The goal for our blog about natural stone is to provide education and tips about natural stone care and maintenance, polishing, cleaning, sealing, and honing, as well as explore ways we all can contribute to a greener world. This week, we at Sungloss Marble Restoration Company observed two recurring things our customers encounter, and wanted to share.
Murphy’s Oil Soap, and Flax Soap, are both common examples of vegetable oil-based soap. Murphy’s Oil is mainly intended to clean sealed wood floors. Although they claim no residue is left behind when used properly on wood surfaces (although some wood professionals disagree), when used on natural stone floors such as marble, granite, terrazzo, limestone, or slate, we have seen disastrous consequences. The vegetable oil residue over time imbeds into the pores of the stone. This process is invisible, and the use of Murphy’s Oil Soap is impossible to detect without a verbal acknowledgement by the caretaker. However, when we’ve been hired to refinish, or seal a floor with this issue, the imbedded residue clashes with our processes and chemicals creating unforeseen problems. For example, the floor will not take a polish, or the stone sealer reacts with the residue and ‘blooms’ (white powder forms). Only after we realize why we’re having problems, can we address the issue by aggressively cleaning and stripping out all imbedded residue. We’ve said it before (and we’ll say it again) DO NOT use Murphy’s Oil Soap on any natural stone surface. Following our 20 years experience and the Marble Institute of America’s Maintenance Guidelines, we recommend a neutral PH rinseless stone soap, used with an unbleached clean nylon pad to clean stone.
Another item we wanted to talk about is what to do with pets during a stone maintenance project in the home. Pet owners know there are many indoor and outdoor dangers to pets (click here for a full list from the Humane Society). When contractors come into the home to do work, new dangers can sometimes be introduced. Sungloss Marble Restoration Company’s environmental motto is to use water-based cleaners and sealers at all times unless a specific circumstance calls for a solvent-based product (in which case we will only use low-VOC products). Our approach to having pets in the home during work is cautionary: even if only water-based products are in use, cats, dogs, or other pets should be strictly kept in another part of the house. While no offensive odors would be present with water-based sealers, accidentally ingesting any of the solutions we use would be bad for them (luckily we have never had any cases of this occurring). In the past when solvent-based sealers were required, the fumes have been harmful enough to recommend pets be removed from the house, or at least far enough away so as to not subject their lungs, which can be as sensitive as a human infant. Another more practical consideration is the fact strange people and noises in the house might confuse or rile up the pet. We’ve even had customers who chose to board their pets for the days we were hired for stone maintenance.
Check back next time for more tips from Sungloss Marble Restoration Company, serving Chicagoland’s terrazzo, limestone, slate, marble, and granite maintenance needs for over 20 years