Soapstone is quarried like granite and marble. It is a steatite stone and its primary components are magnesite, dolomite, chlorite, and talc. It can range in age from 300 to 400 million years old depending on which part of the planet it is drawn from. Soapstone is inert, so alkalis and acids won’t affect it as they will a granite, marble, or slate. As talc in soapstone is soft to the touch, it gives the smooth feeling of rubbing a piece of dry soap.
Because of its truly remarkable and natural heat retention characteristics, soapstone is widely used for masonry heater fireplaces, wood stoves, fireplace liners and pizza ovens. Soapstone heaters and fireplaces heat very quickly from burning coal, pellets or wood, the soapstone will then slowly radiate heat very evenly for hours on end – even after the fire has long gone out.
Care & Maintenance
Easy Care Tips
To get the longest life and preserve the beauty of your natural stone, follow these simple tips:
- Coasters: Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices.
- Trivets: While many stones can withstand heat, the use of trivets or mats is recommended.
- Dust Mopping: Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit are abrasive and can damage natural stone.
- Mats/rugs: Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that may scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a slip resistant surface.
- Vacuum cleaners: If used, be sure the metal or plastic attachments or the wheels are not worn as they can scratch the surface of some stones.
- Spills: Blot the spill with a paper towel immediately. Dont wipe the area, it will spread the spill. Flush the area with water and mild soap and rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary.
- Clean stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner, stone soap, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water.
- Similar to any item cleaned in your home, an excessive concentration of cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Follow manufacturer recommendations.
- Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results.
- Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth.
- Change the rinse water frequently.
- In the bath or 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 may eventually dull the surface of some stone types.
- In outdoor pool, patio or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.
- Many suppliers offer products used for stone cleaning.
- Products containing lemon, vinegar or other acids may dull or etch calcareous stones.
- Scouring powders or creams often contain abrasives that may scratch certain stones.
- Many commercially available rust removers (laundry rust stain removers, toilet bowl cleaners) contain trace levels of hydrofluoric acid (HF). This acid attacks silicates in addition to other minerals. All stones, including granite and quartzite, will be attacked if exposed to HF.
- Do not mix ammonia and bleach. This combination creates a toxic and lethal gas.
Sealing is a common step taken on some stones as an extra precaution against staining. In fact, the sealing products used in the stone industry are impregnators which do not actually seal the stone, but more correctly act as a repellent rather than a sealer. Sealing does not make the stone stain proof, rather it makes the stone more stain resistant. When consulting with your stone supplier, you may find that many stones do not require sealing. However, applying an impregnating sealer is a common practice.
When considering sealing, remember that sealing the stone does not make the stone stain proof, it makes it more resistant to staining.
If a sealer is applied in a food preparation area, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use.
Consult with your supplier or sealing manufacturer specific to the type of sealer and frequency of use recommended.