Indianapolis, Greenwood, Noblesville, Franklin, Zionsville, Whitestown, Lafayette, Columbus, Martinsville, Bloomington, Carmel, Ft. Wayne, Plainfield, Shelbyville, Rushville, Richmond, Terre Haute, Madison, Aurora, Lawrenceburg, Bright, Dunkirk, etc.
Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Hamilton, Harrison, Fairfield, Loveland, Oxford, Lebanon, Goshen, Batavia, Springfield, Xenia, Bexley, Blanchester, Hillsboro, Wilmington, Georgetown, Chillicothe, etc.
Louisville, Lexington, Danville, Frankfort, Newport, Maysville, Cambell, Carlisle, Bloomfield, Bedford, Augusta, Richmond, Warsaw, Alexandria, etc.
(Musings of a Stone Designer)
Wednesday, April 18 2012
Contrary to popular myth, taking care of soapstone is actually quite easy. I recommend using a damp cloth with a gentle soap, such as dish soap, to regularly clean the stone. A harsh cleaner will not harm the soapstone, but it will strip off the oil patina that has begun to oxidize on the surface of the stone, making it necessary to increase your frequency of oil applications.
To keep an even appearance, mineral oil should be applied to the stone surface whenever it begins to look dry or blotchy--a couple of times a week at first, and less often as time passes. Usually after about a year, it only requires an occasional touch-up to maintain its fresh appearance. Remember, the oil is just an esthetic preference. It is in no way necessary to protect the surface of the stone. As a matter of fact, some homeowners actually prefer the un-oiled look. It is very freeing to know that if you neglect to oil your countertops for months, or even indefinitely, no harm will come to the stone because of it.
Soapstone looking a bit dry
Freshly oiled surface
Personally, I like to oil my countertop. It brings me pleasure to watch it come to life, as the dark part of the stone intensifies and the veining pattern becomes more prominent. (I should mention, that I also like to clean my house, and I like rainy days and Mondays, so take my opinion as you will)
Nonetheless, like everyone else I know, I often get too busy to even get a haircut, let alone to indulge in weekly, leisurely house cleaning sessions and home maintenance tasks. So I, too, need to keep my maintenance chores to a minimum.
That is why, after over ten years of living with soapstone (very satisfying years, I might add) I have developed my own little "soapstone maintenance kit."
The kit consists of three tools that every soapstone kitchen should have:
1. A cloth, slightly damp with mineral oil.
The damp cloth is kept in a small plastic container under my sink. (I use a recycled ice cream bucket, but even a plastic bag will do) Occasionally I need to spray on a bit of additional oil, but most of the time, the damp cloth is more than adequate. This method is very quick and keeps my surface from looking oily.
2. A black Sharpee marker.
Whenever the surface of my soapstone becomes scratched, I simply wipe on a bit of mineral oil to make the mark disappear. However, if the scratch is too deep and a white mark remains even after applying the oil, as sometimes happens, I get out the Sharpee. Simply fill in the scratch or chip with the black marker, then oil as usual--you will never know the scratch was there.
3. A large cutting board.
This seems like a no-brainer, but I include it here because I recommend using this tool for more than just cutting. In my own kitchen, I keep a very large plastic board conveniently under my cooktop, right next to my most often-used prep surface. I frequently pull it out to protect the surface whenever I am opening cans or large jars, crushing spices or pounding chicken.
Inevitably, scratches happen on soapstone. So while I try my best to avoid them, when they do occur, I am reminded that they don't bother me a bit--I even think they look kind of good! (remember, I like gray skies and dusting)
My camera found this scratch that the naked eye couldn't see
This interview is a must-read for anyone considering soapstone in their home.
Interview with a soapstone owner
Soapstone is not for everyone, but it is definitely for me.