With so many new products in the marketplace adding to the age old industry tricks, it’s no wonder there are so many questions about the finding the right product to maintain marble and granite natural stone tiles and countertops
My tile setter told me to use vinegar and water to clean my tile floors? Vinegar and water was used for years as a grout release, before big name brands like Stone Tech and Aqua Mix marketed such products. As a onetime application cleaning the tiles with vinegar would help remove sealer haze left behind from the grouting process. Vinegar is still a great solution to remove leftover gout and thin-set from the face of the tile, however, it’s not recommended to use on a consistent basis. Its low ph solution is great for dissolving lime which is one of the core ingredients in grout. So we know that vinegar dissolves grout, right, so how do you stop it from attacking the grout between the tiles, you don’t! The reality is over time cleaning with vinegar will slowly breakdown the grout eventually causing premature grout failure. Another reason not to use vinegar and water is the long term affects it has on calcite based stones like Marble, Limestone and Onyx. These materials are comprised of the mineral lime and will quickly show adverse reactions to vinegar.
Another common misconception is the acceptable use of dish washing detergents. Unless you plan on rinsing the floor several times with clean water to remove the soap residue, avoid using dish soap. This super concentrated surfactant is great for breaking down oil and grease but when not rinsed properly, it will create a haze and could become very slippery when wet!
Rubbing alcohol and water? Another one for the ages, again a great product for spot cleaning, especially if you are trying to remove ink marks or shoe scuffs. However, for daily cleaning of natural stone tiles, alcohol and water brings nothing to the table.
For cleaning natural stone tiles regularly damp mopping is the best solution. A lightweight cotton or acrylic mop rung dry with clean warm water will remove almost everything. For disinfecting pet accidents and spilled food you can use product that are specially formulated for natural stone; just make sure it’s a no rinse formula. Even then it’s best not to saturate the floor. Allowing the mop water to pool on the surface will cause unsightly water marks and will discolor the porous grout.
Keeping your natural stone tiles clean and safe is simple. Daily dust mopping to remove abrasives that will scratch the tiles following a regiment of damp mopping and spot cleaning will maintain the beauty of your natural stone for many years.
Until next time,