Note: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. This is a discussion about the use of disinfecting cleaners to sanitze marble and how such chemicals affect marble countertops and tile.
Soap and Hot Water
Soap and hot water is a proven method to help sanitize marble (and all hard surfaces) with one caveat discussed below.
Soapy water will remove the vast majority of pathogens from the area and "removal" is the most effective method to "disinfect" the surface and thereby minimize the potential of contracting a disease or illness.
You may think that is just nonsense, but it's a tried-n-true method according to medical experts.
Soap will not "kill" germs but the removal of microbes is the first step to disinfection according to the Center for Disease Control and medical experts.
For wiping up crumbs and daily spills, just hot water will do along with a daily clean with a stone cleaner that won't leave a film.
If you do create a real mess, then washing with soap and water a couple of times will go a long way toward sanitizing marble.
Hydrogen peroxide, Bleach & Vinegar
A more potent disinfectant solution can be mixed using hydrogen peroxide or bleach (not together though!), but you're rolling the dice using these chemicals on marble.
Hydrogen peroxide is acidic, so it will etch (dull and/or discolor) your marble countertops. Diluting with water will decrease the risk of etching (and germ-killing properties), but getting the mix right is tricky, so be prepared for etch marks if you experiment.
Cleaning with this spray will work just as well as soapy water to remove the majority of pathogens to sanitize marble but without any soap scum build-up to dull the surface.
Then, for the meat and poultry or messes that really make you worry, clean repeatedly with soap, or preferably the Mold & Mildew Remover.
Of course, you should be using a cutting board, preferably one designated specifically for meat/fish... one for fruit/veggies, etc., in order to minimize contamination of the countertop from raw foods.
Important... Dwell Time
Like all other disinfectant sprays, the above mildew remover must remain on the surface for 10 minutes or so.
Most people are not aware of this requirement.
Disinfectant cleaners do not work immediately on contact. You can't just spray on and wipe off a disinfectant. It won't sanitize or kill a thing that way. It needs time to work.
Again... simply cleaning the surface regularly and thoroughly removes most of the bacteria, viruses, microbes, and pathogens on the surface.
This minimizes contact and the chance of infection and is, in general, an effective disinfecting technique.
Everyone understands the desire to guard against health problems, although something interesting that you may consider is that many studies are now revealing that the general use of disinfectant cleaners is overkill in most instances and over-use is likely counterproductive.
Using antibacterial cleaners and disinfectants only when specifically needed is apparently the best choice.
I just moved into a house w/ marble counter tops in the kitchen.
My felines are in the habit of walking on the counters.
I used to use bleach on my counters before preparing food on them since kitty feet aren't exactly "clean".
I also like to bleach after preparing raw chicken or spilling raw eggs on the counter.
I'm guessing I shouldn't use bleach on the marble.
So how can I safely disinfect my marble counters?
You're right... DO NOT use bleach, vinegar, ammonia or any other common household product for cleaning marble including "brand-name" cleaners like Lysol disinfectant.
These will etch / damage the marble countertop finish.
Now, you could risk using a bleach or hydrogen peroxide solution. It could (likely will) dull your marble if you don't get the mix right... I really would recommend that you do NOT experiment unless you're prepared to restore the surface.
You may get away with it if done rarely.... but it's a gamble to use even once. In pretty much every case you'll end up needing to repair your marble.
You want to disinfect daily, so the above is not really a "safe" option.
You could use soap and hot water (yes, soap is a disinfectant cleaner) safely. It won't damage marble... but soap will cause a dull film... "soap scum" to build up on the marble. This happens even when you rinse, etc. and of course will not make for a clean surface.
No. Hydrogen peroxide is acidic as noted above and will chemically burn dull etch marks into the marble surface. However, it is an effective antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal cleaner.
Can you use rubbing alcohol on marble?
Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) typically is rather neutral (pH 6-8) and shouldn't damage the marble surface.
70% Isopropyl Alcohol has proven anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial properties. It can kill the flu virus, bacteria, fungi, and other microbes.
However, the concentration must be at least 70%. Luckily most bottles of isopropyl alcohol in stores are 70% concentration.
Anti-microbial properties diminish rapidly below a 50% concentration so you should never dilute it and never mix it with any other cleaner.
But oddly it is better to use the 70% concentration than a 90% or higher concentration because the water mixed in with the 70% concentration acts as a catalyst to kill germ cells and improves dwell time on the surface and thus germ-killing ability.
This is a special case....
Obviously, your husband's health is the most important concern and you want to ensure that the surfaces are effectively sanitized.
And I am not a doctor or scientist so I can only advise on what certain products will do to your marble and not which is the most effective to sanitize marble for your situation.
So, in this case, you could choose to go with hydrogen peroxide which is a potent anti-viral, anti-baterial. You may also consider using a bleach disinfectant solution but getting the concentration right for both killing germs and not damaging the marble is tricky.
Again, both could potentially etch your marble countertop. Etching makes the finish duller. This is most visible on polished marble.
Given that you have tumbled marble, any etching that may occur (hydrogen peroxide is acidic, bleach is alkaline) won't be that noticeable, and since you'll be cleaning the entire surface area it will etch evenly.
Of course, it'll be very risky using HP on the polished marble countertops. It will almost certainly dull these to some degree.
Again, this is a special case and I wouldn't normally recommend using bleach or hydrogen peroxide, particularly since you do have a "marble-safe" disinfectant cleaner option....
A possibly better choice and marble-safe is to use this Mold & Mildew Cleaner. This cleaner contains bleach in a perfect dilution to be safe (will not dull) for use on marble including all polished marble.
Certainly, clean all surfaces multiple times letting the product sit on the surface for several minutes before wiping down.
If you use the hydrogen peroxide or bleach, then expect etching. You will kill the microbes but have to repair the marble finish.
How do I disinfect marble bathroom countertops, floor tile and the attached water fixtures without staining the marble?
I really like to spray bathroom fixtures with a disinfectant cleaner.
My marble countertop will be sealed before installation. This is supposed to be a long-lasting seal.
For disinfecting and sanitizing marble surfaces or faucets I'd suggest using the Bathroom Mold & Mildew Remover which is made for killing/cleaning mold and mildew (excellent for marble showers), so it is a very effective disinfectant spray AND totally safe for cleaning marble... it won't etch or damage.
"Staining" is not the concern. Marble is not very porous and does not stain easy especially polished (shiny) marble.
In fact, polished marble is near stain-proof and typically does not need nor can it be sealed since the sealer will not absorb.
And don't apply a sealer "just to be safe" unless you want to strip off the dull hazy film it could leave when it doesn't absorb and a residue dries on the surface.
What you may be concerned about is marble "etching".
Marble etching is often confused with staining, but they are two different issues.
Etching is corrosion that causes a chemical burn of the marble leaving dull light colored spots.
Common disinfectants are usually very harsh and most(all) will etch marble.
Unfortunately, sealing marble (if needed) won't protect it against etch marks... only stains. This is why you need to use the "marble-safe" product recommended for disinfecting marble, limestone, and travertine.
Okay... more on disinfecting...
You can never completely kill or clean away bacteria.
The best way to minimize bacteria, viruses, and fungi and stay healthy is regular and thorough cleaning.... nothing fancy needed.
Frequent cleaning with a regular cleaner (in this case a marble-safe cleaner like the Marble & Granite Cleaner Spray) will keep all stone surfaces sanitary.
But when you really want to "disinfect" a surface immediately... use the Mold & Mildew Cleaner. It'll do the trick safely.
Remember to leave the cleaner on the countertop / tile for a good 10 minutes. This is the proper sanitizing method when using any household disinfectant. If it doesn't remain on the surface long enough it won't kill the pathogens.
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