How to Clean Slate Fireplace

Want a clean slate fireplace hearth or fireplace surround? Here are the instructions you need for routine slate cleaning, deep cleaning, stain removal and polishing. Choose from either inexpensive home cleaning remedies or more expensive but powerful commercial slate cleaning products.

Natural slate is a durable product with an earthy, welcoming vibe. Because it is porous, however, it tends to absorb moisture and stains. And dust and dirt can accumulate, especially in the corners, and over time become difficult to remove.

Routine Cleaning of Slate Fireplace Hearths and Surrounds

  • Dust, sweep or vacuum the fireplace slate.
  • For routine cleaning, use a cloth to clean slate with a few drops of dish washing detergent or Spic and Span in a half bucket of water. Rinse with clean water; then wipe dry with another cloth. Allow to dry overnight before using additional cleaners or polishing.

Clean slate with soup and water for a routine cleaning

How to Deep Clean Slate

When the surface is thoroughly dried after a routine cleaning, try either of the cleaning processes recommended below:

Commercial products to clean slate

  •  Using a soft cloth, wipe the slate down with a thin layer of teak oil. With another clean cloth, remove any excess.

Clean slate with teak oil.

How to Remove Stains from Slate Hearths and Fireplace Surrounds

If the deep cleaning left any stains, try any of the procedures listed below to get stains off of slate:

  • One method of removing stains is to clean slate with a paste mix of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Wait until the bubbling ceases, then apply the paste to the stain. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then wipe off with a clean, moist cloth. Do not get this paste mixture on grout between slabs of slate.

clean slate stains with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste

  • If oil stains are the issue (popcorn and nachos by the hearth come to mind), a product specifically designed to remove such oil stains, such ad StoneTech Professional Oil Stain Remover, is recommended. Follow the directions exactly, and this product really does the job!How to remove oil stains from state
  • If soot and smoke stains are the primary problem, you can clean slate with Paint N Peel without using harsh chemicals.

Remove soot and smoke stains with Paint N Peel

  • For persistent stains that don’t respond to the hydrogen peroxide paste, scrub with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) carefully following manufacturer’s directions.

clean slate with trisodium phosphate

How to Polish Slate

Some of the commercial slate cleaners include a polishing agent. And if you have used teak oil to clean slate, that often provides a sufficient gloss.

For a bit more gloss on your slate, we recommend Black Diamond Wet Look Natural Stone Sealer. Because slate is a porous stone, it will not leave the “wet” look advertised, but it will give a good sheen. It also seals it from future staining.
How to add sheen to clean slate

In the eighteenth century, slate hearths were polished with hot mutton fat. As a 21st century alternative, we recommend teak oil or furniture polish.

 

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About

Susan shares ways to make homes, especially those with fireplaces, renewing spaces for families. When not writing for FireplaceMall.com, she can often be found by a fireplace with a book in hand.

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3 comments on “How to Clean Slate Fireplace
  1. Sandy Case says:

    It’s about time someone covered this subject! Cleaning Slate Hearths is a battle I have been going through for the last forty years. I have always just wiped it off with Lemon Oil but that didn’t really remove any of the stains it has accumulated over the years.
    Thanks for the information! I did learn something and should have known your website would be where I got the information from. Good Job Folks!

    Sandy in California

    • Tom says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Sandy!
      You may need to use one of the commercial slate cleaners or the baking soda-peroxide combination to get rid of those old stains.
      Good luck!

  2. Vincent De Cerchio says:

    Furniture polish like liquid gold does not work on hearth slate. When applied it looks good, but when the fireplace is turned on the slate becomes streaked with white where the polish from the heat.

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