The hazards of using natural stone in bathrooms
The beauty and durability of natural stone makes it a popular choice of building material in homes and businesses, and this extends to the bathroom. Natural stone can be used for bathroom countertops, backsplashes, flooring, walls, bathtubs, showers, sinks and many other applications.
However, different activities performed in the bathroom also pose special risks to natural stone.
The biggest risks posed to natural stone in a bathroom environment are typically oil-based stains, biological stains and water stains.
Oil-based stains can come from common cosmetics, which are often applied in bathrooms. These types of stains will darken stone and must usually be dissolved chemically in order to be removed.
Biological stains, which include fungi like mold and mildew, typically come from the combination of dampness and poor ventilation found in bathrooms.
It is recommended that these stains be cleaned with a diluted mixture of ammonia, bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
However, keep in mind that ammonia and bleach must never be mixed together, as they create a toxic gas that can be deadly.
A safer option would be using Rejuvenata ACTIVE™, which is environmentally responsible and safer to use than many traditional chemical cleaners.
Water stains come from almost every activity performed in the bathroom, from bathing and showering to washing hands. If surface accumulation of hard water occurs, it is recommended to buff out the stains using dry steel wool.
“Soap scum” is also an issue in bathrooms, especially in bathtubs and showers. This scum is created when soap and hard water meet. In this case, prevention is the best method – squeegee natural stone after each use in the bathroom in order to minimize soap scum.
To remove it once it occurs, a non-acidic product or homemade solution of water and ammonia is best.
However, it should be noted that overuse of ammonia can dull the surface of natural stone.
Surface protection in bathrooms
There are many ways to help protect natural stone in bathrooms, as well as make surface cleaning easier. For instance, floor mats and countertop covers can go a long way toward preventing stains from dripping water and oil-based cosmetics.
When cleaning countertops and floors, try to use neutral cleaners that do not contain harsh acidic components, as these can damage calcareous natural stones like marble and limestone.
The most comprehensive way to assist in the protection of natural stone in a bathroom environment is to have it sealed. While topical sealers are available, a more thorough method would be investing in a high-quality impregnating sealer such as STAIN-PROOF Original™.
This type of sealer penetrates deep into stone and bonds permanently inside the pores, helping to create a substantial oil and water barrier. This barrier can assist with preventing stains from oil-based materials, soaps and water.
Additionally, an impregnating sealer can also help protect from efflorescence, freeze-thaw damage, spalling and picture framing.