If you perform a quick Internet search for marble floor cleaners, you’ll find a treasure trove of articles promising you immaculate results with no effort whatsoever – as long as you use a specific DIY solution.
Marble is a relatively soft, delicate stone; there’s a reason why it’s been reserved, over centuries, for fabulous pieces of art and the most luxurious of homes. It can be easy to scuff or stain it; and your run-of-the-mill clickbait cleaning article will make plenty of promises that your marble floors just can’t keep.
Trust marble flooring experts to have the answers you need. Here’s a quick primer on what could happen if you use the wrong marble floor cleaner – unfortunately, the effects can be devastating.
Vinegar may offer attractive natural appeal. However, just because we think of it as natural does not mean it is gentler than chemical alternatives. Vinegar is an acidic substance with a pH level between 2.5 and 7. As for its “natural” identity? Much of the grocery-store vinegar you’ll find is actually synthetic (a lab-made carboxylic acid).
We may think that because we can cook with it, we can clean with it. While this may work for other surfaces, the composition of natural stone renders it vulnerable to vinegar’s burn. First, vinegar will strip off your floor’s sealant, leaving it at risk of stains, and, finally, it will etch the stone, leading to costly repair.
Soap and Water
We don’t think of soap as corrosive, but it can be. Modern soap contains salt and its byproducts – substances that can have a pH of up to 9 or 10, making it as powerful as a strong acid. Most dish soaps also tend to feature organic compounds called tallows; dish soap often leaves streaks and gradually clouds the surface over time. Additionally, using soap on stone floors will cause build up, ultimately a film like substance that will only attract more dirt.
Water, too, may not be as innocent as it seems. According to some estimates, in much of the world – and 85% of America alone – has hard water, or water with a high mineral and acid content. Even using plain water to clean natural stone can result in limescale, or powdery, chalky buildup.
It’s far better to use a gentle pH balanced cleaner formulated to clean natural stone versus other solutions that leave residue or lead etching and dulling of the professional finish.
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, has been around since the 18th Century; many of us are so familiar with it that it can seem like a safe, natural product. While it is an effective way to remove stains from some solid surface materials – think ceramic or laminate – it’s a good idea to avoid using it on natural stone.
Why? It all comes down to pH levels (Are you noticing a trend?).
In certain situations, we’ll recommend a paste made up of baking soda and acetone to remove certain types of stains; however, it’s also best to talk with us first before doing so. Some types of natural stone don’t react well to this mixture.
(Some DIY experts recommend mixing baking soda and vinegar to form a cleaning scrub. While it might seem like the low and high pH levels might cancel each other out, it’s not as simple as that! Avoid at-home chemistry when it comes to your marble floors, and you’ll enjoy much better results.)
The Effective, Easy-Use Marble Cleaner You Need
We’ve gone into the many ways not to clean marble floors. But how are you supposed to do it, safely and effectively?
Establish a regular cleaning routine; keep the surface free of dust and dirt; and seal frequently to keep the marble protected. For a reliable and effective cleaner, seek a solution that is formulated for marble floors and other natural-stone floors.
is simple to use: All you have to do is squeeze and mop, and your floor will look as good as new. Also, it’s phosphate- and ammonia-free, and resists both streaks and mop marks for a beautiful clean finish.
Have more questions or concerns on how to care for your natural stone? Consider reaching out to our team of stone care experts with three generations of stone-care experience at 1-800-475-7866. Be sure to check out our full line stone care products to make sure you’re doing that beautiful stone justice.