Knowing your stone and tile cleaning chemicals
For most of us, cleaning a counter-top requires little to no thinking. We simply apply our chosen cleaning agent and wipe! However, you may be unknowingly damaging expensive, beautiful countertops or even putting your own health at risk! Here are several things to consider when choosing a chemical cleaner to use and what surface you’re going to clean with it.
First and foremost, you need to ensure that the cleaning agent you’re using is not going to be toxic to your health, either immediately after cleaning or even long after you’ve wiped down the countertops. Most cleaners meant for regular human contact or food are nor going to be particularly harmful (not dangerously corrosive like drain-cleaners or oven cleaners), but it’s still a good idea that you know what ingredients they have. For example, were you just cleaning with bleach and for some reason need to clean the area or an area very close with ammonia? You may accidentally end up creating a toxic gas by mixing the two. Be aware!
What ingredients are usually safe to use? Look for simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice or another citrus, and even baking soda. These are extremely unlikely to cause you physical harm or cause adverse chemical reactions that may endanger your health.
Safe for YOUR Surfaces
However, just because a cleaning agent is safe for your health doesn’t mean it’s safe for your countertops! You need to be absolutely sure that any cleaning agent you use, regardless of how safe or non-toxic the ingredients are, won’t cause permanent damage to the surface you’re cleaning, especially if those surfaces happen to be made from premium materials.
For example, what cleaning agents can be safely used on granite? Granite has the reputation of being durable and long-lasting so there may be an impulse to assume that any standard cleaning agent would be fine. However, such an assumption may cost you your granite countertops! Granite should never be cleaned with anything acidic for many reasons.
First, acidic cleaners that contain citrus or vinegar are absolutely off limits for granite countertops or any countertops with a sealant. Why? The acid eats away at the sealant, leaving your shiny, beautiful countertops looking bland and dull. However, it’s not just the sealant at stake. Acidic cleaners can harm the actual granite (or any other kind of stone surface) itself.
Tile floors or other tile surfaces are no exception. Harsh cleaners can attack their luster and eventually damage the material, leaving you with ugly floors at best, or a giant remodeling bill at worst.
How can you avoid damaging your stone and tile from cleaning? Generally, warm water and dish soap are more than enough for granite countertops, and an extremely diluted vinegar solution is generally sufficient for tile floors or other tile surfaces.
You should always take the time to learn about how to take care of your expensive, gorgeous home surfaces, be they granite, tile, or other premium material. The small amount of extra time it takes to research and to know for sure what should be used will almost certainly save you a bundle of time and money down the road.