How to Clean Unsealed Slate Tile Floors

Unsealed slate tiles are a wonderful finish for any home however, this type of tiles when exposed to moisture, get easily damaged and discolored.

Therefore, the best way to clean unsealed slate tile floors is by sweeping or wiping with a dry mop to remove any dirt then wiping with a soft microfiber cloth dipped in a mixture of detergent and warm water. The cloth should be moist and not completely wet. Dry the surface with a towel and let it air completely, preferably overnight before resuming normal daily activities.

Materials you’ll need:

  1. Broom or dust mop
  2. pH-neutral stone cleaner
  3. Clean water
  4. Soft cloths or microfiber towels
  5. Soft-bristle brush or mop


  1. Remove Loose Debris: Start by sweeping or using a dust mop to remove loose dirt, dust, and debris from the surface of the slate tiles. This step prevents scratching during the cleaning process.
  2. Dilute pH-Neutral Cleaner: Mix a mild pH-neutral stone cleaner with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s important to use a cleaner specifically designed for natural stone.
  3. Test on a Small Area: Before applying the cleaner to the entire floor, test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the slate to ensure it doesn’t cause any discoloration or damage.
  4. Clean the Slate: Apply the diluted cleaner to the slate tiles. You can use a soft cloth or a mop with soft bristles. Gently scrub the surface, focusing on any areas with stains or spills. Avoid using excessive water; the goal is to clean without saturating the tiles.
  5. Rinse Thoroughly: After cleaning, rinse the slate thoroughly with clean water. Make sure to remove all traces of the cleaning solution. You can use a clean cloth or mop dampened with water for this step.
  6. Dry the Surface: Use dry, soft cloths or microfiber towels to dry the surface of the slate tiles. This helps prevent water spots and ensures that no moisture is left to seep into the stone.
  7. Regular Maintenance: To keep your unsealed slate tiles looking their best, sweep or dust mop regularly to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris. Clean up spills promptly to prevent staining.

Remember the key points:

  • Use a pH-neutral cleaner designed for natural stone.
  • Test any cleaner on a small area first.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals, abrasive tools, or excessive water.
  • Dry the surface thoroughly after cleaning.

The Dos and Donts of Cleaning unsealed Slate tiles

Cleaning unsealed slate tiles requires careful attention to prevent damage and maintain their natural beauty. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind


  1. Sweep Regularly: Regularly sweep or dust mop the surface to remove dirt and debris. This prevents scratches and helps maintain the slate’s appearance.
  2. Use a pH-Neutral Cleaner: When cleaning, use a pH-neutral cleaner specifically designed for natural stone. This ensures that the cleaner won’t harm the slate’s surface.
  3. Test Cleaners: Before using any cleaner, especially if it’s new or you’re unsure, test it on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration or damage.
  4. Clean Spills Quickly: Accidents happen. If you spill liquids on the slate, clean them up promptly to prevent staining.
  5. Use Soft Brushes or Mops: When scrubbing the slate, use soft brushes or mops to avoid scratching the surface. Microfiber cloths can also be gentle and effective.
  6. Rinse Thoroughly: After cleaning, rinse the surface thoroughly to remove any residue. Residue from cleaners can build up and dull the slate’s appearance.


  1. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Never use acidic or abrasive cleaners (such as vinegar, lemon juice, or bleach) on unsealed slate. These can etch the surface and cause permanent damage.
  2. No Steam Cleaning: Avoid using steam cleaners on unsealed slate. The heat and moisture can damage the stone and the grout.
  3. Don’t Use Excessive Water: While some water is fine for cleaning, excessive water can seep into the porous surface and lead to staining or other damage. Always dry the surface after cleaning.
  4. Stay Away from Wax or Sealants: Unsealed slate shouldn’t be treated with wax, sealants, or topical coatings. These can alter the natural appearance and can be challenging to remove.
  5. Don’t Use Rough Scrubbers: Avoid using steel wool or abrasive scrubbing pads, as they can scratch the surface of the slate.
  6. Don’t Let Dirt Build Up: Regular cleaning prevents dirt and grime from building up, which can make the cleaning process more difficult and potentially cause long-term damage.

Remember that unsealed slate is more susceptible to staining and requires extra care compared to sealed slate. Following these dos and don’ts should help you maintain your unsealed slate tiles in good condition while preserving their natural beauty.

Also read: How to clean ceramic tiles.

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