Floor-cleaning Tips

Flagstone and Slate Floors

Flagstone and slate are natural-stone flooring materials that are similar. They have rough, porous surfaces and are set into grout.
  • Flagstone and slate floors must be sealed with a commercial sealer, not lacquer or varnish.
  • The best way to seal a flagstone or slate floor is with a commercial sealer for terrazzo and slate. After the sealer dries, apply two thin coats of an acrylic floor finish with a long-handle wax applicator fitted with a lamb's wool pad, or apply paste wax with a floor-polishing machine. To do this, use a spatula to spread a small amount of paste wax directly on the brushes of the polisher. Slowly operate the polisher back and forth to apply a thin coat of wax. When dry, buff the floor.
  • A self-polishing liquid will build up on your floor, and you'll occasionally have to strip the wax buildup and rewax. After applying the stripper according to the manufacturer's directions, rinse the floor thoroughly with clear water, then apply wax.
  • Damp-mop flagstone or slate floors using either clear water, an all-purpose cleaning solution in warm water, or water to which fabric softener has been added. Wring the mop until it doesn't drip, and apply it to the floor in slow, even strokes. If the freshly mopped floor dries with a luster-dulling film, you can mop it again with water containing a cup of white vinegar; the floor will glisten.
Thank goodness for linoleum, which is easy to maintain as long as it has been waxed. Read about how to clean linoleum floors in our next section.