The Tile and Stone Blog

Tile and Stone Maintenance

The Dangers of Using Cillit Bang on Natural Stone and Tiles

A blog reader submitted the following question to us: “After removing the grout from our natural stone polished tiles, and before sealing, they were a couple of small stains which were probably water. We used Cillit Bang to remove this but has made worse. Are there any products that could remove this?”

And our suggested course of action was as follows:

” Sorry to hear of your predicament. I am assuming that what you have is a ‘polished’ natural stone, such as marble or limestone. Let me first tell you that you are not the first person to do this by a long way. The product you mention contains an acid and although acids can help break down cement and grout, they should never be used as cleaners on acid sensitive stone, which is what you have.

What I suspect has happened is that you may or may not have fully removed the cement residue, but in attempting to do that, the cleaning product has etched the polished surface of the stone. Basically the polish is created by grinding and rubbing the stone at the factory with diamonds or silica carbide blocks, working first with coarse grit all the way down to the finest, just like using different sandpapers on wood to get a smooth finish. With the surface now super-smooth, it is very flat and reflects light very well, creating the full color reflection and high gloss finish of polished stone. The acid in the cleaner has instantly reacted with the calcium carbonate in the stone, eroding it away irregularly (eating small chunks of the surface) this has the effect of putting it back into a very rough and unpolished state.

So what can you do? well it depends on how bad it is and how wide spread. If you have only a few spots then you may be able to re-polish with a hand re-polishing cream such as Renue. If the etch marks are deeper than that, then you may need to have the stone diamond polished again – this is usually a job for a professional.

If you feel it is hand polish – able then you still need to get all the grout staining off. For this I would recommend MicroscrubTM – it is a safe abrasive cleaner that will help remove grout deposits without harming the stone. Do this then examine the stone to see how bad the etches are. If however you feel that there could be a significant amount of etching all over, then cleaning the grout is not so much of an issue, as if you have to resort to calling in a stone professional, the process will also remove any grout residue.

Let us know if we can be of any further help.”

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

18 Comments

  1. I used cillet bang on the gritting on my floor tiles however it leaked out onto the tiles when I rinsed it off it left a dull stained on tiles how do I get rid of this and bring it back up shiner hope you can help me

  2. Hi Brenda,

    It is hard to know without knowing what your tiles are: glaszed, metalic glazed, porcelain, natural stone, polished marble etc.

    Usually, the dulling you describe is a result of the acid in the cleaning product, etching the surface. If this has happened and it was a polished calcium based stone like marble, then there may be a way to re polish it with a polishing cream or hand diamonds but if it is a delicate glaze that has bee damaged, it is likely to be beyond repair.

    the only other thing I ccan think of is maybe the acid has pulled some fine cement out of the grout joints and left a haze on the surface, this would be removable.

    I need more information

    Hope that helps

    Ian

  3. Hello.
    After reading your other replies I understand what may have happened to my red quarry tiles.
    I used the cillit bang to clean a build up of grime from old kitchen quarry tiles.there are squirt marks where the neat product contacted.
    The white stains look as if they have bleached the colour rather than eroding the surface.
    Only a few tiles are affected and all the tiles have a slight tone and colour variation so I am considering using a stain
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks

  4. Hi Peter,

    You know I am thinking that the ‘bleached’ areas might be where the product has been more concentrated, and had longer to work and could in fact be biting into some ingrained grime, grime that is still all over the rest of the tiles, sometimes powerful cleaners will turn the DIRT white as it sarts to break it down

    so, it might be worth adding some more cleaner to one of the ‘damaged’ tiles – you can’t make it any worse, leave it on for a few minutes and scrub/rinse, see if the white goes (finishing the job it had only started – in other words the white mark was partially broken down grime, second attempt may remove the rest) if this is the case, then it is just telling you that you need to do a very deep clean on the floor with a strong alkaline cleaner or maybe even a stripper.

    I find it quite unlikely that the product you used would actually whiten the actual quarry tile (the grout yes, but not the tile)

    I would check this out first and come back to me if it is not conclusive

    Hope this helps
    Ian

  5. i used cillit bang limescale and shine on bathroom tiles, looking back, big mistake i think my tiles had some kind of polished or glazed surface. (maybe porcelain). they now look terrible just looks like u can see where i sprayed it on, and looks like lots of runs down it. please help any suggestions as to what i can do???

  6. Hi Lorna,

    I would not expect too much damage to a glazed or polished tile from that product (usually it is the calcium based stones that are the issue such as marble and limestone) . However it may be that you have some calcium or hard-water/limescale marks on your tiles that were not noticeable, which this product has partially dissolved, then as it ran down your tiles, it left streaky deposits of the lime on the lower tiles.

    Try a microabrasive cleaner to see if it will remove the calcium deposit off the tiles. You may indeed need to use a mildly acidic product such as the one you used, if so, make sure to pre-wet the surface first then apply the product, scrub and rinse straight away with clean water, then buff the walls dry with a towel.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  7. Hi there,

    I used cillit bang to clean the tiles in our shower, I’m not sure what type of stone they are but they’re dark with a metallic finish. The product has left light streaky marks everywhere it was used and no amount of scrubbing with hot water will shift them. I fear the acid in the product has caused the damage, is there anything I can do to repair them?

  8. Hi Claire,

    I don’t know too many stone tiles with a metallic finish (not to say that some stones don’t have some metallic elements in their make up and there are certainly some stones that have this kind of look, some black slate has a silvery sheen to it for example). There are also ceramic tiles that have metallic glazes. Some of this materials can be sensitive to acids.

    I would need to know a little bit more about exactly the material you have but it does sound like there is some damage. There is a slight possibility that the streaks are not damage, but either fine deposits of cement from the grout joints, (dissolved by the cleaner then left behind), or if the tiling/stone was not brand new, and you have a build up of calcium or hard water on the surface of the tile/stone then the streaks could actually be clean streaks (where the acid has eaten through the hard water deposit) I have seen this on occasions, the deposits build up over time so we don’t tend to notice them, until a cleaner such as this leaves ‘streaks’ where it has removed the deposit (reealing the tile/stone beneath).

    This can also be true of new tiling where there was perhaps a fine film of cement grout left on the tiles, which has now been removed.

    Hope this helps, if you can provide any m,ore information or photos I might be able to pin it down a little better

    Kind regards

    Ian

  9. Hi Ian,

    Many thanks for your speedy reply, I’ve since found out the tiles are actually porcelain and it seems the product has taken off the layer of lacquer/varnish. They are only a year old so my only thought was to contact the supplier to see if there’s anything they could recommend.

    Thank you again for your advice.

    Kind regards,

    Claire

  10. Hi Ian,

    Where can I buy Renue? It doesn’t come up on my internet browser. Is there any other brand name that might do the same job.

    Many thanks

    Rosie

  11. Hi Rosie, Unfortunately That is a product that to my knowledge is no longer being brought into Europe. there are other marble repolishing compounds and systems around but not as easy to use as that was

    sorry

    Ian

  12. David Edwards

    May 6, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Hi Ian,

    Our porch area has red Edwardian tiles which we cleaned sympathetically and over the years developed a nice sheen. Sadly a new cleaner spilt/was heavy handed with Cillit Bang… we have a nice dull area with splashes on the porch floor… how do we resurrect the floor… it is 6’x7′

    Glad I stumbled on your blog.

    Thanks in advance,

    David

  13. Hi David,

    OK, hard to know 100% but my usual issue with this product (and others like it) is that it features acid as an active ingredient but they have a range of products under that brand now so I am do not know which one you have used. In any case,, although it is possible that acidic products (in conjunction with elbow grease and abrasive pads etc) can damage the surface of these older tiles, it is not that likely in my opinion. More likely is that the product has removed the patina that has built up.

    I don’t think that there is a quick fix for this, over time your tiles have developed a nice patina and it will just take time for that to come back again. There is no product that will replace the patina – the only other options would be to strip the whole floor back to the same bare, mat appearance and then allow it all to build back up again over time (so evenly) or apply some kind of synthetic colour enhancer or surface coating – but these are drastic or at least pretty definite decisions and personally I think I would just allow it to be for a little while and see if it starts to improve – as a patina build back up again

    Hope that helps

    Ian

  14. David Edwards

    May 17, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Thanks Ian… what did Edwardian’s traditionally “polish” their tiles with?

    Kind regards

    David

  15. Good questions, not sure I know for sure, but wax / boot polish for a guess or candle wax, paraffin, oil etc.

    You could try asking the very knowledgeable people at the Jackfield Tile Museum in Telford

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  16. David Edwards

    May 28, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Many thanks Ian…

    Kind regards

    David

  17. Hi. We used cillitbang on our kitchen top as we thought we had water stains and it has left it whiter than before. Any suggestions how to clean it off please?

  18. OK, if it has left white marks they are most likely acid damage, ‘etching’ this is not a stain, but the actual damage and removal of fine surface particles, a bit like chemical sand-blasting – it leaves the surface ever so slightly rougher (which you may or may not be able to detect by touch) but it scatters light in a different way and so the colour and shine are affected. Depending on what material your top is made from (you don’t say), it may or may not be possible re-polish it.

    Hope that helps

    Ian

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