Cleaning and Maintenance of a Soapstone Countertop
One of the main advantages of soapstone countertops is that they are easy to clean and maintain. It is a common misconception that since soapstone has a soft surface, it can easily absorb liquids. Soapstone is actually highly waterproof and heatproof, making it very resistant to stains and damage. Spills and stains can easily be cleared with a quick wipe, using water and mild detergent. Here are some cleaning and maintenance tips for soapstone countertops.
Soapstone countertops are very easy to clean, but you can stay on the safe side by following the cleaning instructions given by your manufacturer. Most manufacturers recommend the use of mild detergents to remove stains on the surface of a soapstone countertop. Avoid using acidic cleansers, such as lemon and vinegar, because acid can easily corrode the countertop and cause permanent disfiguration. Also, do not try to scrub stains away with abrasives like steel wool or scouring pads. Clean off stains using a low grade sandpaper, preferably 80 grit. Make sure the sandpaper has small grains and is only slightly abrasive.
Soapstone countertops require a moderate degree of maintenance, which most people consider its biggest disadvantage. Regular applications of mineral oil are recommended every four to eight weeks, which can serve both an aesthetic and functional purpose.
There are two types of mineral oils for soapstone countertops. One is used to give the soapstone a darker, richer color, as well as a shiny finish. The other type protects the colors from staining by adding an extra waterproof layer on top of the stone. Mineral oil can also be rubbed over an area that has been sanded to remove a stain. This will cure the abrasion left by the sandpaper and restore the countertop's original texture. Some people also apply thick coats of mineral oil to increase the countertop's heat absorption, making it more resistant to burns and cracks.