How to Clean Rough Stone Backsplash

A stone backsplash can be a beautiful addition to any kitchen, providing texture and natural elegance. However, keeping a stone backsplash clean can be a challenge, especially if it has a rough surface texture. Unlike smooth tile, rough stone has microscopic pits and depressions that can trap dirt, grease, and bacteria. With the proper techniques and cleaning solutions, you can keep your rough stone backsplash hygienic and looking its best.

Why Proper Cleaning is Essential

Cleaning a rough stone backsplash regularly is important for a few key reasons:

Prevent Bacteria and Mold Growth

The tiny nooks and crannies in rough stone provide the perfect environment for bacteria, mold, and mildew to grow if not cleaned properly. This can lead to staining, odors, and create unsanitary conditions. Regular cleaning helps sanitize the surface and prevent harmful microbes from taking up residence in the stone pores.

Reduce Stains and Etching

Rough stone is prone to trapping grease, food debris, and liquids. Over time, these can leave stains, discoloration or etch the stone surface. Staying on top of spills and messes through frequent cleaning can help prevent stubborn staining issues.

Restore Shine and Luster

While rough stone does not have a polished finish, routine cleaning will keep it looking its best. Removing cooking film and built-up dirt will help maintain the stone’s natural appearance and shine.

Extend Backsplash Lifespan

Like any surface, accumulation of dirt and grime can slowly start to degrade natural stone. Effective cleaning methods lift soils from the stone rather than drive them in deeper. This helps preserve the integrity of the material for years of beauty and performance.

Supplies and Tools Needed

Cleaning a textured stone backsplash does require some specialized tools and cleaners. Here are some recommendations:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Baby shampoo or mild dishwashing liquid
  • Stone cleaner formulated for rough surfaces
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean bucket or bowl
  • Grout brush
  • Grout sealer
  • Dry towel
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Painter’s tape

Avoid using acidic cleaners like vinegar, bleach, and ammonia as these can etch and damage many stone surfaces. Always spot test cleaners in an inconspicuous place before widespread use.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Here is a thorough, safe process for effective cleaning of rough stone backsplashes:

1. Remove Surface Debris

Start by using a soft microfiber cloth to wipe away any dirt, dust or debris sitting loosely on the stone surface. This prevents it from being driven into the stone texture during the deeper cleaning steps.

Check crevices along the edges by the countertop or cabinetry for crumbs, dirt buildup or grime accumulation. Use a baby wipe, soft cloth or grout brush to dislodge and wipe away anything found.

2. Wash with Baby Shampoo Solution

Mix a mild soap solution of 2-3 drops of baby shampoo or mild dishwashing liquid per quart of warm water. Use a clean microfiber cloth, soft bristle brush or sponge to wash the entire backsplash surface.

Apply the soap solution generously over the stone. Gently scrub in circular motions to lift dirt from the roughened texture.

Rinse thoroughly with clear water, wiping away all soap residues. Check for any remaining debris or stains. Repeat washing if needed on stubborn spots.

Tip: Use painter’s tape to seal off any areas you do not want wet, like countertop edges or wallpaper trim.

3. Disinfect with Rubbing Alcohol

For routine disinfecting and sanitizing purposes, periodically go over the backsplash with rubbing alcohol. This will kill germs and help prevent future bacteria or mold growth.

Spray or wipe rubbing alcohol liberally over all areas of the stone. No need to scrub. Simply let the alcohol sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping dry with a clean cloth.

4. Deep Clean with Stone Cleaner

For periodic deep cleaning, use a specialty stone cleaner formulated for rough surfaces. Test in an inconspicuous spot first before full application.

Apply the stone cleaner evenly across the backsplash surface. Let it dwell for 5-10 minutes.

Use a soft bristle brush and gentle circular scrubbing to work the cleaner into the textured stone. This will lift embedded grease and soils from the roughened face of the stone.

Rinse thoroughly until all cleaner residu