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Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

Posted by djdoggone (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 3, 08 at 10:33

We've had a soapstone woodstove for decades. I absolutely love how it works and how it looks. I'd dismissed the idea of soapstone countertops because I thought you had to seal them with mineral oil, making them blacken. But when we were at the woodstove store to order their soapstone gas stoves for our cottage, I saw a kitchen display and the countertops and sink were of that lovely grey color. I commented to the salesman that I'd go with soapstone in the new kitchen if I could keep the countertops looking like that, instead of oiling them, and he said I needn't, that they have a sealer they use for customers who wish to retain the grey color. The sealer should be used at least once a year, maybe twice. The display I loved, however, hadn't been sealed.

Has anyone any experience with this? I can't remember the sealer name. I think it had miracle in it (and I hate products that have miracle in their names because you KNOW they aren't).


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

First off, from what I understand soapstone is NOT sealed. People only put the oil/beeswax on them b/c they like the oiled look or to hide minor scratches...i.e., for purely aesthetic reasons.

If you like the light gray of soapstone and don't mind the "patina" (the minor scratches that come with everyday use), then by all means leave it unoiled...it's actually less work!

We have a couple of soapstone experts and many, many soapstone owners on the Forum, so I'm sure you will get much more information!

So....get that soapstone and enjoy it! I couldn't talk my DH into soapstone (he hates veins of any kind and quantity), so didn't get it...but I wish I could have!


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

Over time, the stone would darken in the areas where you prepare food. You would end up with drips and splashed from eating and preparing food. However, you could strip off the oil stains pretty easily I think.

I don't know about different varieties of soapstone but my Santa Rita goes completely back to the original grey when I have used Goof Off (AKA xylene). I always clean my paint stuff right on the counter. When I am finished, the soapstone is the original grey color in the areas where the Goof Off was. When I used oven cleaner to clean a really carbonized pan, the stone also faded. I just have to smooth some Bee's Oil over it to get it back to grey.

This might be a solution for you.

This would allow you to clean up the drips that would inevitably stain your stone. Any kind of grease will leave a mark. This means salad dressing drips, butter smears from your knife etc.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey? More

Oh I forgot...
Obviously you would have to thoroughly clean the area after you use the goof off since you would be preparing food on it. This is more a spot cleaner idea.

Also just using detergents takes off quite a bit of color so that would be a first line of attack on dark spots.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

I'm afraid goof off is a no-go. It is way too potent for our home: tiny & tight. And way too potent for me.

Are you saying the soapstone would darken in any case? Our wood stove might be a little darker than when bought, but it isn't dark -- nothing like an oiled soapstone. Maybe it has to do with the fact that it is heated? And there's no food prep on it -- though it does act as a cook stove at times.

Anyone else not oil their soapstone?


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

As I understand it, you can't use a sealer on real soapstone. Because it's non-porous, there's nothing for the sealer to grab onto.

You can certainly leave it unoiled, though. I think the grey is lovely. If you do get oil on it, you can just wash it down with some Dawn or other grease-cutting detergent. When I have dripped a little Dawn on my oiled stone, it gets it right down to the grey in no time.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

We have a Tulikivi, a woodburning fireplace. It's about 6 years old and gray, but it has a few dark fat stains from grilling meat in it. I never knew these were removable, so thanks for mentioning that. I'd be afraid unoiled soapstone would get stains on it, but it seems it's reversible? You can actually go back and forth between dark and light? A few months ago I oiled a scrap piece. It's still very dark, almost black, and hasn't faded. I'm not sure why, since people always say if you don't keep it oiled it fades again.

Can anyone guess why this would be? Does it have something to do with how smooth it is? The scrap wasn't sanded to a very smooth finish.


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Dawn

It may depend on how smooth it is and, also, on how hard or soft it is. Some soapstones take a lot less oiling than others to get and stay dark. Mine is to the point of staying pretty dark after only about eight oil treatments. If they act different with oil, they will likely act different with detergents, too, so there's no telling if Dawn is the answer to your grease stains. If you decide to try Dawn on yours, egganddart49, I'd be interested in hearing how it goes.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

Interesting. I"ll buy some dawn and try it. I'll let you know.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

although lately i have been oiling, for a period of time, i did not and the ss stayed its light gray/green color...anything containing oil will leave a mark (potato salad, bottom of oil bottles, meat, tuna salad,any cooking splatters,etc...) i did try washing them out, but whatever dish soap i used did not remove the oil stains...we cook alot and that is one of the reasons i have gone back to oiling


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

The soapstone company recommends 511 impregnator from Miracle Sealants. It says it provides water, stain and slip protection for...and then lists many things, including glazed tile, but not soapstone. Miracle says "511 Impregnator forms an invisible barrier that is resistant to moisture and stains while allowing vapor to escape." Guess that's why it would "protect" the original color of the soapstone. Have searched it here and I haven't seen anything bad about it.

Leaving the stone alone and washing with soap and water sounds even better...if the soapstone won't darken.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

An impregnator is a waste of time and money with soapstone. Soapstone is NON-porous, which is why sealants and impregnators will not work. I don't know which 'soapstone company' recommended the 511, but that misinformation makes me question their knowledge of soapstone in it's entirety.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

I have been using my soapstone for over a year. I oiled a couple times and then stopped as it is impossible to keep it oiled and also cook like I do on it. I knead bread and roll pie dough etc all the time. i wipe down with the dishsoap and cloth. It has never had an oil stain from even pie dough. It is uniformly darker than it was when i got it but that is from the cooking and wiping. I guess I just wanted to say that it doesn't get "grease" stains. I think as others have said it depends on the stone you have and how it ages. c


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

My soapstone counters and island tops were installed late last summer. I used the beeswax/mineral oil mixture on them twice around that time because I was curious to see how they'd look oiled.

We moved in over the holidays. I never got around to oiling again, and found I liked the soft, matte charcoal grey color they had turned back to. I cooked, baked, served, and hand-washed dishes on/around them and never had problems with stains or odd discolorations. I will grant you that we're there mostly weekends this time of year, but that said, that kitchen likely sees more use during a weekend than most kitchens see in a week. Lots of company - lots of meals!

Funny seeing your post today, because just yesterday I had a couple hours alone and got to urge to wax the soapstone - just wanted to see it blackened up. It's like having new countertops all over again!

In reply to your question, though, my soapstone was staying grey and looking fine with no other treatment than dish soap on a microfiber cloth for cleaning.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

I just finished installing a soapstone sink and countertop in my kitchen. I want to keep it the original grey and the vendor told me I could. However, after using the countertop for about a month I will say this. Nothing stains it except oil and grease, and those stains are very difficult to get out. I've tried Goof-Off and it's only partly successful. Today, I will try oven cleaner. No amount of Dawn and scrubbing removes the stains. The oil stains are unsightly and a big disappointment to say the least. Today I am also calling the vendor to see what they say. I probably will end up treating the countertop with mineral oil to prevent future staining.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

I don't know how well it works with the soapstone, though it gets good reviews on the Garden Web for other stones, but you might try 511 impregnator from Miracle Sealants, the sealant recommended by the soapstone company with whom I spoke. It is what they suggest for people who wish to keep their soapstone a lighter color. I imagine it is worth a try if you are willing to try oven cleaner, and don't want the dark, oiled look. If you do, let us know what you think.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

djdoggone, Since the big oil stain, I've tried a lot of things. The solvents are only partly successful, as is the use of a commercial poultice. However, from Yahoo! Answers, I realized the stain was not deep, and was very easily sanded out (and then buffed to original finish). Now that I have a clean slate again, I will try the 511 Impregnator and Miracle Sealants Countertop Polish. The mineral oil/beeswax is out for me because it is blotchy if not applied regularly, and it turns my beautiful gray speckled soapstone almost black! I'll let you know how the 511 Impregnator works. To those who say that nothing can impregnate soapstone, I say, just spill a little hot olive oil on it, and you'll see that it's not the case.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

Thanks very much. I'll be very interested to hear your results. Thanks for being the guinea pig :-)


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

Here are the preliminary results of working with 511 Impregnator. Very successful but not perfect. Goes on easily with very little odor. It is nontoxic and approved for use on a countertop, though they recommend using their countertop polish on top of it (which I will also test). It slightly darkens the original gray but for my soapstone, it is acceptable. I should mention I have a speckled gray, very hard soapstone from a quarry in Virginia (NOT Brazilian soapstone, which is the most common type). Virginia soapstone is some of the hardest in the world, which is why I think the oil stain was so hard to get out with a solvent. I applied the 511, let it dry, and then applied a second coat. After letting it dry for several hours, water and all other liquids bead up on it. I spilled olive oil on it deliberately and let it sit. Later, it wiped up with a damp cloth alone, leaving 99% no trace. The trace was hard to detect, so I deemed the test successful. I will test more, but I am pleased enough that I have decided to leave my soapstone the original gray.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

I keep my soapstone grey. I use Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile soap on a blue scrubbie sponge and all the grease stains come right off. Best thing is, this soap is safe for brshing your teeth, so I don't worry about it getting on food if I accidentally miss wiping all of it off.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

Acetone or mineral spirits will remove oil stains from SS--no need to sand. In fact, spot sanding should really not be done. It causes waves and divets in the surface.

Alberene Soapstone recommends Tenax-Ager(sealer/enhancer) for their customers who don't wish to oil but want the oiled look.

Roger, owner of M. Texeriera Soapstone, has sealed the Malibu Green he has used throughout his home.

There is no need to seal soapstone, but you certainly can.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

Read my other posts. My soapstone is harder than most. Acetone, mineral spirits, goof off were not successful in removing grease stains. Not all soapstone is alike. Soap removes grease stains on some kinds of soapstone. Acetone and Goof Off will remove grease stains on other types. But, trust me, I tried everything. When all else failed, I sanded it, and it didn't take much at all. Then I buffed the sheen back into it and sealed it with 511. But I agree, you don't have to do this with all types of soapstone.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

That's very strange, usermjs. I also had Alberene soapstone in my last kitchen, and mineral spirits removed all my cooking oil stains (overnight rings from olive oil bottles, etc.) Mine was honed to a high sheen, so maybe that made a difference.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

usermjs: Thanks so much for reporting in. You have gone to a lot of trouble -- I guess you were forced into it by circumstance, but it sure helps me to know that the 511 worked. I had no idea soapstones were so different. What you learn here! Thanks.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

I have now owned my gray speckled soapstone countertop and sink for over five years. To make a long story short. Don't use any sealers to keep the stone gray. I've tried them, and they are blotchy like oil. Instead, use wax that is commercially available JUST FOR SOAPSTONE (e.g., Alberene soapstone wax). Not blotchy like oil. Only needs to be retreated every 6 to 8 months. The stone will only get dark if you do several retreatments close together. In that sense, you control how dark you want your stone. One application of the wax barely darkens the stone.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

usermjs--

This is exactly the info I need because I was just discussing this with the fabricator today, and he looked at me askance when I said I wanted to try to keep the counters grey. He did suggest the wax the quarry offers rather than oiling, so I am glad to hear that if I do this, and only do it maybe twice a year, my counters should stay the more grey color. Thanks much.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

usermjs --

i know this thread is a little old, but in case you are still checking in.... was wondering how it's going with the dry wax? Have you been able to maintain the gray color (i.e., how much darker than original is it?), and has it fixed the issue with oil spots? I was considering Miracle 511, until I read your post. If you see this, can you also tell me what it means when you say the sealer was "blotchy"? Thanks!


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

I just took a look at the Alberene website because I have soapstone I have had in for about 6 or 7 months. I like the grey color and have not treated it. It's doing okay, and I have figured out a method to maintain it that is not difficult.

Looks like usermjs was giving out info that contradicts the Alberene website. Here is what that says.

"Some people like to keep the stone’s natural coloring. If that’s the case, you don’t need to do anything. The stone will darken with age but not significantly. It will patina.

If you want to darken the stone, there are three basic options: mineral oil, dry wax and chemical treatment (e.g., Tenax Tiger Ager).

We recommend using a dry wax."


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

Zanne- usermjs is probably referring to the inability of the impregnating sealant to prevent all oil marks which lead to blotchy marks. Another GW member conducted some tests on a soapstone sample with both enhancing sealants and impregnating sealants, the results can be seen on the thread linked to below. As usermjs has said, all soapstones are different so it is a good idea to test on samples of the exact type that you plan to use.

Needinfo- Usermjs was clear that one coat of the wax left the stone a slightly darker gray but multiple coats would turn it dark. The various types of soapstone will react differently so it is a good idea to have a sample of yours and try out whatever methods you are interested in.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sealants on soapstone


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

@needinfo1 -- can you tell me the method you use that is "not difficult." I am one of those who have ss that I want to maintain, but my stone is a total pia & wants to hold on to oil stains. I like the natural color & hate the oiliness that comes from mineral oiling.

@athomeinva -- thx! I will check out the link. I have seen a few of your posts here & there & think your ss is beautiful & love that you are a proponent of "don't knock it 'til you've tried it" sealing. I think at this point, we can all agree that different ss behave differently, so who's to say that certain ss won't accept a sealer? ; )


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

Is there a soapstone that will not accept oil? Both oil and sealants create coating on the top of the stone so if oil works then sealants should as well. I have not heard one actual case of a ss that would not accept sealant.

The reason that some believe that ss cannot or should not be sealed is in part based on the fact that it is nonporous but the sealants are not absorbed into stone, they create a layer on top of the stone. SS does not need to be sealed but there is no reason why it would reject it. I tested sealant on my soapstone from VA and some Brazilian soapstone that we had considered and both worked the same and there have been others on GW that have sealed their stone with no issue.

Vt ss care guide with info on sealants

SS care and sealant info

Information on various types of sealants

As far as impregnators that prevent oil absorption, you have to use an oleophobic impregnator. The Miracle 511 is only oil resistant, not truly oil repellent.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

@athomeinva--thanks for the links & making the distinction. Would you happen to know which of the "good" sealers are oleophobic? Which sealer did they use on yours?


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

Most are not, including the 511 seal and enhance which I used on my counters. Because my sealant enhances the stone to the darker gray the oil marks do not show so it does not need to be olephobic.

If you google oleophobic sealants several come up but these are heavy duty sealants mainly intended for exterior use. I do not know if any of the typical sealants used on counters are truly oil proof.


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RE: Could I Keep the Soapstone Grey?

@athomeinva--thanks for the links & making the distinction. Would you happen to know which of the "good" sealers are oleophobic? Which sealer did they use on yours?


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