If CLEANABLE means being able to be cleaned many people may be surprised to learn that the reason they cannot get their surface CLEAN is that it is not PRESENTLY CLEANABLE. What does that mean? Damage can mascerade as appearing DIRTY. The most common reason for something to not have a clean uniform look is the presence of dirt, so it is only natural. If CLEAN is the absence of dirt and oil, you can have the cleanest surface and yet it still looks “non-uniform” or “looks dirty.” When it comes to hard surfaces such as tile floors and countertops this is more common than you might expect. With cleaners existing in our grocery stores and hardware stores they are readily available and yet the searches for cleaners exceed searches for service by more than 2:1. Why would people search for something that is readily available, unless they are seeking to find something that works. Unfortunately, no cleaner and repair damage. The good news is that MARBLELIFE specializes in RESTORING A CLEANABLE surface. With that said, here are a few common examples of “Dirty Appearances” caused by damage to your stone, tile or grout.
1.) Stained Grout – Darkened grout or differences in color in the center of the floor versus on the baseboards. This is one of the most common noted complaints. This is generally the result of a failure of the grout seal due to the use of an acidic cleaner such as vinegar. Acids lead to the breakdown of the most common penetrating sealers effectively removing them and allowing your grout to absorb dirty mop water during the cleaning process which after evaporating leaves the dirt behind. Once the grout pore is filled we see it as a darkened surface and… you guessed it… clean some more often with another cleaner. MARBLELIFE can halt the madness, restore a clean appearance, restore your grouts seal with a sealer that is not acid sensitive, and provide you a truly CLEANABLE surface. We will also recommend a cleaner for your tile and grout that has been formulated based on our learnings as service providers designed to prevent a re-occurrence.
The next group are related….
2.) Water spots on marble
3.) Drink rings on marble
4.) Spill marks on marble
5.) White Spots on Marble that Keep Coming Back – Generally these are all related, and have to do with the introduction of acid onto a marble surface. Marble is Calcium Carbonate and acids react with Calcuim Carbonate converting it into a water soluble salt which is then dissolved and removed during the cleaning process, resulting in a pit in your marble. Damaged marble appears white, hence the color. Whenever you hear white-anything on marble it is likely an etch or acid interaction. There is no cleaner that can put the marble back. Again, fear not, MARBLELIFE team of craftsman are trained to solve this problem. The damaged area needs to be honed flat and repolished once again. This can be restored as if it never happened, but unlike the grout above, the resulting marble floor will always be acid sensitive …. However your counters have a choice of being restored to their original appearance or being treated with MARBLELIFE’s CleanShield Technology effectively making your countertop acid resistant. Suitable for counters the system is not suitable for floors due to fact it will impart a smooth potentially slippery surface.
So how can the spots appear and disappear? When cleaned the water in the cleaner will fill these low pits level to the marble surface allowing light to bounce true off the “surface” once again and imparting the normal color we expect to see, however once the water evaporates the white spots re-appear. They are “Clean” but still holes in the stone, just really clean holes. Once again, we can restore a cleanable surface, and provide cleaners designed to clean without creating a problem.
6.) Dull Lifeless Granite – bet you are cleaning it with a glass cleaner or a wood cleaner. These cleaners claim to be suitable for all surface BUT they include waxes designed fill in scratches on glass or the urethane coating on wood to maintain a shiny appearance. Your granite has a hardness only second to diamond, unlike glass and wood it is not likely to be scratched, and would take a ton of pressure to do so, as such there is no place for the wax to go. The net result is it just piles up. You cleaner is placing it there on purpose so its not trying to remove it but rather to deposit – which kind of raises the question if the cleaner is supposed to remove dirt and foreign material from the surface – why are we dropping wax? The wax is not smart so it doesn’t know not to deposit before we finish cleaning so overtime it seals in dirt. Overtime we develop a thicker coat of wax and dirt hiding our beautiful counter and giving us a smudgy dull look. Fear Not – You need a PRE-CLEANER TRANSITION cleaning – in a word we can help restore a cleanable surface here as well. The build-up requires a chemical cleaning to remove in order to restore your original beautiful surface. Then we will provide you a MARBLELIFE developed Granite cleaner designed to remove oils, greases, fats and dirt without depositing waxes and oils so you can enjoy your granite surface as you intended.
7.) Stains – OK – stains can be considered dirt – but they are hidden beneath the surface of your floors and counters as a result of a failure of the seal that sealed these pores originally. Like the more common grout situation, acids are usually involved in breaking down the seal, but the secondary actor is a spill, or spatter of kitchen oil, or just someone leaning up against the counter over and over (skin oils). These colorful elements get into the pores altering the color, and cannot be reached with a wipe. The problem here is that in our effort to CLEAN we introduce a variety of other cleaners and chemicals which can interact with the spill material and even change it. Getting it out will require some detective work, application of an appropropriate counter-acting agent capable of dissolving the invader and then a mechanism to draw it out. This is a repetitive process, using often oderous chemicals, and can be expensive as it can require 1 to 20 applications which means many visits with no guarantee it will ever come out 100%. The good news is we can assist with training and guidance to restore a cleanable surface (This is where we will recommend you seal your stone and grout surfaces as removing a stain means we did not re-apply our seal earlier as these are avoidable – please seal these surfaces annually).
8.) Smudgy Surfaces – No matter what you use you have a smudgy surface. This can result from one of two situations – use of a clean-and-polish product that is seeking to deposit an oil or wax in an effort to increase light reflectivity BUT cannot handle being touched as it disturbs this soft oil or wax coating, unlike your clean granite, marble or tile which is hard and will not shift as these cleaner deposits do. OR you have a colorless oil that has accumulated in the open pores of your marble or granite. As you remove the surface oil with a degreasing cleaner, the oil in the pores re-equilibrates back out across the surface. You see oil wants to spread out. If you have a pore full of it and wipe the surface above it, the remaining oil will simply spread back out and replace the oil removed from the surface. Repeated cleanings OR a stain removal treatment is needed to clear the reservoir, and then we need to reseal the surface. The culprit here is often kitchen grease spatter.
Here again once sealed you have a CLEANABLE surface once again, and just need an honest cleaner.
MARBLELIFE’s Marble, Granite and Tile cleaners are designed to clean. (PERIOD). No added oils and no waxes. No citrus or lemon additives and certainly no damaging vinegar. All of these additives create expensive problems downstream. If you are buying the cheapest cleaner on the market you are savings a $1 and heading for a $1000 service bill.
If you want a CLEANABLE surface again CALL MARBLELIFE for a FREE CONSULTATION we can generally diagnose your root cause problem, correct it to restore a cleanable surface, and recommend a cleaner that will enable you to maintain that clean look without future problems. If you are reading this page, you likely need to have a discussion with MARBLELIFE. When done you will KNOW what is happening, how to fix it, and how to move forward. CLEANABLE is ACHIEVEABLE, again.