Cantera stone is a type of volcanic rock. Found throughout Mexico, the quartz is mined and carved into decorative products such as fireplaces, columns, garden walls, benches and fountains. Like most stone surfaces, cantera is durable and will last for many years if properly cared for. Fortunately, this is not a difficult process. It is, however, an ongoing one. The mildly porous stone is prone to staining and routine cleaning is required to keep cantera stone fountains looking their best.
Inspect the fountain once a day. Remove any debris, such as fallen leaves or dead bugs, by scooping them out with a small net. Add water as needed to ensure the pump remains completely submerged.
Unplug the fountain and drain it once every four weeks. Mix 1 tbsp. of liquid dish washing detergent into 1 qt. of warm water. Stir rapidly to create a light lather. Apply this solution to the basin, rocks and pump with a soft-bristled brush. Scrub vigorously, moving the brush in a circular pattern to loosen dirt and debris. Scour small cracks and crevices with an old toothbrush. Rinse the soap residue away with clear water.
Pour 2 cups of distilled white vinegar into a large bowl. Add 2 cups of warm water and stir until the two are well blended. Place the pump in this solution; let it sit for 30 minutes. Hold the pump under a stream of hot, running water to rinse and set aside.
Combine 1 cup of distilled white vinegar and 3 cups of warm water. Sponge this solution over the fountain, thoroughly coating both the exterior and the interior surfaces. The acid in the vinegar will reduce the growth of algae without marring the surface or ruining the natural patina of the stones.
Cover any areas where hard water deposits are evident with a paper towel that has been saturated with undiluted vinegar; let it sit for five minutes to loosen stubborn residue. A weak acid, distilled white vinegar will dissolve the minerals that cause limescale. Wipe the stains away with a damp sponge.
Refill the fountain to the proper water level. Replace the pump. Be sure the pump is completely submerged prior to turning the fountain back on.
Remove the water from the fountain prior to the first frost if you live in a climate that is known for chilly winter weather. Fill the basin with old blankets, then cover the entire fountain in a waterproof tarp. Leave the structure covered unitl all danger of frost has passed.