Slate tile is a popular choice for showers due to its natural beauty, durability, and water-resistant properties. Slate is a metamorphic rock, formed when sedimentary rock shale is subjected to high pressures and temperatures deep below the earth’s surface. The resulting slate rock can then be cut and fabricated into floor and wall tiles.
Slate tile comes in a range of earthy colors from black and charcoal grey to various shades of blue, green, purple, red and brown. It has an uneven, split-face texture that adds visual depth and dimension. The tile pieces often have slightly different thicknesses and irregular edges, creating a rustic, Old World look.
Table of Contents
Our Top 5 Picks
Method Daily Shower Cleaner
|– Natural ingredients -Biodegradable – Acid-free pH neutral formula – Removes soap scum well- Light ginger scent
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|– Effective at removing soap scum- Non-toxic and biodegradable – Gentle on natural stone- Pleasant light scent
Granite Gold Shower Cleaner
|– Stone-safe formula – Contains coconut-based surfactants – Rinses film and streak free – Provides antimicrobial protection – Pleasant lemon verbena scent
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|– Antimicrobial protection ability – Pleasant lemon scent – Rinses film and streak free- Specialty stone cleaner
|StoneTech Revitalizer Cleaner and Protector
|– Cleans and seals in one step – Low odor and pH neutral – Biodegradable and acid-free – Fortifies existing protective sealants
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|– Cleans and seals to reinforce protection – Safe for all natural stone – Biodegradable and low odor
|Black Diamond Stoneworks Cleaner
|– Gentle daily formula – Strengthens stone sealer – Rinses clean without residue – Fresh linen scent – Good value for cost
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|– Economical and effective daily cleaner – Linen scent – Rinses clean
|[User Love It]
TriNova Granite Cleaner and Sealer Kit
|– Intensive cleaner and sealer combination set – Reinforces protective barriers – Repels stains and water damage – Comes with soap dispenser and instruction guide – 18-month satisfaction guarantee
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|– Comes with full cleaning and sealing set – Easy soap dispenser application – Provides satisfaction guarantee
Pros and cons of slate tile
There are many benefits to using slate tile in the shower:
- Extremely durable and long-lasting
- Natural waterproofing; moisture resistant
- Does not need sealing like some stones
- Attractive natural texture and colors
- Stays cooler than ceramic or porcelain tile
- Resists cracking and chipping
However, there are a few downsides:
- Heavy weight requires sturdy wall backing
- Difficult to drill holes for plumbing fixtures
- Can stain from hard water, oils and acidic cleaners
- Needs periodic resealing to maintain water resistance
- Natural color variations in each tile
With proper care and cleaning, slate tile brings rugged and sophisticated beauty to any shower design that will last for decades. Understanding slate’s properties guides proper product selection for keeping it looking fresh, clean and vibrant over years of use.
Porosity and sealing
One key consideration with slate tile is its porosity, which determines how easily it absorbs liquids. Slate rates around a 3 on the Mohs Scale, so it is less porous than very soft stones like limestone or travertine that require frequent sealing. However, slate is still slightly more porous than granite.
The pores in slate can allow water, oil and other staining materials to soak in over time. Sealing the slate creates a protective barrier that prevents deep penetration into the pores. Most suppliers recommend applying a penetrating sealer after installing slate tile floors or walls, then reapplying every 1-3 years depending on usage.
Sealing is especially important for slate in wet areas like showers. The warmer water opens the pores, allowing greater absorption of soap scum, hard water deposits and mildew. Ensuring a fresh seal is vital before ongoing maintenance cleaning.
Choosing the Best Cleaner for Slate Tile Showers
Not all cleaners are suitable for natural stone surfaces like slate tile. Harsh chemicals can damage protective seals or etch into the porous slate surface. It is important to select non-acidic, pH-balanced cleaners specifically designed for natural stone.
Mild dish soap
For routine cleansing, a small amount of mild liquid dish detergent diluted in warm water works well. Avoid dish soaps with fragrances, irritating additives or moisturizing lotions that can leave residue. Use a soft cloth or sponge with the mild soap mixture to gently wash slate walls or floors.
Specialized natural stone cleaners are pH-balanced to the slightly alkaline slate so they do not degrade the protective seal or etch the surface over time. They contain mild anionic or nonionic surfactants to lift dirt without harsh chemicals that damage stone. Popular options include Method Daily Shower Cleaner and Black Diamond Stoneworks Cleaner.
Some companies offer specialty stone soaps for cleaning slate, travertine, marble and other masonry materials. For example, Granite Gold Shower Cleaner contains coconut-based surfactants and natural citric extracts to dissolve soap scum, hard water spots and grime. It has a neutral 7 pH.
Avoid acidic cleaners
Never use vinegar, lemon juice, harsh bathroom cleaners or acidic commercial products on slate tile. Anything with a lower pH can etch the calcium carbonate binder in slate, creating permanent damage and pits even if sealed.
Choosing a pH-balanced cleaner safe for natural stone keeps a slate shower looking pristine for decades with regular use. Harsh chemicals deteriorate protective seals faster. Check manufacturer recommendations and warnings before using any commercial cleaner on slate tile surfaces.
Best Practices for Cleaning Slate Tile
Following careful methods ensures slate tile stays beautiful in high-moisture areas like showers:
Use a dry dust mop weekly to remove surface dust and debris from slate tile floors. This prevents abrasive grit from scratching the tile and makes routine wet cleaning easier.
Mixing water and cleaner
Always dilute natural stone cleaners like Granite Gold Shower Cleaner with water per label directions before applying to slate. Start with less solution and gradually increase strength as needed.
Using soft cloth and sponge
Clean slate tile walls and floors only with non-abrasive materials. A soft microfiber cloth, sponge or nylon brush scrubber prevents scratching the surface. Avoid using stiff brushes or abrasive scrubbing pads.
After washing with mild detergent or stone soap, rinse the slate tile fully with clean water multiple times. Thorough rinsing preventssudsy residue or cleaning solution particles from drying on the surface which leads to buildup or etching over time.
Buffing and polishing
Gently buff slate walls dry after rinsing using a soft cloth. Regular buffing maintains the tile’s protective sheen and prevents water spotting. Occasionally polish slate floors with a stone-safe polish to refresh the surface.
Sealing slate tile
Reapply a quality penetrating slate tile sealer regularly per manufacturer recommendations—usually every 1-3 years in showers. Sealing creates an invisible barrier keeping moisture, soap and minerals out of slate’s pores.
Best Cleaners for Slate Tile Shower Reviews
With an understanding of slate tile properties and cleaning best practices, choosing an effective slate shower cleaner is easy. Here are some top-rated products:
1. Method Daily Shower Cleaner
This plant-based formula contains lactic acid extracted from corn and coconut-based cleaning agents to eliminate soap scum and hard water stains on natural stone tile. The gentle, non-toxic formula is safe for kids, pets and the planet without harsh fumes or chemicals. Method shower cleaner is commonly found at major retailers like Target or Walmart.
- Natural ingredients
- Acid-free pH neutral formula
- Removes soap scum well
- Light ginger scent
- Effective at removing soap scum
- Non-toxic and biodegradable
- Gentle on natural stone
- Pleasant light scent
- Multiple applications may be needed
- Not as effective on tough stains
2. Granite Gold Shower Cleaner
Specifically designed for natural stone, Granite Gold’s shower cleaner removes mold, mildew, dirt and grime without damaging slate tile or leaving any chemical residue behind. The formula contains benzalkonium chloride for antimicrobial protection. For best results, follow with Granite Gold polishing creme and sealer.
- Stone-safe formula
- Contains coconut-based surfactants
- Rinses film and streak free
- Provides antimicrobial protection
- Pleasant lemon verbena scent
- Antimicrobial protection ability
- Pleasant lemon scent
- Rinses film and streak free
- Specialty stone cleaner
- Higher cost than regular cleaners
- Can leave sticky residue if not rinsed
3. StoneTech Revitalizer Cleaner and Protector
This 2-in-1 formula from StoneTech both cleans away soil and stains while depositing an invisible protective barrier that water-proofs the slate tile surface. For ongoing use, StoneTech Revitalizer helps reinforce and maintain slate’s factory sealant. It is safe for all natural stone.
- Cleans and seals in one step
- Low odor and pH neutral
- Biodegradable and acid-free
- Fortifies existing protective sealants
- Guards against water and oil-based stains
- Cleans and seals to reinforce protection
- Safe for all natural stone
- Biodegradable and low odor
- Not designed for heavy duty deep cleaning
- May need polishingafter for added shine
4. Black Diamond Stoneworks Cleaner
Specially formulated to clean without damaging the slate tile, this daily use cleaner removes light grease, dirt, soap residue and hard water deposits. It can be used on natural stone floors, countertops, walls and showers without bleach or ammonia. It is a popular seller on Amazon.
- Gentle daily formula
- Strengthens stone sealer
- Rinses clean without residue
- Fresh linen scent
- Good value for cost
- Economical and effective daily cleaner
- Linen scent
- Rinses clean
- Not as strong for heavy buildup
- Formula can be drying on natural oils
5. TriNova Granite Cleaner and Sealer Kit
This multi-purpose maintenance kit provides everything you need to care for slate and other natural stone showers. The intensive cleaner lifts staining and buildup then natural sealer reinforces the factory protective layer. The 18 oz. soap dispenser makes application easy while a premium microfiber cloth does not scratch delicate tile surfaces.
- Intensive cleaner and sealer combination set
- Reinforces protective barriers
- Repels stains and water damage
- Comes with soap dispenser and instruction guide
- 18-month satisfaction guarantee
These top-reviewed slate shower cleaners provide safe, effective and convenient cleaning for slate walls and floors for year after year of beauty. Specially-formulated stone neutral soaps cleanse without damaging slate’s slightly porous calcium carbonate surface.
- Comes with full cleaning and sealing set
- Easy soap dispenser application
- Provides satisfaction guarantee
- Higher initial investment
- Not travel sized
How often should I clean slate tile?
Clean slate showers at least once a week to prevent heavy soap scum, mold and mildew buildup that can stain grout or discolor tile over time. For high traffic areas or hard water, 2-3 times per week cleaning helps prevent deposits and keeps walls looking fresh.
Do I need to seal my slate tile?
While slate is moisture-resistant, sealing the tile gives it added protection especially for showers. Apply a penetrating slate sealer after first installing the tile, then reseal every 1 to 3 years depending on usage to bolster defenses against staining and etching.
What do I do about hard water or limescale buildup?
Hard water deposits that cannot be removed by regular soap and water cleaning likely indicate failing grout or deteriorated sealant allowing mineral absorption. Resealing the slate helps prevent further hard water staining. Use a cleaner made for natural stone or an acidic limescale remover cautiously and limit contact time to lift existing calcium carbonate scale.
What is the black staining on my slate tile?
Slate can develop gray, brown or black stains over time when the stone’s pores allow penetration of iron manganese or other metal oxides from the environment. These difficult stains often indicate the protective slate sealant has worn off. Resealing helps prevent more metal staining while a specialty poultice cleaner can lift out existing discoloration.
Why does my slate feel rough and look worn?
Natural wear and tear from ongoing use inevitably smooths slate’s beautiful cleft texture. Regular buffing with a soft cloth followed by application of a natural stone polish helps maintain the tile’s texture and sheen. If the overall surface appears dull, etched or cloudy a thorough cleaning and resealing provides revitalization.
Following slate tile best practices combined with using the right stone-safe cleaners prevents difficult issues and keeps a slate shower looking fantastic for decades. Resealing slate tile periodically ensures maximum resistance to water, stains and chemicals.
Conclusion and Final Recommendations
Slate tile brings handsome elegance and natural waterproofing to shower installations, guaranteed to stay beautiful for a lifetime with proper care. The stone’s slightly porous properties still necessitate sealing along with gentle, pH-neutral cleaners to prevent deterioration in steamy, wet environments.
Using abrasive pads or acidic chemicals inevitably damages protective barriers leading to etching, scratches and difficult stains over time. Instead, specially-formulated stone soaps lift soap scum and hard water buildup without harming the delicate calcium carbonate binding matrix inside slate tiles.
For clean, fresh slate showers we recommend preventative sealing every 1-3 years based on usage levels. Pair this with weekly cleaning using our top choice Method Daily Shower Cleaner or similar natural stone formulas. Stay mindful of warning signs like hard water spots or dark stains indicating a need for immediate tile resealing and treatment.
Consistent, careful slate shower maintenance gives peace of mind against staining, slip hazards from soap scum buildup and ugly mildew invasion. Take proper steps to enjoy the elegance, durability and decorative flair of slate walls and floors for decades to come.