Soapstone is softer than many other natural stones, it may have a tendency to scratch, chip, or crack. Soapstone has truly remarkable natural heat retention characteristics and has been widely used for masonry heater fireplaces, wood stoves, fireplace liners, and pizza ovens. Hot pots and pans may be set directly on soapstone without leaving any burn marks on the stone. Take caution when removing hot items off the surface, as the stone will absorb the heat and may be too hot to touch.
Many common household cleaners can be used to clean soapstone surfaces. Chemicals and acids do not harm it. However, we do recommend mild non-alkaline soap and water because harsher solvents may remove the mineral oil treatment, generating more maintenance.
True soapstone is inert. Alkalis and acids will not affect it as they will other natural stones. Although soapstone is soft to the touch, it is far from absorbent. Soapstone is one of the only natural materials that can be considered nearly impenetrable and will not absorb stains in the same way as some natural stone surfaces. Soapstone will discolor when a liquid makes contact with the surface, but liquids will evaporate from the stone, leaving no stain behind. If the surface picks up a stain or discolors, this is literally just on the surface. These marks can be scrubbed off the stone as they can’t penetrate the soapstone below the immediate surface. Stone sealers are made as a rule to penetrate granite and marble, not soapstone.
Soapstone has unique characteristics. When scratches do occur, they can be buffed out with fine grit sandpaper (300-400) and then treated with mineral oil. Using cutting boards with knives and avoiding abrasive cleaners and scraping heavy pots and pans along the surface will help reduce scratches. Even with the utmost care, eventually the countertops will get scratched. The process of repairing a scratch will depend on its size. Most scratches can be hidden by lightly applying some mineral oil. Deeper scratches will require sanding.
While it is up to the home owner to determine how often they would like to oil their countertops, we suggest the following schedule for applying mineral oil:
Weeks 2 – 4:
Weeks 5 – 9:
Week 10 to up to 18 months:
18 months and beyond:
1 application per week
1 application per two weeks
At least twice a year
As time goes on, you will need to oil less frequently, and will notice that the deep color will last longer between applications. We recommend using food grade mineral oil which can be found at many food and drug stores. To apply mineral oil, simply wipe oil over the entire countertop, and then wipe off with a clean, cotton cloth. The cloth may be stored in a plastic bag to be used for future applications or touch ups. You may also opt not to do anything to your soapstone and over time it will naturally darken from regular use.