Modern grey slate-stoned bathroom with grey soaking tub, shower, and sliding glass door.

Pro Tips for How to Clean Natural Stone Tile Showers: 2024 Guide

When it comes to maintaining a natural stone tile shower, ensuring it stays clean and pristine can be challenging. Natural stone adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to any bathroom space, but without proper care, it can become a breeding ground for grime and soap scum, things we all want to avoid.

Table Of Contents
  1. Natural Stone Tile Showers: Why They're Great
  2. Challenges of Cleaning Natural Stone Tile Showers
  3. Essential Tools and Materials for Cleaning
  4. Our 7 Favorite DIY Natural Stone Tile Cleaners
  5. Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Natural Stone Tile Showers
  6. Maintaining the Cleanliness of Natural Stone Tile Showers
  7. Wrap-up: Cleaning Natural Stone
  8. Cleaning Natural Stone Tile: FAQs

  • One of the key benefits of keeping your natural stone tile shower clean is not just for aesthetic purposes but also for hygiene. Over time, dirt and grime can build up, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
  • Common issues when cleaning natural stone tile showers include the risk of using harsh chemicals that can damage the stone’s surface.
  • Many traditional cleaners contain acidic or abrasive ingredients that can etch or scratch the stone, marring its beauty and longevity. When choosing cleaning products, we recommend choosing ones designed to clean natural stone to prevent this.
  • Clean gently. Gentle scrubbing with a soft brush and using pH-neutral cleaners will ensure you don’t damage the tiles.
  • Regular maintenance and sealing can also help protect the stone from water damage and stains.

By understanding the importance of proper cleaning techniques and investing time in maintaining your natural stone tile shower, you can enjoy a luxurious and hygienic bathroom space for years to come.

Follow along as we explore effective methods and tips for keeping your natural stone tile shower looking its best.

Natural Stone Tile Showers: Why They’re Great

Who doesn’t love the look of natural stone, especially in a clean, sleek, modern bathroom? We’d love to have more natural stone in our home than we do because it’s so beautiful. But, beyond beauty, there are other reasons why this is a great option in the bathroom.

Advantages of Natural Stone Tiles

  • Natural stone tiles are renowned for their durability, making them an excellent long-term investment for your shower.
  • They’re very durable and can withstand daily use while maintaining their beauty over time (with some regular care and cleaning).
  • Additionally, the natural patterns and textures of stone tiles add a touch of elegance to any space, elevating the overall aesthetic of your shower.
  • Not only do natural stone tiles enhance the visual appeal, but they’re also highly desirable from a home value perspective. Home-buyers love natural stone materials, especially when they’re used tastefully in the bathroom.

Common Types of Natural Stone Tiles Used in Showers

When it comes to natural stone tiles for showers, several popular options dominate the market.

  1. Marble: Known for its luxurious appearance, marble brings a sophisticated look to showers. Its veining patterns create a unique and timeless aesthetic.
  2. Travertine: This type of stone offers a rustic charm with its natural pits and voids. Travertine tiles are available in various earthy tones, adding warmth to the shower space.
  3. Slate: Slate is a popular choice due to its durability and slip-resistant properties. It comes in an array of colors, from classic gray to warm terracotta, providing some nice variety in terms of design.
  4. Limestone: Limestone tiles exude a soft, natural elegance, perfect for creating a soothing ambiance in the shower. The subtle variations in color add depth to the overall look.

Each type of natural stone tile brings its own unique characteristics to the shower, catering to different preferences and design styles. When designed and installed correctly, the result is visually stunning.

Challenges of Cleaning Natural Stone Tile Showers

Maintaining natural stone tile showers presents unique challenges that require careful attention and a few simple cleaning techniques. Let’s delve into why this tile material can sometimes be more difficult to clean than other materials.

Sensitivity of Natural Stone to Harsh Cleaners

Natural stone, while durable, is also vulnerable to harsh cleaners.

  • Abrasive chemicals found in many commercial cleaners can wreak havoc on the surface of natural stone tiles, causing damage and discoloration over time.
  • It’s crucial to steer clear of non-stone-specific cleaners that contain ingredients that can harm the integrity of the stone.
  • Opting for gentle, pH-neutral cleaners specifically formulated for natural stone is essential to preserve its beauty and longevity.

Risk of Staining and Etching

One of the primary concerns when cleaning natural stone tile showers is the risk of staining and etching.

  • Certain substances, such as acidic cleaners or soap scum, can definitely damage natural stone, so avoid using them when cleaning.
  • Acids, including even mild solutions like vinegar and water, have the potential to etch and deteriorate various types of natural stone, compromising their long-term durability.
  • Implementing a proactive approach by using cleaning products designed for natural stone can help mitigate the risk of unsightly stains and etching, ensuring your stone surfaces retain their original characteristics.

Mildew and Mold Growth

Natural stone showers provide an ideal environment for the growth of mildew and mold due to their porous nature.

  • This tendency to attract and harbor moisture can lead to unsightly mold patches and mildew stains, detracting from both the visual appeal and hygiene of the shower space.
  • Regular cleaning and proper ventilation are crucial to combat mold and mildew growth in natural stone showers.
  • As with most things in life, being proactive about the cleaning routine for natural stone will prevent bigger problems later.

Essential Tools and Materials for Cleaning

Maintaining the beauty of your natural stone tile shower also involves using the right tools and materials.

Soft Bristled Brush and Non-Abrasive Sponge

When cleaning natural stone tile surfaces, it’s crucial to use gentle tools like a soft-bristled brush and a non-abrasive sponge. These tools help prevent scratches on the stone’s delicate surface, ensuring its longevity and preserving its natural allure.

  • The surface hardness of stone materials will vary depending on the specific stone installed in your bathroom. Therefore, the specific type of stone in your bathroom can be an important factor in how you clean it.
  • For example, you may clean polished marble differently than you’d clean slate.

pH-Neutral Cleaner and Sealer

To safeguard your natural stone tile from damage, opt for a pH-neutral cleaner.

  • Using a pH-neutral solution prevents harsh chemicals from eroding the stone’s surface.
  • Additionally, consider applying a sealer to protect the stone further. Sealing the natural stone helps maintain its luster and shields it against stains and moisture infiltration.

Our 7 Favorite DIY Natural Stone Tile Cleaners

If you prefer DIY cleaning solutions, there are household items that can clean natural stone tile without causing harm in most cases (see our notes below). Here’s a list of mostly gentle yet effective DIY cleaning solutions that are perfect for safeguarding your precious stone surfaces.

1. Mild Dish Soap Solution

  • Risk level: Low, safe
  • Recipe: Mix a few drops of pH-neutral dish soap with warm water.
  • Instructions: Use a soft cloth to wipe the surface, rinse with clean water, and dry with a towel.

Gentle on stone, this solution is ideal for daily cleaning. Ensure the cloth is ultra-soft to avoid any accidental scratches, keeping those tiles looking spotless and shiny.

2. Baking Soda Paste

  • Risk level: Low, generally safe with caution
  • Recipe: Combine baking soda with water to form a paste.
  • Instructions: Apply with a soft brush, scrub gently, rinse and dry.

Perfect for addressing tougher messes, but remember, baking soda is a mild abrasive. Use it judiciously and sparingly to preserve the natural luster of your stone tiles without wearing down the finish.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Risk Level: Low, conditionally safe for light-colored stones
  • Recipe: Mix hydrogen peroxide and water in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Instructions: Apply on light-colored stones to remove stains, rinse and dry.

Ideal for lifting stains from lighter stones, yet it’s crucial to test this solution in a hidden area first. Avoid using it on darker stones as it might lead to discoloration, maintaining the pristine look of your tiles.

4. Diluted White Vinegar Solution

  • Risk level: Medium, not safe for all stone types
  • Recipe: Equal parts white vinegar and water. We prefer even more dilution but do this at a minimum. A ratio of 2:1 (water to vinegar) works fine, and there’s a lower risk of damage.
  • Instructions: Suitable for granite in some circumstances, with caution.

While it’s often recommended without much caution, vinegar is acidic and can etch natural stones like marble, limestone, and travertine. It should be avoided unless you are certain your stone type can handle acidic cleaners (such as granite, and even then, with caution).

We still wanted to list vinegar in this section because it can be useful, but again, we’d prefer one of the other cleaning methods instead.

5. Cornstarch for Grease or Oil Residues

  • Risk level: Low, safe
  • Use: Sprinkle directly on greasy spots and let sit.
  • Instructions: After a few hours, brush off cornstarch, then clean with mild soap.

An excellent absorber, cornstarch pulls out grease without a fuss. Just make sure all the powder is thoroughly cleaned away afterward to avoid a gritty residue.

6. Soap Nuts

  • Risk level: Low, safe
  • Recipe: Boil a handful of soap nuts in water to extract the soapy solution.
  • Instructions: Use the liquid as a gentle cleaning agent.

These natural wonders offer a mild, chemical-free option for everyday cleaning, maintaining the integrity of your natural stone without the harshness of synthetic chemicals.

7. Essential Oils Enhancement

  • Risk level: Low, generally safe with caution
  • Suggestion: Add a few drops to your cleaning mixtures. Do not add more than a few drops.
  • Instructions: Provides a pleasant aroma and mild antibacterial properties.

A drop or two can add a refreshing scent and antibacterial properties. Do not use more than a few drops. Some essential oils, like myrrh or patchouli, are especially sticky and can leave a residue when not diluted.

These DIY solutions ensure your natural stone surfaces remain in peak condition, bringing out their natural beauty without the risk of damage when precautions are followed.

Always spot-test any new solution on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility with your stone. With the right care, your tiles will continue to add luxury and elegance to your home for years to come.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Natural Stone Tile Showers

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to effectively clean your natural stone tile shower:

1.) Preparation: Ventilation and Clearing the Area

Before diving into the cleaning process, ensure proper ventilation in the bathroom by opening windows or using a fan.

Ventilation helps dissipate cleaning fumes and accelerates drying. Clear the shower area of personal items to have unrestricted access for cleaning and prevent any accidental damage.

2.) Cleaning Process: Gentle Scrubbing and Rinsing

Start the cleaning process by using a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub the natural stone tiles.

  • Choose a pH-neutral cleaner specifically designed for natural stone to avoid damaging the surface (or a safe DIY cleaner).
  • Work in small sections, ensuring thorough cleaning.
  • After scrubbing, rinse the tiles meticulously with water to remove any soap residue or cleaner.

3.) Drying and Sealing: Ensuring Longevity

Once the cleaning is complete, it’s crucial to dry the surfaces thoroughly using a clean, dry cloth or towel.

  • Proper drying prevents water spots and maintains the shine of the natural stone tiles.
  • To protect the stone and ensure longevity, consider applying a suitable sealer following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Sealing helps repel water and stains, preserving the beauty of your natural stone shower.

Maintaining the Cleanliness of Natural Stone Tile Showers

Regular Cleaning Schedule and Tips

To maintain the beauty of your natural stone tile shower, establish a regular cleaning schedule. Consider the following tips:

  • Clean the tiles at least once a week using a pH-neutral cleaning product.
  • Use a soft microfiber cloth to gently wipe down wet areas of the shower.
  • Avoid harsh abrasive cleaners that can scratch the stone surface.
  • After cleaning, wash your microfiber towels weekly to prevent bacteria buildup.

Additionally, be sure to always ventilate while showering and for 5-10 minutes after showering to maintain low humidity and prevent the growth of mold. That means turning on the bathroom fan or opening a window. The less moisture, the less you’ll need to clean later.

Dealing with Stains and Hard Water Deposits

Tough stains and hard water deposits can detract from the appearance of your natural stone tile shower. Here are some solutions to address these issues:

  • For stains, avoid using acidic cleaners that can etch the stone. Instead, create a paste of baking soda and water to gently scrub the affected areas. Since this mixture is abrasive, do this sparingly.
  • Use any of the other cleaning methods described in previous sections to tackle hard water deposits. Additionally, a whole house filter and water treatment system, while expensive, can help with hard water issues.

Professional Cleaning and Restoration Services

Sometimes, deep cleaning and restoration of natural stone tile showers require professional expertise. Consider hiring professionals who specialize in cleaning, restoring, and sealing natural stone if you’re unsure about tackling the project yourself.

Wrap-up: Cleaning Natural Stone

By following the proper cleaning techniques, such as regular gentle wipe-downs and avoiding abrasive substances, you can preserve the beauty of your natural stone tiles for years to come.

  • It is crucial to remember that prevention is key when it comes to keeping your shower pristine and free from damage.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners that are unsafe for natural stone materials.
  • Your natural stone tiles are a valuable and unique feature of your bathroom space. Treat them accordingly by using caution when cleaning them.

Remember, a well-maintained natural stone tile shower elevates the visual appeal of your bathroom and contributes to a healthier and more inviting environment. Let’s commit to these cleaning practices for a lasting and beautiful bathroom sanctuary that you can enjoy for the long term.

Cleaning Natural Stone Tile: FAQs

Natural stone tile showers are a luxurious addition to any bathroom, but they require specific care to maintain their beauty. Here are some frequently asked questions we’ve put together for additional information.

1. How do I clean my natural stone tile shower without damaging it?

To clean your natural stone tile shower without causing damage, avoid harsh chemicals and acidic cleaners. Instead, use a mild pH-neutral cleaner specifically designed for natural stone. Mix the cleaner with warm water and gently scrub the tiles with a soft sponge or microfiber cloth.

2. Can I use vinegar to clean my natural stone tile shower?

It’s best to avoid using vinegar on natural stone tile as its acidic nature can etch and damage the surface over time. While it can be used with extreme caution (very diluted) on stone materials like granite, there are better DIY and store-bought alternatives that can be used instead.

Opt for a cleaner formulated for natural stone to ensure your shower remains pristine without risking harm.

3. How often should I seal my natural stone tile shower?

Sealing your natural stone tile shower protects it from moisture and stains.

Depending on the type of stone, aim to reseal your shower every 6 months to 2 years. Perform a simple water test to check if the sealer is still effective – sprinkle water on the surface, and if it beads up, the seal is intact. How often will also depend on the type and quality of the sealer you use.

4. What is the best way to remove soap scum from natural stone tile?

Soap scum can easily build up on natural stone tile showers. A gentle solution of warm water and mild dish soap can effectively remove soap scum without damaging the stone. Avoid abrasive scrubbers and opt for a soft sponge to preserve the stone’s finish.

5. Are there any DIY cleaning methods for natural stone tile showers?

Yes, you can create a DIY cleaner using warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap. However, just because it’s DIY doesn’t mean it’s safe for stone. Check out the DIY section in the post above for more information.

To ensure compatibility with your stone, test the solution in a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire shower.

6. How can I prevent mold and mildew growth on my natural stone tile shower?

To prevent mold and mildew in your natural stone tile shower, ensure proper ventilation by using an exhaust fan or opening windows after showering.

A regular cleaning schedule of cleaning at least once per week will inhibit mold growth and maintain a fresh shower environment.

7. What should I do if my natural stone tile shower develops stains?

If your natural stone tile shower develops stains, act promptly to address them.

  • For organic stains like mold or mildew, use a mildew cleaner specifically formulated for natural stone.
  • Apply a poultice made from cornstarch and water for oil-based stains to absorb the oil before cleaning.
Scroll to Top