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Cleaning the textured surface of cleft slate can be easy if you take an extra step to dry the slate after cleaning it. If you avoid a few common mistakes the stone will remain clean and beautiful for years. Do not use abrasive cleaners; they will scratch the stone. Do not use thick, creamy cleaners; they will stick in the natural pours of the stone. Do not use green, nylon scrubbing pads; they may scratch some stone. Use only tools with plastic and soft fiber parts. Mops and wet vacuums should not have any metal parts; these can scratch. Soft squeegees, soft sponges and soft, natural cloths are ok.

The best results can be obtained by using the right materials before soil accumulates. The best cleaner is a pH neutral cleaner formulated for cleaning natural stone. These cleaners contain minerals that can replace minerals stripped by pollution. Stone cleaners are available from many stone retailers. They are highly concentrated, and are actually economical to use.

Dilute 1 or 2 ounces of the stone cleaner in a 3 to 5 gallon bucket of clean, warm water. Fill another bucket with more clean, warm water. Apply the cleaner with the mop, then rinse the dirty mop in the second bucket of rinse water. Vacuum up the dirty water or squeeze the mop dry and mop up the dirty water on the floor. Rinse the mop again.

Empty both buckets; clean them well and rinse the mop. Refill both buckets with clean, warm water. Apply the rinse water to the floor. Vacuum up the rinse water or squeeze the mop dry and mop up the rinse water on the floor.

A stronger solution of stone cleaners can loosen small areas of stubborn dirt. Apply with a sponge and allow the cleaner to penetrate the soil. Wipe up thoroughly and rinse well.

Stain removal is not guaranteed. First determine whether the stain is water based (wine, etc.) or oil based (salad dressing). Some stone retailers sell poultices that can usually absorb the stain, until it is virtually undetectable. Follow the directions exactly. Usually the poultice is slightly moistened with a suitable liquid, and then spread over the stain. The poultice is usually covered with plastic wrap so that it remains moist. After the specified time has past, remove the plastic cover and wipe up the poultice. Clean with stone cleaner. If two applications of the poultice do not lighten the stain, it has penetrated the stone too deeply. Consult with a professional; professional cleaners may lighten some stains; however, oily stains in slate are often permanent.
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