, be sure to rinse the soap off of the walls and floor. After your household has finished showering for the day, simply take a couple minutes and squeegee excess water from the stone and glass. This will help reduce your exposure to soap scum, calcium, and limescale build-up.
Avoid Calcium and Limescale Buildup
Minerals such as calcium and lime bond to the surfaces where water evaporates. If you live in an area that has hard water, you may be familiar with these off-white and chalky deposits. These minerals can be removed with solutions that are typically low on the pH scale (acidic) or with specific tooling. It is best to avoid letting calcium and limescale build up, because cleaning solutions formulated to remove these minerals will also remove the polish and possibly etch the surface of calcareous stones.
Preventative Care and Maintenance
For most people, taking the time to routinely squeegee their shower walls just isn't a reality. However, preventative care and maintenance is an important step in the long term sustainability of natural stone showers: marble, travertine, limestone, and more.
Supreme Surface® Stone Shower Cleaner and Conditioning Treatment with ioSeal
Try using Supreme Surface® Stone Shower Cleaner and Conditioning Treatment with ioSeal weekly, bi-weekly or as needed. It's an "all-in-one" stone care product for showers. With every cleaning it bonds an additional layer of protection above and beyond what penetrating sealers can do, helping protect both the stone and grout against stains, calcium, and limescale build-up. In my own shower I use it at least once a week, and I also use...
Supreme Surface® Daily Stone Cleaner For Granite, Quartz, Marble & More
The Supreme Surface® Daily Stone Cleaner is pH neutral and safe for use on all natural stones. It's formulated to be used with or without the shower cleaner and treatment I mentioned above. I prefer to use it on a more frequent basis than I do the treatment listed above because it will not remove the ioSeal protectants. Helpful tip... I also use it for cleaning the glass shower door and panels. No streaks!
- Tom Munro