Cleaning Travertine With Hydrogen Peroxide:
I would be willing to bet that in over 90% of the homes in America you can find a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. This all purpose disinfectant has been around for over 150 years and has been used on everything to disinfect minor cuts and abrasions, as a mouth wash for sore throats, and your great grandmother (or possibly great-great grandmother) used it every Spring to wash down the walls and floors in her home to remove Winter germs. It is easy to use and is safe for children, pets, and the environment. The little brown bottle you see in the store is 97% water and only 3% hydrogen peroxide. The reason it is packaged in a brown bottle is because sunlight can break down hydrogen peroxide make it useless. But, should it be used on Travertine?
Travertine is a natural stone, from the limestone family, that has been used for centuries to add beauty and permenance to homes, public work projects, and businesses. It was the Romans who first began using travertine and built incredible structures that still stand today, the most notable is the Roman Coliseum. Because it is a natural stone you have to be careful not to use any acid type cleaners or grit type cleaners. Acid or grit (grit would be something like Comet) will etch and/or scratch the stone.
Hydrogen peroxide has a pH level of 6.5 which makes it slightly acidic. If you were to consistently use hydrogen peroxide on travertine it will eventually eat through the sealer, assuming that you had the floor sealed, and dull the stone. When pouring hydrogen peroxide onto travertine you will notice that it bubbles and fizzes that is because it is an acid. It is excellent for killing anaerobic bacteria, the harmful bacteria that causes tooth decay, heart disease, etc., but it will eventually damage your travertine stone. Acid literally eats the stone!
When selecting a cleaning agent try to select a cleaner that is pH neutral (this would be a pH of 7.0) or no higher in pH than 8.0. Use hot water and keep you cleaning solution in one bucket and your rinsing water in a separate bucket. Do not use sponge mops. Bacteria love to breed in sponge mops. The string mop is the best, and dry it with a micro-fiber mop immediately following cleaning. Give your chemicals time to work - spray them on and let them dwell for a few minutes before cleaning up.
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Until Next Time,