It is important to understand some terminology when it comes to cleaning. Understanding this language will lead you to be able to take a wider approach to maintaining your environment to be germ free and to help stop the spread of germs.
What is cleaning versus sanitizing and disinfecting?
The differences are significant as each level plays a role in the overall cleaning process.
Cleaning is just that, cleaning. It is the act of removing dirt, germs, and residue. It does not necessarily kill germs or bacteria. Cleaning large amounts of soil, dirt, etc. is critical before sanitizing or disinfecting can occur. If sanitizing or disinfecting is the goal, large quantities of dirt or soil will impede the ability of chemicals to do their work effectively.
Sanitizing is the act of lowering the number of germs on surfaces. Sanitizing reduces the germ count to a level considered safe by public health standards to decrease the risk of spreading infections. (The removal of 99.99% microorganisms).
For a surface to be sanitized it must be cleaned sufficiently, otherwise it is impossible to obtain close contact between the sanitizer and the surface to be sanitized. Also some chemical sanitizers (e.g. chlorine and iodine) react with organic matter and so will be less effective when the surface is not properly cleaned. Sanitizers are designed to clean and sanitize at the same time. However, excessive soil and dirt should always be cleaned and removed first.
Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces using chemicals. The act of disinfecting does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. The act of disinfecting usually involves a certain amount of dwell time for the chemical solution depending on the manufacturers recommendations. Even disinfecting doesn’t necessarily kill all organisms.
So having an overall cleaning strategy that has an understanding of the true elements of cleaning are important if you are hoping to prevent the spread of germs.
Does Everyday Cleaning Plan Include All Categories of Cleaning?
Does your cleaning plan include all categories of cleaning or are you just cleaning without any awareness of the need to properly sanitize or disinfect? Most professionals will recommend that at the least you should be sanitizing surfaces that are frequently touched in your home or office.
The question becomes, do your people understand what this means? Go into your cleaning closet or janitorial room. Do you see cleaning cloths hanging to dry? If so, you know that your cleaners are very likely just cleaning with a damp cloth. This means they are removing visible soils but not likely taking the next steps in combating the spread of germs by properly sanitizing or disinfecting.
Stop the Spread of Germs
You can help stop the spread of germs by having cleaning supplies on hand for your workstation or keys areas of your home. The quickest and easiest are pre-moistened disinfecting or sanitizing wipes, which you can use to clean the surfaces you touch the most before you start for the day work.
Ensuring a work environment that is clean and sanitary doesn’t have to be difficult. Preventing the spread of germs is really everyone’s responsibility and that starts with good hand hygiene. Be aware of how germs spread and have a good cleaning plan. This helps set the stage for a well-rounded plan to keep germs at bay. Also look for clues (or ask them) to see if your cleaning professional understands the correct techniques to help you stop the spread of germs in your work environment.
How to Clean Marble Bathrooms, Floors, Tables, Tiles, Countertops and Other Fixtures
You may wonder why there are special techniques used in the care and maintenance of marble. I mean, it’s a rock, right? True, but some stones are softer than others.
Marble is basically limestone that has combined and metamorphosed with other natural elements, making it a relatively soft rock that’s filled with veins of various colors and patterns.
Just like limestone, marble is easily etched, stained, and dulled. It’s more sensitive to certain foods and chemicals, and is not as impervious or as hard and resistant as granite.
Yet marble is very durable, and with proper care, it will last forever.
Below you’ll find tips and information for the following:
Proper Cleaning Solutions
How To Do Everyday Cleaning
Cleaning Marble Floors
How To Clean Up Spills
This may seem like a lot, but after you’ve learned a few simple cleaning and maintenance techniques, it becomes almost second nature, just like how you treat wood, cashmere or leather can become routine.
Please allow me to preclude the cleaning tips with a few care tips for new marble, because you should follow them before you clean new marble.
1. Marble Sealers
Immediately after your marble is installed, or after a thorough cleaning and ample drying time for older marble installations, you will sometimes want to apply a sealer to your marble for added protection.
Applying a sealant is pretty easy, and the cost and time involved is minimal when considering how proper marble care helps you avoid damage and expensive marble repair, as well as how it keeps your marble floors and countertops looking gorgeous for years on end.
How a Sealer Works – The sealing products you see used in the stone mason industry are actually ‘impregnators,” not sealers. They act more as a repellent. So don’t think a sealer will prevent all stain and damage to your marble. However, an impregnating sealer is often recommended, as it will greatly reduce marble stains from spills that are wiped up immediately.
Sealers Do Not Totally Prevent Scratches or Stains. Sealing does not make the stone stain proof, rather it makes the stone more stain resistant.
Sealing will not prevent scratches or etching (chemical etching often occurs due to acidic substances, such as household cleaners and acidic foods).
Choose the Proper Sealer – Use a high quality sealer made specifically for stone or marble. There are many out there, and it might be hard to know which ones will do the best job at penetrating the stone or which lasts the longest. We personally recommend sealers like SenGuard or Stone Care to help protect your marble.
For kitchen counters, be sure your sealer is non-toxic and safe for use in food preparation areas.
2. Marble Maintenance
Efflorescence – For I newly installed marble, you might see a white powder that appear on the surface. This is normal, and harmless. It’s just mineral salt deposits brought up through the stone as the water in the stone evaporates.
You can vacuum or dust mop the powder, but don’t use water to remove the powder, as that will the stone longer to dry out and finish evaporating its own moisture.
You may have to do this many times until the stone permanently dries out, but if the efflorescence problem persists for more than two months, contact the installer to determine if there isn’t something else causing the moisture.
Protect Marble From Scratches. No sharp objects. Don’t scoot or set sharp-edged objects directly on marble.
Use coasters, trivets and mats. Use coasters for glasses, trivets or placemats for plates, and mats for appliances on marble countertops. This not only prevents scratches, but prevents damage from heat, or etching caused by spills of acidic drinks such as orange juice or alcohol. To keep it simple, just treat your marble like nice wood, and use coasters.
Use padding. Use padding under table legs and chairs. No heavy objects on thin marble. Don’t stand or sit on your marble countertops or tables. Too much weight can cause a crack on thinner marbles, like that used for countertops.
Use vanity trays. Place toiletries such as hand soaps, toothpaste, lotions, perfumes, etc., on a decorative bathroom vanity tray. This protect from scratches, as well as etching caused by chemicals in hygiene products, and may even prevent stains from those products, as well. Such a bathroom vanity tray will not only protect your marble bathroom sink counter area, but you’ll feel like you’re in a fancy hotel with posh decor.
Use floor mats, area rugs and hallway runners near every entrance, as well as any high traffic area where you have marble tile floors. This helps minimize scratches from dirt, sand and grit. Of course, make sure your rugs are slip-resistant.
3. Proper Cleaning Solutions
Many common household cleaners contain alkalis, acids, and chemicals that can damage or etch your countertop surface, as well as thin and dissolve the sealant, which leaves your marble vulnerable to damage from stains.
Cleaning marble with your typical brand name or generic household cleaners, and even natural cleaners, is the most common cause of marble damage.
Don’t use ammonia, vinegar, orange or lemon for cleaning. Although vinegar is a good cleaning agent and disinfectant for many surfaces, it is acidic, as are the other items mentioned, and they can cause corrosive etching on your marble.
And definitely don’t use the average bathroom, grout cleaner, or tub and tile type cleaners. These often use abrasives that can dull and even scratch the surface of your marble.
Many rust removers that are commercially available, such as toilet bowl cleaners and laundry rust stain removers, contain trace amounts of hydrofluoric acid (HF). The silicates and other minerals in your marble will be attacked by the HF acid and deteriorate them.
So What Do You Use To Clean Marble?
I’ve heard it said that you simply use hot water and a sponge for daily cleaning, and once a week use a stone cleaner. However, that seems to me like it applies just to floors or areas that don’t need to be sterile. Some disinfecting tips are listed below.
Whatever you do, only use cleaning products specifically formulated for cleaning marble and you will save yourself the headache and hassle of costly and time-consuming re-polishing or repairs.
There are many marble cleaning products on the market, but four brands that have proven to be better than most are Marble Life, SCI, Miracle and Stone Tech). They all offer great quality and value.
4. How To Do Everyday Cleaning
Whatever cleaner you use, make sure you use it with a sponge, soft cloth, chamois, or dust mop. Don’t scrub because you will spread bits of dirt and sand around, which could scratch the marble.
Run the damp sponge or cloth gently over the surface while making a circular motion in any spots that might need a extra pressure. Thoroughly rinse the surface after washing, and be sure to change the rinse water frequently when cleaning larger or extra-dirty surfaces.
Don’t leave either pools of water or even a slight layer of moisture to dry on the marble to prevent stains and scum build-up. Use a soft, dry cloth to dry all the marble surfaces after you’ve cleaned them. Then buff it with a second dry cloth for a nice shine. (See below for more polishing tips.)
5. Cleaning Marble Floors
Dust mop floors made with marble tile on a regular basis. Unless you plan to eat off your floor, the only cleaners you need to use to clean your marble regularly are hot water for daily cleaning and a specially formulated stone cleaner once a week.
Use a non-treated, dry, clean, dust-mop. Be extra careful if you use a vacuum cleaner because grit jammed in the wheels or ragged, worn parts can scratch the surface. So be sure the wheels are not rough, and that the plastic or metal attachments or in good shape, preferably with soft bristles that are not worn.
6. Deeper Cleaning
You can get a deeper cleaning with a light, natural soap, or take some gentle dish soap and dilute it yourself, as the suds help remove dirt particles trapped in the marble pores.
Similar to any item cleaned in your home, an excessive concentration of cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks, so use it sparingly and buff it with a soft cloth afterwards for a beautiful shine.
Tip: Minimize soap scum in commonly wet areas, such as the bathroom, by using a squeegee after each use. You can also look for a non-acidic soap scum remover specifically designed for marble.
Of course, we want to disinfect surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen I and other areas, and areas such as hot tubs and pools sometimes attract algae, moss and mold. So go ahead and flush the area with plain water and use a mild bleach solution to thoroughly sterilize an area.
There are commercial cleaners available that are specifically made for marble, that will disinfect and won’t harm your marble. But if you’re in a pinch and need to disinfect something right away, there are common household items you can use.
Hydrogen Peroxide – Mold is common in bathroom tile grout and can be a serious health concern. To get rid of the mold, mix one part 3% hydrogen peroxide with two parts water and spray on the effected areas. Wait an hour before rinsing or showering. It does act like a bleach in that it will lighten darker marbles (and can bleach your clothes, or hair, etc.) so it’s best for lighter color marble surfaces.
Vinegar or Ammonia – Bleach is not the only solution. I know I mentioned how ammonia and vinegar should be avoided because they can hurt your marble. But if you need to disinfect your marble and can’t wait to find a better cleaner, then you can use ammonia OR vinegar on occasion. Just don’t get in the habit of it, as it really will dull and etch your marble. But as long as you use a low concentration, rinse well with plain water, buff it well afterwards, and use a polish, and don’t use it too often, then it shouldn’t harm your marble. DANGER: do not EVER mix bleach with vinegar, or ammonia and bleach, or ammonia and vinegar, etc. Use each one separately. Mixing any of them together causes harmful gases that will damage your lungs and the lungs of those around you.
Bleach – Bleach is toxic and should be a last resort. Also, bleach can lighten darker marbles, but it is an effective disinfectant for lighter marbles if used properly. To kill common bacteria and regular disinfecting of food related surfaces, use unscented, regular 5% to 6% household bleach, as recommended by The Center for Disease Control (CDC, an American government regulatory agency) at a ratio of 1 tsp bleach per gallon of water. For common disinfecting of all other surfaces, use 1 Cup of bleach per 5 gallons of water. And to kill mold and mildew that has already gotten a foothold, use 1 Cup of bleach per one (1) gallon of water.
8. How To Clean Up Spills
Marble can become stained or etched quickly if a liquid or even dry powders sit on it for even a short period of time. Especially clean up wet spills like coffee, any type of black tea, orange juice, and wine immediately after they are spilled.
Dry spills are serious, too. Materials with staining pigments, such as curry, cumin, coffee grounds, and even leafy greens, should be gently vacuumed or swept up right away when they’re spilled on any marble surface.
How to Clean Up a Spill – Blot. Flush. Dab. Repeat. Blot up spills with a paper towel immediately. Don’t rub as you wipe the area, or it it will push the spilled substance into the pores of the marble as well as spread the spill. Flush the area with mild soap or cleaner of your choice, or even just plain water, and rinse several times. Thoroughly dry the area with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary.
After each cleaning, after you’ve dried the marble, give it a quick buff with a soft cloth. This helps remove cleaning solution residues and gives your marble a shiny glow. There are also commercial marble polishes available. Just make sure it’s intended specifically for marble. Not all stone is the same, so it’s best to avoid cleaners made for granite or even for cleaning ”stone” in general.
Stone PLUS Cleaner has received rave reviews for its effectiveness on marble.
A spray surface dressing, such as Dazzle Topical Polish Shine Enhancer, will improve the shine and give your marble a little more protection.
Polishing a marble floor can make a very slippery surface when wet, so take precaution when other people may walk on those floors shortly after you’ve polished them.
Marble is so gorgeous, with luxurious beauty, that it is well worth the time it takes to learn and apply these few marble care tips.
There are a couple of ways to wash your TOMS which will keep them looking their best: handwashing or machine washing. Firstly, brush off all the dried on dirt from the shoes.
Handwashing – Soak the shoes in cold water and a small squirt of mild liquid dish soap. Using a small, soft bristle brush, gently brush the shoe material in a scrubbing motion. If your TOMS are the sparkly ones, be very careful to use the brush in the same direction as the sequins lay.
Machine washing – Use the most gentle cycle on your washing machine. Select cold water and use a small amount of gentle detergent. When the water level is high enough to fully cover the shoes, add the shoes.
It is best not to put your TOMS in the dryer. The dryer can tear the fabric. The most recommended way to dry them is to air dry. You can stuff a fabric softener sheet in each shoe while they dry. This will help to alleviate shoe odors. Some people use baking soda in a sachet to deodorize the shoes, however, do not pour baking soda directly into your TOMS as this can dry out the insole.
Dishwasher odor can be really disgusting. Here’s how to get rid of dishwasher odor:
In the bottom of your dishwasher, sprinkle some borax and leave it overnight. The next day, wipe down the inside of the dishwasher, door, and all other surfaces using a damp sponge or cloth. No need to rinse the surfaces, just do the next load of dishes.
To clean your iPad screen, all you need is a clean, soft, lint-free cloth, slightly dampened with water. Do not use any chemicals – no window cleaner, no general purpose cleaners, no aerosols, no solvents, no alcohol, no ammonia and no abrasive cleansers. Just water. The iPad screen has a special coating on it which repels the oil left there by your fingertips. Over time, this ability to repel oil diminishes and you will find that you cannot clean the fingerprint marks off your iPad screen as well. If you use any cleaning chemicals on the screen, you can further reduce the screen’s repelling abilities.
Completely turn off your iPad. Gently wipe the iPad screen to remove fingerprints. Avoid getting any moisture into any openings on your iPad.
Keeping your iPad in a case will limit the possibilities of the screen getting damaged or scratched. Also, try not to eat or drink near your iPad to avoid spills on your device which may get into the openings and damage your iPad.
Keeping your makeup brushes clean will ensure they have a longer lifespan, saving you money in frequent replacement costs. Over time, makeup brushes accumulate dirt and debris, old makeup, oils, bacteria and dead skin cells. Yuck. In addition to being dirty, makeup brushes become scratchy when they are not clean which can irritate your skin.
The frequency of cleaning your brushes will depend how much you use them. You likely should be cleaning your makeup brushes a minimum of once a week. Having extra makeup brushes will allow you to rotate them into use, always having a clean one available.
Here are the steps to cleaning your makeup brushes:
1. Wet the makeup brush hairs under lukewarm running water, being careful to always tilt the brush downward so the water doesn’t run up into the handle, potentially loosening the glue that holds the makeup brush hairs in place.
2. Squirt a very small amount of mild baby shampoo onto your fingers. Mild foaming face wash works well also. (There are specialized cleaning solutions that are marketed as makeup brush cleaners. It is not necessary to use one of these solutions to clean your makeup brushes.) Gently massage the shampoo or soap into the hairs of the makeup brush. Rinse under lukewarm running water, again being careful to tilt the brush downward to avoid water getting in contact with the glue which holds the hairs in place. Keep rinsing until all the shampoo or soap is gone and the water is running clean.
3. Gently squeeze the makeup brush hairs using a clean paper towel or clean towel. Once most of the water has been absorbed, lay the brush on its side on a clean towel to air dry. Reshape the hairs in order to prevent splaying. The drying time will depend on the type and size of makeup brush. Be sure that the brush is completely dry before using it, otherwise makeup will stick to it and you’ll have to clean the makeup brush again before you can use it!
Toothpaste can be a very effective cleaner for silver. The baking soda in toothpaste is what does the job. First, choose the right toothpaste. Do not choose gel toothpastes or toothpastes with tartar control or whitening powers. These toothpastes may contain chemicals which could damage the silver.
Wet the silver and dab a small amount of toothpaste on the area you are going to clean. (You may wish to test a small area first so as to see if you should be using toothpaste to clean your silver item.) Use a clean damp cloth and rub the toothpaste around on the silver. Keep rubbing gently until the silver is polished. Rinse the silver with water. As your cloth gets dirty, fold over to get clean areas. Once the silver is all rinsed, dry with a soft clean cloth. Repeat these steps on all the silver you wish to clean. On silver with intricate designs or grooves, you can use a soft toothbrush to work the toothpaste foam into the hard-to-reach areas.