The effect of alkaline substances on natural stone

If you have natural stone worktops or you are considering installing them, then it’s important to understand their strengths and weaknesses. While many people think of acidic substances as harmful, alkaline substances can also cause damage. Here’s what you need to know about alkaline substances and your stone worktops.

Alkaline substances cause etching

Acid substances like vinegar and tomatoes are known to cause damage to natural stone and they can even stain these surfaces. Alkaline substances can also cause damage in the form of etching. This is why it is so important to take care when preparing food and whenever you clean your worktops.

What is etching damage?

Etching is caused due to a chemical reaction between the substance and the surface. Think about a drinking glass that has just been washed in your dishwasher but it has a persistent white spot that will not go away. This is an example of etching due to the alkaline dishwashing detergent. To prevent this, you need to ensure that your dishes are thoroughly rinsed after the wash cycle. If you use highly alkaline cleaners on your worktops, you could end up with the same kind of result. Examples of substances that can cause etching include ammonia, alkaline strippers and heavy duty stone cleaners. Instead, you should ask your stone supplier for advice regarding the best cleaning products to use on your worktops.

Once the damage is done

You might think that all hope is lost once those etch marks appear. However, there is a solution. Depending on the type of stone, sometimes you can successfully remove etch marks by using a mild acidic solution. You need to make sure that you rinse the surface thoroughly once you are done, however, or you will cause more harm than good. Alternatively, you can always have the surface re-honed and re-polished.

Natural stone worktops are extremely durable and you will find that most types of damage can be repaired. Only severe damage will require the stone to be replaced.

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