I posted the following last evening........and after that post I began to
have trouble receiving messages. I never did know what happened but would
like to try again. If you responded to the original post would you please
respond again. Or tell me how I find and download my orginial post and any
My master bathroom is finished with marble tiles. Sometime last year I
believed my housekeeper had use some caustic cleaner that took the shine off
the tiles and left a dull surface on the floor and the step down into the
roman tub/shower, a bench in the shower area, and for about a foot up from
the tubfloor along the wall opposite the step into the tub. At the time I
assumed she had used Tilex to clean the grout. I had the tiles restored
($450.00) and took all the 'caustic' cleaners and put them in cabinets she
would not access to. The only cleaners my housekeeper has had available to
her since then were 'Method' products, Softscrub and Windex. Method is a
brand name of a environmentally friendly line of household cleaners that
clearly states they are safe for granite and marble. And which I have used
in the master bathroom for years with great success.
Several months have passed and the tiles have been damaged in the exact
areas in the exact way they were previously. And I believe by something the
housekeeper is using because I noticed it a day after she had last been
here. It was not immediately visually noticeable -the damage is more
noticeable when I squeegee the area after showering. The squeegee drags on
the dull, damaged area where it glides over the shinny, polished, undamaged
In an effort to determine what was going on I used an extra tile that I had
and poured Tilex, chlorine bleach, Windex, Method Bathroom & Tile Cleaner,
ammonia full strength onto the extra tile. And I left the agents on the
tile far longer than my housekeeper would in the process of normal
cleaning - the only agent that did damage was the Tilex (which remember she
doesn't have access to) and it didn't leave a dull finish as I have
described. It simply left the outline of the 'puddle' of the product that
was placed on the tile.
Any suggestions as to what is happening here?
Back to basic chemistry:
Marble is crystallized limestone which is calcium carbonate. Any acidic
compound will react and etch the marble. Therefore, your housekeeper
has tried something you hadn't approved and hence the results
described. What was used was not caustic, as that term technically
refers to materials with a pH of over 7.0 (neutral). Something below
pH 7, or acidic, was the culprit. Obviously, you could test the
cleaners using pH test strip papers available at laboratory supply
houses, for example.
The damage you see could be removed by polishing it out. Or a
protective coating could be applied that would be impervious to
cleaners. Consulting a good tile store or a trade association relating
to marble care could be enlightening. Our Government in Washington
cares for many acres of marble in the nations buildings and monuments,
so much information should be available. HTH
A lot of bathroom surface cleaners are acidic. Check the list of
ingredients for citric acid, phosphoric acid, oxalic acid, acetic acid
(vinegar), etc. Sounds like you need a cleaner specifically approved
Note that the reason such cleaners are acidic is to aid in the removal
of hard water stains. Those stains are largely calcium carbonate;
exactly what your tiles are made of.
May not be the chemical at all but the scrub pad. Marble is calcium
carbonate and subject to etching by acidic materials but it can also be
easily abraided by a scrub brush or pad or what have you that is
sufficiently abrasive. Especially if the process is repetative. An
abrasive scrub pad with an equivalent of 220 grit would be quite enough to
cause damage to the marble.
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