Soapstone Care & Maintenance
Your soapstone countertops a beautiful, durable work surface.
Soapstone is a steatite stone, and its primary components are talc, chlorite, dolomite and magnesite. When you rub your hands on the stone and then rub them together, the talc gives your hands a slippery “soapy” feel. This is how “soap” stone got its name.
Soapstone is non-porous. Liquids will sit on the surface and can be easily removed with soap and water. When left with a natural finish, soapstone has a grey, blue-grey or green-grey appearance, depending upon the soapstone color chosen. “Stains” are superficial only and can be sanded off.
If you choose to leave your soapstone un-oiled, it will naturally darken some with use. Because you will use some areas more than others, the stone will darken unevenly. This darkening is called patina and it is specific to you and how you use your countertops.
Soapstone is soft, so scuffs and scratches will show. These can be lightly sanded with 300 grit sandpaper. Deeper scratches can be removed using 80 to 200 grit paper (starting light and getting more aggressive if you need, then working back to higher grits for a smooth finish). Sometimes rough paper towels are enough to rub out a light scratch. Use a sanding block to avoid creating a noticeable dip where the scratch was. Many people choose not to sand their stone to further the patina and create an old-world aged look.
Mineral oil can be used to enhance the stone’s beauty. It will darken the stone and bring out features and colors not seen otherwise. It will also cover up the minor scratches left by daily use so sandpaper is not required. Avoid applying thick layers of oil as this is not desirable during daily use of the countertop. It should be rubbed in and excess removed. Several coats will be required initially (2 to 3 times a week), then periodic touch up will be needed (approximately once a month) to maintain the deep, dark color.
Organic Tongue Oil
Organic tongue oil can substitute for mineral oil. An initial two or three thin coats 24 to 48 hours apart are usually sufficient, then periodic (approximately six months to a year) touch up of worn areas or scratches is all that is needed. Tongue oil does not evaporate and dries to a hard finish on the stone. Like mineral oil, it brings out the natural beauty of the stone and darkens it significantly. Thin applications are required to prevent sticky build-up. Thin the tongue oil with a natural citrus solvent 2 parts solvent to 1 part oil) in a separate container. Rub onto the stone and use a clean dry towel to wipe off excess so the entire surface area looks even and not blotchy.