Cleaning Slate Floors

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Mike Lyons (Cardiff Stone Care)

Tile | Stone | Slate | Travertine | Marble | Limestone | Victorian floors

Cleaning slate floors and walls

Cleaning slate floors, because of it being such a robust material, can be carried out with great affect either by using a cleansing solution, steam or a mixture of both

Then all that needs to be done is to protect it topical seal that bonds to the surface or a penetrating sealant that will keep it looking good year after year.


Slate as we know it, is found to be a pleasing grey colour sometimes bordering on black, however there is some slate that is more colourful and has the rusty brown deposits in it that can brighten the look considerably.

The texture is dense and what might seem to absorb soiling is probably removable without too much work, given that the right cleaning solutions for slate are used.

It is hard right through and will take an awful lot of punishment in its lifetime, whether or not it's used for floors OR walls and is equally durable inside or used outside on patios, paths and steps etc.


Cleaning slate floors is the same as cleaning a lot of other natural stone floors and at some time could have been coated with sealants, waxes or polishes which have to be removed to reveal the original finish.

Once removed and the natural slate is revealed, the process of protecting with a hard wearing solution can commence. There must also be a drying time before resealing.

Removing a considerable build up, is simply a matter of using alkaline cleaners in a diluted mix that gently but effectively works well for cleaning slate floors.

By re applying the alkaline treatment and wet vacuuming off, you will eventually reveal the raw surface. 

Because slate can be riven in nature, a close bristle brush will achieve more than most machines (unless they rotate very slowly) as the texture is full of differing heights across the surface and only by working back and for across the floor (or wall), will you get into the little crevices, where dirt or previous sealants are found.

Once cleaned you'll have to allow a couple of days for it to dry before applying any sealant.

Sealants for Slate Floors

Because of its density it doesn't always need a penetrating sealant that absorbs into the slate, although if it's slate that you want to see in its original form, then it's a good idea to close off the surface to further soiling, by applying a quality sealant.

If you'd prefer a silk, satin or gloss finish then applying an acrylic polish or wax will change the finish to often make it easier to clean. Fila, Lithofin and LTP have some excellent retail products.

Whichever you decide, further slate cleaning becomes far easier when it has some level of protection.


The benefit of protecting your slate, is that there is less chance of spills and everyday accidents affecting the slate in any way.

It WILL become a lot easier to clean and probably you'll need less water to remove any dirt lying on the surface. Just a dry brush, vacuum or buffing pad to maintain the slate in good order.

If minor scuffs occur on what is known as the 'wear layer' (usually wax or acrylic polishes applied to the surface), can be quickly renewed by a 'topping up' with a light application of your chosen finish product.


As with everything in life, the better you maintain anything the longer it will stay in good order. This is certainly true of any floor finish applied after cleaning slate floors and should be seen as one of those maintenance jobs to be carried out regularly.

My own floors at home are regularly vacuumed and mopped with a recommended cleaning solution to keep the pleasing satin lustre that was initially applied some years ago. 

As with all companies that carry out this cleaning, sealing and restoration service they will recommend everything needed for aftercare, however, subsequent owners are left to guess at what's needed for their floors.

What happens, is that new owners use an alternative, resulting in the finish falling far short of what should be achieved.

There are many remedies for cleaning slate floors and their aftercare, which we can help you with, whether it's initial cleaning, sealing OR restoring of your slate floors and walls. Contact us for advice.

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