Soapstone is a metamorphic rock that is composed primarily of talc, with varying amounts of chlorite, micas, carbonates and other minerals. The name “soapstone” is often used in other ways. Miners and drillers use the name for any soft rock that is soapy or slippery to the touch. Soapstone is often used as an alternative natural stone countertop instead of granite or marble. In laboratories it is unaffected by acids and alkalis. In kitchens it is not stained or altered by tomatoes, wine, vinegar, grape juice, and other common food items. Soapstone is unaffected by heat. Hot pots can be placed directly on it without fear of melting, burning, or other damage. Soapstone is a soft rock, and it is easily scratched in countertop use. However, a gentle sanding and treatment with mineral oil will easily remove shallow scratches. Soapstone is not suitable for use as a workbench top where it will receive rough treatment and where sharp or abrasive objects will be placed upon it.