slate hearth

How to Clean a Slate Hearth

A slate hearth not only adds a touch of elegance and cosiness to your living space but also serves as a functional and durable foundation to any fireplace. Our Westmorland Green Slate is the perfect choice for a stone hearth fireplace and has been used in homes here in the UK as hearth stone for centuries due to its naturally hardwearing, pollutant-resistant, fireproof, and waterproof properties.

Although slate hearths require little maintenance once they have been fitted, the slate hearth slab can become tarnished with soot, stains and grime over time. While some people prefer to clean a slate hearth by keeping on top of routine cleaning with a quick sweep or hoover, others may prefer to refresh their slate fireplace hearth less regularly with a deep clean.

When it comes to how often you should clean a slate hearth, it depends on how often you use your wood burner, and it is worth noting that you will not need to clean your slate hearth nearly as often in the summer as in the winter due to lack of use. When cleaning slate hearths, it is also important to be aware of which products are safe to use and which are not.

But fear not! In this guide we will walk you through the step-by-step process of cleaning a slate hearth, ensuring it remains a stunning focal point in your home.

slate hearth

What You Will Need:

  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Dustpan
  • Mild washing up liquid or stone cleaner
  • Warm water
  • Sponge or soft cloth (non-abrasive)
  • Cloth/towel for drying (non-abrasive)
  • Bucket

Deep Cleaning Slate Hearths: Step-by-Step

  1. Start by clearing the stone hearth fireplace of any loose debris, ash, or objects to ensure a clean workspace and prevent scratching during the cleaning process.
  2. Use a soft-bristle brush to gently dry brush the surface of the slate hearth to remove and further dirt, ash, and debris without the need for water.
  3. In a bucket, mix warm water with a mild washing up liquid or slate cleaner. Be sure to follow the slate cleaner instructions for proper dilution and ensure that the product can be used on slate hearths.
  4. Dampen a non-abrasive sponge or soft cloth in the cleaning solution, then gently scrub the surface of the hearth. Focus on stained areas, applying more pressure if necessary.
  5. Wipe the slate hearth with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue from the cleaning solution. Ensure that all soap or cleaner is thoroughly removed to prevent streaking.
  6. Allow the stone hearth fireplace to air dry completely before relighting the fireplace.
slate fireplace hearth

How to Polish Slate Hearth

Polishing your slate hearth will give it an extra shine, helping it to look its best and provide resistance to water, spillages, and staining. Using the proper materials and techniques when polishing your hearth will help protect it from damage.

To polish your slate hearth, you should begin by removing any loose debris or dust from the fireplace using a soft-bristle brush and dustpan before wiping down the slate with a damp cloth. Allow the slate to air dry completely, then add a few drops of slate oil or teak oil onto a clean, dry cloth and apply to the slate hearth with small circular motions. Finally, use a clean, dry cloth to buff the product for an extra shine.

Slate oil and teak oil can be found at many home improvement stores. It is important to ensure that the product is safe to use with slate and you should be aware that some slate oils and sealants can darken the natural colour of slate.

Routine Cleaning & Maintaining Slate Hearths

You can preserve the beauty of your slate hearth and reduce the need for cleaning slate hearths with these simple tips:

  • Use a fireplace screen to prevent any sparks, ash, and debris from reaching the slate hearth surface.
  • Address any spills or stains promptly to prevent them from becoming ingrained and more difficult to remove from the slate hearth.

Refrain from using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that could damage the slate.

slate hearth slab

How to Remove Candle Wax from Slate Hearth

Place brown paper over the wax and then place a hot iron over the paper until there are no more signs of candle wax. The wax should stick to the brown paper but keep a close eye, making sure it doesn’t burn. The surface may need cleaning afterwards with a cloth dampened in hot soapy water. Be sure to dry the area after cleaning with a new, dry cloth and allow for the area to air dry.

How to Remove Stains from Slate Hearth

Spillages, stains and watermarks are the most common issues when it comes to cleaning slate hearths. It is important to clean up any spillages from the slate hearth as soon as possible using a mix of mild washing up liquid and warm water to help prevent the stain from becoming ingrained. Simply follow the foolproof step-by-step instructions above for cleaning any spillages and watermarks.

How to Remove Scratches from Slate Hearth

As slate hearths are positioned in high-use areas, the rock is susceptible to scratching over time. Scratches can be removed thoroughly with a few minimally invasive techniques that ensure no further damage is done to the slate. Small scratches can be sanded out using fine wire wool or ‘wet and dry’ fine grit sandpaper. Start with a lower grit number for honing and move up to a bigger grit, such as a 400-grit or a 600-grit, to slowly and gradually achieve a polished look that is consistent.

Alternatively, you can use a mineral oil made from petroleum to help remove scratches from slate hearths. Wipe the slate with the mineral oil on a cloth and allow it to flow into the scratches so they turn into the original colour of the slate. You could also use a stain pen to remove any scratches by wiping the pen on the scratch and wiping it gently, allowing the pen to blend with the scratched area to match the colour of the slate hearths surface.


We hope this blog was helpful and if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the friendly team here at Honister Slate Mine. Check out our beautiful slate hearths available at the Honister Slate Mine Shop. 



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