Help me clean my floor
May 10, 2018 6:10 AM   Subscribe

I seem to be unable to clean my bathroom floor. When I tried I made it worse. Help? I feel a failure as an adult.

My bathroom floor is black and hard to keep clean. I tried cleaning a couple of spots with vinegar and soap scum bathroom cleaning spray. Both of those left a white residue that is also impossible to clean and very stark against the black. Have I damaged the tiles for good or is there a way I can clean them safely?

Images of both spots are here.

Image 1: this was originally a line of what I thought was ancient yellowish-gray soap scum/ cleaning liquid remains along the end of the shower, leftover from years of mopping the bathroom. I sprayed some soap scum removing liquid (ingredients: surfectant, solvent, citric acid) over it, left it for a few minutes. This is what happened.

Image 2: this is just below a very small but longstanding water leak. there was a watermark (the left side of the stain). I tried a few drops of white vinegar on the right side, thinking it was just remains of hard water (although our water is not very hard, the leak was pretty old). Again, it just left a white mark that is not wiping away and I'm nervous of scrubbing too hard.

I see now that both cleaners were acidic. Does that mean I've damaged the tiles or their finish? I has assumed they were just large tiles but maybe they are some sort of finished composite stone. I have no idea. Assume I am completely useless and know nothing.
posted by sockofdreams to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The tile looks like black granite or quartz - stone, in any case. I would lay a paper towel soaked in vinegar on the water spots to remove the calcium/ mineral. Then clean well with a couple clean vinegar paper towels. Any small amount of residue will show up white or as a film. I'd get it super clean, then use wax to make future cleaning easier. The finish on stone is usually just very polished. Repeated use of acid cleaners like vinegar will dull that over a long time.
posted by theora55 at 7:04 AM on May 10, 2018

For general reference, Ask A Clean Person/Jolie Kerr has a good guide to cleaning all sorts of floors. She definitely does not recommend abrasives and/or acids for tile floors so maybe try her other suggestions of Oxy, something bleach-based, or dishsoap. But figure out what the tiles are made of first.
posted by hydrobatidae at 7:33 AM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

To me, that looks somewhat as if the floors were waxed repeatedly. So maybe try googling methods to remove floor wax? I seem to vaguely remember my mom using ammonia for that, back in the 60’s when everyone still waxed their floors.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:45 AM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Do NOT ever use vinegar on stone unless you know what the stone is comprised of, for sure. Vinegar used on marble destroys it. Calcium rich soft stones are often used in construction. Do not use vinegar on stones like this.

Here are instructions on repairing surface damaged marble.

In addition to this you should know that it is recommended to use a marble sealant on marble floors at least once a month.

Look for cleaning products marked "safe to use on marble" or stick to dish detergent.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:34 AM on May 10, 2018 [7 favorites]

NO. VINEGAR. ON. STONE. EVER! (read in your best mommy dearest voice)

Hey. You know what works on spots like that? A hair dryer on high heat and and a clean cloth. Give it a try. Works on white spots on wood finish, may work here.

Research what those are made of and do that. FWIW my friend got these stone countertops for her kitchen and we could never leave anything wet on the counter without making a stain. It was horrible, and she sorely regretted the choice of countertop... somebody may have screwed you with an impossible to clean bath floor, but I super hope not. Find out what that floor is made of.
posted by jbenben at 9:10 AM on May 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

That looks like granite to me , I would use generic fluoride toothpaste because it has tin oxide as an ingredient ,a recognized polish for stone . smear on the paste add elbow grease until the shine comes back .
posted by hortense at 11:26 AM on May 10, 2018

Do a google search on cleaning black granite counter tops - there are a few different techniques recommended. I feel your pain but that floor is beautiful.
posted by bluesky78987 at 2:54 PM on May 12, 2018

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