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Special Considerations for Disinfecting White Floors

        

What you need to clean, and how you need to clean to reduce your risk for transmitting COVID-19, can all be a little confusing, but we’re going to try to clarify an issue for anyone with a white-colored floor that can lead to major headaches — and also help you disinfect more thoroughly in the process.

The general requirement for disinfecting with Clorox is a residence time (or contact time) of at least three minutes. Sounds simple, but the problem in actual use is that many people will quickly wipe the surface down and then walk away. And that’s going to leave it vulnerable to the virus. Because the virus can withstand a brief interaction, the disinfectant needs time to break down the virus’s outer surface. So, it’s critical to follow the specific instructions for the disinfectant you use to the letter, especially when it comes to residence time.

Once you apply your disinfectant properly, you need to follow with a cleaner, such as MARBLELIFE FLOOR CLEANER, that’s a non-acidic surfactant-based product capable of removing the Clorox and neutralizing the floor‚ not by means of an acid-base reaction but rather through oxidation.

Here’s where things can get even more complicated: If you have a white floor, and you don’t take this extra step, you may find yourself confronting an unsightly red stain that may, unfortunately, be impossible to remove. How does this red stain happen? Clorox is an oxidizer. White marble often has naturally occurring microscopic deposits of iron, which when oxidized become rust which you likely already know is red in color. As you disinfect with bleach, you are potentially oxidizing the iron in your stone and may begin to see a red or orange tint on the floor. This is particularly a concern if the surface has not been routinely sealed. Sealing keeps both the virus and the cleaner on the surface where it is easy to work with. An unsealed floor allows both the virus and the oxidizing disinfectant to enter the stone where it can create the rust color side-effect we seek to avoid. Once this occurs, your options are severely limited. As this is a “top-down” problem, it may be possible to grind the surface stain away. But more than likely, it will require a poultice treatment and then a re-polishing at minimum — so it’s no quick fix by any means.

If you are cleaning with a lemon-fresh, citric-scented, vinegar-infused cleaner or are seeking to go green and clean with vinegar, you are creating 2 potential additional problems. If the floor is white marble, you are dissolving the surface and removing the shine. If this is a tile floor, the acid can attack and remove the grout seal, making it more susceptible to staining. Cleaner selections matter. MARBLELIFE cleaners are formulated with the knowledge garnered from over 30 years of restoring floors. More than 20% of our residential restoration work is needed because of the use of inappropriate cleaners. This problem led us to be the only service provider that formulates its own cleaners.

To avoid these types of problem, here’s what you need to know.

  1. Disinfect with hypochlorite-based cleaners such as Clorox. The virus is destroyed in this step. Do not rush it. Note that MARBLELIFE MOLD & MILDEW STAIN REMOVER Cleaner is also a hypochlorite-based cleaner. You can find it for sale online here.
  2. After three minutes, rinse with MARBLELIFE STONE & TILE CLEANER. Although it is available in ready-to-use or concentrate, we recommend using the concentrate to reduce your total cost. Keep in mind that a disinfectant damages the virus by attacking its DNA protein. A surfactant cleaner seeks to surround the virus in a manner that makes it easier to remove from the surface — dead or alive — with the goal of transferring it to the bucket or cloth for disposal. This can reduce the annoying bleach smell as well.
  3. Sealing the stone helps keep the hypochlorite on TOP of the stone versus penetrating the stone and deepening the stain. Continue to clean with a non-acidic vinegar to protect your seal.

All this means that white floors need special attention whether they’re in your home or place of business. Managing COVID risk is easier the more you know. Our tile- and stone-care specialists are happy to review the special care your white floors need during the pandemic whether you’re a homeowner or property manager.

Call MARBLELIFE® today for a complimentary on-site consultation for your floor-care and maintenance needs. We have extra COVID-19 protocols in place during the pandemic.

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