Cleaning black slate floor

topic posted Sat, November 22, 2008 - 4:05 PM by  Tanemon
Hi. Not long ago, I put down some one-foot-square black slate tile for a floor. Gave it two coats of the recommended sealer. This is a rural, outdoorsy location, and a swath of the floor (though in the house) is in a high-traffic area. Up to now, sweeping or vacuuming - sometimes followed by a swish or two of a damp sponge mop - has been enough to keep it reasonably clean. But the season is changing and more dirt and mud have been tracked on the floor lately. My habit is resulting in a partial cleaning, but a bit of a dirty film still shows after the floor dries.

Just wondering if anyone here knows a good floor-wash product or mixture to use after vacuuming. I would like to get the floor looking good and clean again, and will probably need to do it once a week. Thanks.

posted by:
  • I think you just need to get it REALLY CLEAN however you can , and rinse it REALLY well. When it's completly dry seal it with TUNG OIL. (This is a Tibetin Monk Trick), 2 coats if possible after the first is dry. This works on any porous stone but needs to be reapplied on a high traffic ares at least a few times a year. Beside sealing it almost makes the stone look wet and that can be beautiful ! I've installed alot of woodstoves w/fieldstone and slate and always use TUNG OIL. Even at home.
  • Unsu...
    I had a huge double black slate sink and counter top some years ago. It was really gorgeous.
    At any rate I cleaned it with whatever I happened to have handy. Just a caution to stay away from things like Windex and other products that have wax in them. Wax will change the look and can get gummy over the years.
    Other than that good slate is pretty bullet proof.
    • Okay, stay away from Windex brand - and any others that have wax in them. But then are there particular brands of floor cleaner on the market that could be recommended for slate?

      I'll say again that the flooring was given two coats of sealer when we laid it. It was sealed with the sealer recommended by the tile retailer that I bought the slate from.
      • I wouldn't use *anything* on black slate without a combination of recommendations and discrete testing.

        But I'm trying to understand the part about Windex *containing* wax. I've always found Windex to be an excellent cleaner for *stripping* wax.

        When I read the MSDS data sheet for "Windex Blue ", I find no mention of wax (other than the fact that the brand is owned by S.C. Johnson Company ...guilt by association?). From what I can tell "Windex Blue" is mostly water, fortified with isopropanol and ethylene glycol.

        So Cliff, do you have inside information from secret sources?
        • Come to think of it, rather than checking MSDS (which are notoriously a pain to read) I should have checked Wikipedia

          Still no mention of wax, tho'
          • Yeah, but!!!........ LOL ;)

            I still wonder if there are there particular brands of floor cleaner (or some other type of cleaner) on the market that could be recommended as being really excellent for cleaning slate?
            • Tanemon, I've had products recommended to me as floor wax-sealer, and used it enthusiastically. At first it looked great and really seemed to seal it well. But after a time the floor looked rough and permanently dirty,no matter how well and thorough I cleaned it- which I could not understand..

              But after struggliing like that a while it occurred to me that it was the deteriorating sealer that actually made it look so bad. Not all specialist sealer products hold up to their promises. My experience is that chemically based sealers will get scuffed and start to look bad..

              In my case, I had to scrub all the sealer/wax off and start again with a different product.
              It could be that you are also experiencing the same..

              A well sealed piece of slate should come clean with just any type of soap., unless you have some specialist dirt there
              • Okay, then just dish detergent in warm water... that should do?

                I actually believe, from looking at it closely at this point, that the film being left is just dirt. It was dirt dissolved in water that smeared on, then dried.
        • Unsu...
          ****************But I'm trying to understand the part about Windex *containing* wax. I've always found Windex to be an excellent cleaner for *stripping* wax. ************

          Long ago and far away I was a lab manager and research engineer for an ultra high vacuum physics research facility.
          It was a fun job. I got to learn a lot. We routinely worked vacuum at about 3 or 4 times 10 to the negative power of 14 Torr using turbomolecular pumps, liquid helium coldfingers, getter pumps and the old standby mercury jet pumps.

          You have to clean a Ultra high vacuum tank out when switching operations or projects. The process involves cleansing with solvents and then baking the tank under vacuum to burn off all the molecular debris that cleansing didn't get off.

          One guy got smart and tried cleaning with Windex. We baked and baked and baked that system for days and days and then weeks trying to get it clean. Eventually we gave up an hooked a quadrupole mass spectrometer to it to see what the hell was in it. The culprit: Wax.

          I can't speak to the MSDS sheet but I had every reason to trust my equipment

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