VIN­TAGE VIEW

Kya de­longchamps

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Interiors -

FOR a re­ally dirty sur­round, try hand wash­ing soap flakes (Ph neu­tral) dis­solved in a bucket of wa­ter, and clean in­tri­cate mar­ble de­tails with a soft tooth­brush skimmed through the suds rather than drib­bling wa­ter over your hands. Wipe the whole sur­round off with a touch dry, mi­cro-fi­bre cloth rinsed out in sev­eral changes of clean wa­ter, fin­ish­ing with a dry chamois. Don’t al­low the stone to just air-dry.

Again, fin­ish with a ded­i­cated mar­ble pol­ish, fol­low­ing the man­u­fac­turer’s in­struc­tions to the let­ter. Con­sider in­vest­ing in a stone sealer if your mar­ble is com­pletely bald and vul­ner­a­ble, es­pe­cially if you use the fire- place reg­u­larly.

For stub­born stains from soot to rust, there are nat­u­rally based DIY ‘poul­tices’ pro­moted on­line us­ing bak­ing soda, bleach, white spirit or even milk. Bound to the sur­face of the mar­ble on torn up kitchen towel se­cured with plas­tic tape they are in­tended to sit for up to two hours to draw the dirt out of the stone, of­ten de­mand­ing re­peated ap­pli­ca­tions. If you want to have a go, di­lute hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide or ace­tone (re­moved and cleaned again with a damp cloth) is one of the gen­tler mix­tures to magic out rings from drib­bled mugs. Still, treat any recipe with ex­treme cau­tion.

Chem­i­cally dis­solv­ing any stain, can cause it to just spread deeper and fur­ther. If you put any cleaner on mar­ble, wipe it off with pure (prefer­ably dis­tilled) wa­ter as any gunge left on the fire­place will catch more dust and dirt. For paint spat­ters, acom­mond­is­fig­ure­ment­for a fire­place in a room for a cou­ple of cen­turies, try your finger-nail be­fore tak­ing to a small flat blade — the dan­ger of scor­ing the fire­place is very high. For a valu­able fire­place or one with any ar­chi­tec­tural merit, call in a spe­cial­ist who can not only clean the sur­fac­ing but has tools to wet sand and buff the fire­place back to a gor­geous shine.

Never dump cups of tea or glasses of wine on any white mar­ble man­tle, and if you’re us­ing the man­tle as a shelf for flow­ers or plants over the sum­mer, en­sure you place it on a wa­ter­proof din­ing mat or some sort of pro­tec­tive coaster. Coloured can­dle wax on pale mar­ble can be dis­as­trous, leav­ing a pen­e­trat­ing stain if not re­moved im­me­di­ately. Vin­tage mar­ble is soft, very soft, and if you start scrub­bing away at it, the pol­ished sur­face will dull and scratch. Wipe up stains the in­stant they hap­pen. If you’re look­ing at a white fire sur­round from a sal­vage yard, fight shy of very yel­lowed-out pieces which may have drunk down decades of beeswax pol­ishes, smoke stains and im­proper sealants which are vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to re­move.

An an­tique vin­tage mar­ble fire­place is a stun­ning ad­di­tion to any room but re­quires care when clean­ing and may call for spe­cial­ist main­te­nance on oc­ca­sion.

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