Every now and again, something comes along which changes the way we think. I have chosen to profile such a product this month: Microscrub. To understand the real benefits of MicroScrub I must first explain the conventional approach to cleaning stone and tiles. Normally, we first have to understand the nature of the contaminant we are cleaning and then select an appropriate cleaner. Usually, for example, if we have grease, oil or general grime, we would want to use an alkaline cleaner. For mineral deposits, or grout residue, we would typically opt for an acid-based cleaner. The problem is that, firstly, it is not always a good idea to resort to strong chemicals, whichever side of neutral on the PH scale they are, and secondly, we would want to make sure that we do not expose acid sensitive stones to acidic cleaners – so we must also know a bit about the chemistry of the stone we are trying to clean. If we are trying to break down some other problem deposit or surface stain, such as rubber marks, or trying to remove surface coatings, we might even have to resort to a solvent of some kind.

So, in order to cope with all eventualities, we need an alkaline, an acid and a solvent in our tool kit, and we have to know how and when to use them. This is why Microscrub is such a great product; it can deal with mild to moderate cases of all of the above – so with just one product we can solve a number of problems and issues.

So what is it and how does it work? Microscrub is basically a cream abrasive cleaner, but there is more to it than that of course. There are 3 components to the product:

1. A mild cleaning solution (only slightly alkaline, so not a strong chemical)

2. A grinding powder derived from calcite ( the mineral in limestone – so it won’t scratch marble, limestone or other softer stones)

3. And last but not least, the nano-technology.

As a mild cleaner in its own right, Microscrub will breakdown mild surface soiling such as general grime and dirt, but, it is the calcite-derived abrasive that will do most of the hard work. For example one problem area that we touched on above is how to ‘safely’ remove a grout haze off a polished marble? – Well although problem might suggest an acidic cleaner, we cannot use one as it will destroy the surface of the marble. Microscrub will safely abrade the residue off with no ill effect on the marble’s surface. In the same way there are many surface contaminants that can be safely and effectively removed from most stone surfaces, for example, hard-water deposits or soap-scum in shower areas – think of Microscrub as an ‘exfoliating cream’ for stone.

Just the cream abrasive element alone makes Microscrub a great product but it is the nano-technology that really makes this product so unique and versatile. There is a lot of hype around the term ‘nano’ at the moment, so what is the nano-technology actually doing in Microscrub? Well it is quite simple actually, all it does is reduce the surface tension of the cleaner so it can more easily penetrate the small pores and micro pores of the surface you are trying to clean, this makes the cleaner much more effective as it does not just ‘flow over’ the smaller pores and leave the dirt untouched.

Microscrub can be used to safely and effectively tackle a number of problems such as:

* Removal of coatings and waxes

* Deep cleaning

* Removal of cement based or even fine epoxy based grout residues

* Removal of lime-scale and soap-scum deposits

* Removal of some metal marks from porcelain

Of course there will always be a need for the traditional approach, where the soiling is so ingrained or the contamination so heavy that Microscrub alone would not be sufficient. However, Microscrub can be added to other cleaners as a booster, adding the abrasive and nano, surface-tension-busting effects to really turbo-charge the cleaner. And that’s not all, every day I find new uses for it, I even cleaned my UPVC window sills with it, so if you are going to put one product into your cleaning kit this spring, make sure it is Microscrub – the Swiss Army Knife of Tile and Stone Cleaners.

Copyright Ian Taylor and The Tile and Stone Blog.co.uk, 2013. See copyright notice above.