We love soapstone for a variety of reasons.
But mostly, because it’s a sustainable material. Soapstone has been used for centuries, primarily for cooking, due to its heat resistant properties. Primarily composed of talc, magnate, and chlorite, it occurs naturally. In terms of hardness, it ranges from a 2.5 to a 5.0 on the Mohs scale.
Domestic Soapstone: Churchill and Old Dominion
Churchill and Old Dominion, in particular, are quarried in Virginia, USA — right here on the East Coast. Using domestic soapstone ensures a smaller carbon footprint. Alberene is the only active quarry in the USA.
There are a few benefits that stand out about Alberene soapstone. Quarried in an open pit quarry, Alberene Soapstone uses equipment that involves no blasting. Unlike materials like granite, it requires little water and no chemicals to excavate.
Soapstone: How Impermeability Makes it Sustainable
Soapstone itself is impermeable. It does not stain, it is bacteria resistant, and can be cleaned without harsh cleaners. Because of this, soapstone does not need any sealant. To maintain soapstone countertops, organic wax and/or oil enhances the beauty, age, and patina of the soapstone.
According to a study by the Environmental Working Group, 60% of cleaning products under review were ranked high concern for containing toxic and environmentally harmful ingredients. They also found that well known carcinogens (Formaldehyde and Chloroform) were found in these cleaners. Soapstone can be cleaned with water, and does not need these harsh cleaners to stay beautiful.
Soapstone: Uses and Re-Purposing
As a sustainable material, there’s always a new use for soapstone. It can be re-finished, re-cut, and re-used over its lifetime, lasting forever. We’ve used soapstone for pizza stones, whiskey rocks, knobs, coasters, cookware, and more. Soapstone is not limited to countertops.