This morning I received another call about a travertine floor... the homeowner's housecleaner used "something" that removed its finish/shine...oh dear...
That something is probably an acidic cleaner. Acidic cleaners and acids in general will eat away acid sensitive material- such as calcium. Calcium based stones such as marbles, travertine and even most grouts are acid sensitive. When an acid meets an acid sensitive material, they react to each other. This reaction on acid sensitive stone is referred to as an etch. The stone has been eaten away. The finish wasn't cleaned away but eaten away.
The most common accidental etching comes from our little friend: Vinegar. Vinegar is commonly used in green cleaning. However, it is not a mild cleaner. A mild cleaner is non abrasive and has a pH of around 7 or neutral. Vinegar is a non-buffered acid with a acidic pH of 3. Vinegar, even though it is safe to eat, is not always safe to use. Safe and mild are two different things. Safe refers to a product being nontoxic it also may mean - safe to use on all surfaces but not necessarily.
A product can be mild, non-harmful to a surface such as a neutral mildewcide but damaging people
Common household cleaners that are acidic are: toilet cleaners drain cleaners, shower/tile cleaners and vinegar-based window cleaners.
On top of etching, acidic cleaners are also reactive. When mixed with bleaches or alkaline cleaners they react. This reaction can be nontoxic, like the reaction you get when mixing baking soda and vinegar. But... and this is a big but!! It can also create a toxic and deadly gas!!
The most common reactive chemicals are ammonia/strong alkalines, bleaches and acids.
Never mix cleaning products!!! You may be creating a deadly and toxic gas!!!
It is incredibly easy to accidentally mix cleaners. You spray one in the air...and then you spray another in the air. Walla- you just mixed products. I can't tell you how many times, I been told by a home and professional cleaner they had burning eyes, scratchy throats, coughing, headaches etc. when cleaning or post cleaning!
A travertine floor that has "lost" its sheen will need to be repolished. This is an expensive process and one that could have been easily prevented. An etched floor might be stressful and expensive but at least it wasn't deadly.
Home care is a science and an art. Cleaning is chemistry and physics.
This blog is a good example why I teach healthy homes, residue free cleaning and sell residue free cleaning products.
The 3 parts of Residue Free Cleaning
1. Practice Prevention
Start with prevention- read labels, do your research, take off your shoes, wipe down your showers, run your exhaust fans, open windows for fresh air...
2. Use the Mildest means
Always start with the mildest means. Mildest means... dusting, vacuuming, microfibers and neutral, nontoxic cleaners. You can always move up to a harsher cleaner but if you clean well, you rarely ever need to use anything more than water, neutral cleaners, vacuums and microfibers!
3. Leave your home residue free
Leave nothing behind... no germs, no cleaner, no moisture...
Rinse and dry your surfaces, don't spray cleaners in the air, let fresh air into your home
If you are going to leave anything behind in your cleaning...
let it be gratitude
Wishing you safe, happy and healthy home,
Home and Life Coach at your service
For education, products and coaching contact me at 253-815-0446, message me on facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
To purchase the best in microfibers click here. Any questions don't hesitate to contact me.Cleaning should be easy, safe and non stressful!