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Despite what you may think, all floors are susceptible to damage. This damage can come from chips or cracks, grime and debris, and, yes, even from the products you use to care for it. In fact, the biggest culprit of stone-and-tile floor wear and damage is the use of improper cleaners and maintenance products. Specifically, those care products that contain acids.
Acids damage natural stone in two main ways: etching and erosion. Etching occurs when an acid is introduced to a natural stone environment. The acid literally eats away at the CaCO3 surfaces, producing a water soluble salt and CO2 which bubbles away. The salt is washed away with the next floor cleaning leaving a microscopic pit to capture future dirt and a rough surface that no longer reflects light. These “etches” can be so minor that you cannot feel them…initially..but they appear as white spots, water marks, rings and splash marks on marble. For example, leaving a sliced lemon, face-down on an unsealed stone surface will result in an impression of the lemon slice being burned into the counter or stone. Pretty cool as a science project but devasting when in your home.
On grout acid attack is more insidious eating away the seal installed to fill the pores in the grout preventing the grout from absorbing dirt from your mop water during the cleaning process. The result is a grout that is now absorbing dirt. Looks dirty, and it is, but you cant get anything into those pores to clean it, so it just mocks you with its dingy appearance. You have seen these floors in those diners, restaurants and gas stations you swear you will never go back to. Acid attack introduced by a cleaner often labeled “safe for ceramic and tile”…but they never mentioned the grout. Now you know…
Erosion, on the other hand, is when large areas of your stone surface become eaten away. This happens from repeated use of acidic cleaners or polishers. The acid converts the CaCO3 stone into salt, which is then “eroded” away by water. Water comes in the form of rain outside, but inside is introduced as part of the cleaning process.
While softer stones like marble and limestone are most vulnerable to acids, granite is not impervious and can also be damaged with improper care. Like grout it is the seal that comes under attack, leaving your granite investment open to staining from oils introduced during cooking or just from people leaning against the counter. Once “inside” oils are difficult to remove. This is why a good daily oil removing cleaner is a necessary part of your daily granite care. Keep the oils off the surface and they cannot absorb. Keep the surface sealed and it will not stain. That said, acids are part of the kitchen cooking experience introduced with our vinegar salad dressing, tomatoes and lemons. Acids are everywhere, making the sealing of your marble and granite counters a much needed but often overlooked annual or bi-annual (2 years) routine. You don’t want to wreck your car without insurance, or find out you have stained your countertop for lack of sealing.
To ensure the longevity and durability of your natural stone and tile NEVER clean with acid-containing cleaners or products. Instead use cleaners like MARBLELIFE’s Stone and Tile Floor Cleaner Concentrate or MARBLELIFE’s Marble & Travertine Cleaner, MARBLELIFE’s Granite & Quartz Cleaner, MARBLELIFE’s Tile & Grout Cleaner and MARBLELIFE’s Grout, Stone or Granite Sealers. They are specifically formulated for use on natural stone surfaces and will not etch or erode your stone, and are employed daily by MARBLELIFE’s team of stone restoration craftsman throughout North America. You see MARBLELIFE is on a mission to prevent restorations associated with inappropriate cleaner selection.
While you may not be able to completely protect your stone from every acidic threat. You can be aware and informed about what has the potential to harm your surfaces.
Avoid Stone Contact With The Following Substances:
MARBLELIFE’s Stone and Tile Floor Cleaner goes where others can’t, penetrating deep into the minute pores of your floor’s surface.