Tile and Stone essentials

Tile and Stone Cleaning and SealingMaintaining your tile and stone surfaces

General Cleaning Clean stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner designated safe for natural stone. Use a clean mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results. Don’t use more than the recommended amount of any cleaning product. Too much may leave a film, causing streaks. Change rinse water frequently. Do not use products that contain lemon juice, vinegar or other acids on marble, travertine or limestone as these can etch the surface of the stone. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface. If you have large areas of stone, tile (or wood) in your home consider purchasing a Hoover Floormate Spinscrub 800. It’s a great tool for maintaining hard floors. It sprays scrubs and rinses will very little effort on your part and you won’t risk spreading dirty water around like mopping can.

Floor Surfaces Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that can scratch a stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn as the metal or plastic attachments may scratch the surface. You will want a vacuum that lets you shut off the brush roll so grit &dust dost not get scattered.

Counter/Vanity Top Surfaces Clean your countertops daily with a soft cloth or paper towel and a residue free pH neutral cleaner designated safe for natural stone. We recommend Trader Joe’s Multi Purpose Cleaner, Stone Tech’s Revitalizer from most tile shops and Zep Neutral pH floor cleaner from Home Depot.

Bath and Other Wet Areas In the bath/ shower or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. Installing a water softener in your home will help tremendously as well. We recommend the use of Magic Al’s Non Acid Soap Scum Remover to clean all stone and tile shower stalls.

For hard water spots/build up glass and granite we recommend Magic Al’s Glass and Metal Magic. You’ll find a ton of uses for this great product. Magic Al products can be found in the cleaning supply section@ www.groundfloor.org

Outdoor Pool & Patio Areas In outdoor pool, patio or hot tub areas sweep often flush with clear water and use a mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss. Neutral pH detergents can be used sparingly but take care to make sure they do not enter any waterways. Hydrogen Peroxide can be sprayed on organic stains. Apply a good amount over the spot and let it dry naturally, several applications may be necessary.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do dust mop floors frequently.
  • Do clean surfaces with a neutral stone cleaner.
  • Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing.
  • Do blot up spills and cooking oils immediately.
  • Do protect floor surfaces with non-slip mats or area rugs and counter top surfaces with coasters, trivets or placemats, particularly under those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the stone surface.
  • Don’t place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that can scratch the surface.
  • Don’t use vinegar, lemon juice or other cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine or concrete surfaces.
  • Don’t use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub & tile cleaners.
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
  • Don’t mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas.

Stain Treatment and Other Issues

If possible, immediately blot spills with a clean paper towel. If something has soaked into the stone and stained it, a poultice may need to be applied. 40 Volume peroxide (hair developer) available at a beauty supply shop can be sprayed on stone to lighten organic stains such as coffee and wine Contact us for more details.

Sealing

We seal every stone that requires it after we clean it, but a reapplication needs to be done periodically. You can purchase a product and do it yourself, or contact us to perform the service for you.

 

 

Maintaining your natural stone surfaces

This following guide points out some important details as to how to maintain your marble, limestone, granite, travertine and other natural stone surfaces.

Why you need to know about the ph of your cleaner
There are many cleaners that work for maintaining natural stone (see below for a few recommendations). If the natural stone has been deep cleaned and sealed, a “neutral ph” is essential for the longevity of the sealer. A high ph cleaner will strip just about any sealer in little time so choosing the right cleaner is essential.

Though the explanation of ph is rather exhaustive, suffice it to say that ph is the measure of how acidic or alkaline a liquid is. The ph scale goes from a 0 which is acidic to 14 which is alkaline. A neutral ph is somewhere around 7 on the ph scale and does the least harm to the sealer on tile, grout and natural stone.


Image courtesy of UC Davis Chemwiki

Some recommended cleaners:
For countertops:
Dupont stone cleaner
Miracle Sealent’s cleaner (check your local Home Depot for this one)
MB has some great products. MB1
Shower Cleaners MB3, MB5

Contact us for more information on natural stone cleaning and sealing as well as marble polishing services. We service the San Jose and surrounding areas.

Dull and abused marble floors get a makeover

It’s good to know that something can be done with your dull and etched marble surfaces. You’ve tried just about every cleaner out there but still, the rings, scratches and what appears to be stains are still there.

Marble, limestone and travertine all have calcium carbonate in their makeup. Many types of cleaners and foods / drinks will react with it and cause it to etch. Just about anything acidic will etch marble and that’s not just drinks such as lemons, margaritas but also many cleaners are slightly acidic. Even your perfumes and colognes can damage your marble surfaces.

Damaged marble floorsMarble floor before restoration.

This room was used to make wine for years which left the marble etched and stained. The discoloration and the rings is not dirt, it is etching and staining. The homeowners wanted the floor restored to it’s original sheen which was honed. As well the small diamond inserts needed to be brought back to a high polish.

Marble floor after stone restoration
Marble floor after stone restoration

We were able to hone the floor with a coarse grit diamond abrasive which took care of the etching and staining. Then it was brought up to a higher sheen with lesser aggressive abrasives. The inserts were then polished. Due to built in wine shelves being installed the day after, the homeowners saved some money by not having us detail those edges.

Be sure to give us a call on your next stone / marble restoration project. Some of the areas that we service are San Jose, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Fremont, Cupertino, Menlo Park, Redwood City, Morgan Hill and other Bay area cities.

 

Granite counters – Simple test to see if they need sealing

Though it is a fact that a lot of granite countertops need to be sealed, there are many that will actually not take any sealer at all. Below is a simple test to determine if your granite countertops are absorbent enough to take a sealer.

  • Put a few drops of water on the surface and wait 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Afterwards completely dry the surface.
  • If the area is darker then the stone the granite needs sealing.
  • If the area did not turn darker repeat the procedure with mineral spirits.
  • If the color has not changed then the countertop does not need a sealer.

Water Beading On Granite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This test can also be done to determine if your sealer needs re-application as well.

Proper cleaning prior to sealing your granite countertops is essential for best success.
Granite can have many fissures (voids) in which dirt can accumulte. Professional cleaning methods will remove dirt from these sometimes microscopic areas. Let us know if you have any questions about your granite countertops or any other stone or tile surfaces. See more information about our granite cleaning, sealing and polishing services here.

So how do I maintain my carpet after professional cleaning?

Carpets are commonly bought to add aesthetic appeal to a room. It beautifies an area, creating a focal point and enhances furniture and other decorations. To adults carpets are more of a decor, but to kids and pets carpets are more of fun furniture that’s ready for rough playing and crawling.

And who can blame them, the fibers of carpets are made for luxury and durability. Soft, sturdy, and multi-functional, carpets are a significant part of every household. Keeping them clean then is the best way to enhance and lengthen their lifespan. There are numerous ways to do this.

You can ask your family and friends to remove their shoes when entering a carpeted room, you can block out pets, and some even go to the extreme and plastic cover carpets! But even with all of these precautionary efforts to keep your carpets clean, the best and most important solution to removing small particles, dirt, dust, microbes, pet dander, dust mites, and pollen from your carpets is by vacuuming them.

Vacuuming regularly and correctly is the trick. Depending on how much traffic your carpets go through, you should vacuum carpets from once to twice per week or once a day if needed. Carpets in stairways, hallways, and entrances would need more vacuuming than others. If you have children and pets, then vacuum more often.

Frequent vacuuming would keep your carpets healthy and clean. In effect, you are assured that your family is safe and healthy as well. Different bacteria and fungi could inhabit your carpets and become sources of different ailments. For people who suffer from asthma and allergies, regular vacuuming of carpets is a must. Allergens such as pollen and dust which are brought from outside enters into your home and gets stuck onto the carpets fibers becoming dangerous triggers of bad health conditions. Although it is difficult to completely rid of home allergens, vacuuming carpets regularly would significantly reduce them.

Before starting to vacuum, remove any objects that may clog your vacuum. Check the height of your vacuum. Adjust your beater bar as necessary to get optimum results. Check the vacuum bag and replace it when it is full. It is advisable for you to overlap your strokes to make sure that you get dirt off of your carpet. Aside from overlapping strokes, you may want to make your strokes slow enough for soil and dirt to be lifted up by the vacuum. Your stroke speed would also depend on the thickness of your carpet and the strength of your vacuum cleaner suction motor.

Give attention to every room. Use calm repetitive cleaning motions and try to get even the hard to reach spots. Clean from baseboards to windowsills because the dirt on them may end up on your carpets as well. You may find it difficult to reach certain areas such as these but cleaning them is still essential. Use vacuum attachments to help you reach even the carpet’s edges and hard to reach places.

There are various types of vacuum assortments and attachments that come with vacuums nowadays. Depending on your daily needs, you may select which ones suit you the most. If you don’t have these attachments yet, go to your local stores and buy them separately. There are a lot of universal attachments available to fit any vacuum type and size.