What are pH levels?
pH is a measure of hydrogen concentration in an alkaline or acid solution, on a scale from 0 to 14. Close to 7 is considered pH-neutral, anything closer to the acid end than to the alkali side will be more acidic and anything closer to the alkali end then it will be more alkaline.
The most common way of measuring this in everyday life might be food: lemons and vinegar have a low pH score around 3 while bleach-based cleaners can range between 11 to 13 on this scale.
Why does this matter?
One of the most important ways to keep your home clean is understanding the pH. Solutions with a high degree will be better at removing greases and stains, while low-pH solutions do a better job breaking down minerals. Knowing this factor can help you get your home back in order without having to use as much harsh chemicals.
So, any products that are on either side of this scale can be harmful for marble worktops. The best way is to always check your labels before you buy products for cleaning because if they are acidic then it will damage that beautiful surface of yours.
If your kitchen units have been subjected to bleach over time this can cause yellow spots on them, if this has happened you may need a specialist to come and grind the surface with diamond abrasives to remove the staining.
These are the pH levels of common household cleaning supplies.
Chlorine Bleach: pH 11 to 13
Bleach is one of the most corrosive substances on the pH scale that we are able to use. The index for a bleach-based product is between 11 and 13; any more than 12 will require you to wear protective clothing wherever it’s used and always work in a well-ventilated area.
This substance can be dangerous when exposure isn’t monitored appropriately and may damage many types of surfaces, including fabrics; as such, some people choose not to clean with it at all.
On the other hand, because bleach is near one of the extremes of this little measurement tool that ranges from 0 to 14, it does provide an extremely high level of whitening power–significant enough that most stains will disappear following a diligent scrubbing session with bleach.
Ammonia: pH 11 to 12
It’s important to note that ammonia has a pH level of approximately 12 and can be corrosive, meaning it needs to be used in an open area with good ventilation. It is also not safe when mixed with other chemicals such as detergents or bleach agents.
Even so, this chemical works wonders on tough dirt and grime making it a formidable cleaner (or toilet bowl cleaner).
Oven Cleaner: pH 11 to 13
Oven cleaners are just as alkaline as ammonia, which helps them cut through grease and grime. Extreme care should be taken, though, when using an oven cleaner at the top of the alkaline scale, as they can easily damage your marble countertops
Baking Soda: pH 8 to 9
Baking soda is an alkaline substance, but not at the scale needed to make it corrosive. While baking soda has enough alkalinity to power through grease and dirt (but not enough to do so with ease), it may be a great option for many surfaces in your home because it’s not too powerful.
Mild Dish Soap: pH 7 to 8
(Neutral Cleaner Like Fairy Washin Up Liquid)
Mild dish soap, like Fairy washing up liquid, typically has a pH level of around 7, making it a perfect all-purpose cleaner for any surface. If your dish soap is labeled “mild,” great for hands, or gentle on surfaces, it likely has a pH level of around 7 and will work well throughout the home.
Stone Cleaner: pH 7 to 10
Most stone cleaners are standardized to be around a 7 in terms of their pH level. Some can range up to 10, so those with sensitive surfaces should be cautious when buying products.
Vinegar: pH 3
Vinegar, which has a pH of around 3, is acidic and can be used to remove mineral deposits. But many people mistakenly believe that vinegar should always be diluted or avoided when cleaning certain surfaces because it’s acid-based. It should not be used on stone, marble or hardwood floors because these types of surfaces could suffer permanent damage from an acid cleaner like vinegar.
Lemon Juice: pH 3
Lemons and vinegar are acidic cleaners. While there are many surfaces, like copper pots and drains, which benefit from the cleaning and fresh lemony smell of these cleaners, it’s best that you exercise caution with them on stone or grout surfaces.
How to lower the risk of stains and discoloration on your marble countertops
For everyday cleaning you want to avoid substances with high pH levels which can cause etching in your counters including bleach based cleaners, dish soap as well any acidic substance such as lemon or vinegar. You should also use natural products instead of synthetic ones that are harsher on marble surfaces like ammonia or alcohol based products (such as window cleaner).
The best way to clean your marble countertop
When it comes time for regular kitchen maintenance, be sure not to use abrasive materials when scrubbing down counters so they don’t get scratched or damaged; good options include sponges or soft cloths.
Ways you can prevent damage to your marble countertop
Your counters are at risk of stains and scratches in areas like edges where they may be exposed to splatters or contact with other kitchen items such as cookware (think spatulas). To avoid these things it’s important to regularly apply a coat of lithofin stain stop which helps protect the pores from absorbing moisture and in turn, staining your marble. Tips for maintaining your counters with regular cleaning and routine maintenance such as polishing, sealing, or applying a coat of lithofin every now and then. Regularly clean up spills promptly using an absorbent material; when scrubbing down surfaces use soft sponges rather than abrasive materials, which can scratch the surface.