STONE IN THE BATHROOM

With increased public awareness regarding health issues and concerns about transmission of diseases; the role of maintenance managers has consequently risen to a greater level of responsibility in controlling pathogenic micro-organisms and reducing the risk of exposure to infectious diseases.

Hotel guestrooms are occupied by several patrons each week. Public restrooms in these and other facilities are used by hundreds of people daily. Bacteria flourishes easily in these damp,  moist environments. In fact, almost any kind can double their numbers in just 15 minutes and  in the course of a normal 8 hour day, some bacteria can multiply to more than 15 million and survive in a range of temperatures from freezing to almost boiling.

Restrooms are prime sources of contamination simply because of their function. Because bodily fluids can transmit disease, toilets and urinals are obvious contamination points. Cross contamination points, such as flush valves, water faucets and push plates, are also bacterial breeding grounds. The average person uses a restroom or bathroom seven times a day. In a study of hotel bathrooms, the areas with the highest infectious microbe counts were sinks, bathtubs and floors; toilet seats actually had lower numbers of germs. These areas must be disinfected daily.

STRUCTURAL DIFFERENT
To effectively control pathogenic micro-organisms in stone, it is critical to understand that  stone is structurally different from the common materials associated with the restroom environment.

These structural differences are porcelain, glazed ceramics, metal and plastics are impervious; conversely, stone contains a micro-pore capillary or fracture structures thatare interconnected, beginning at the surface and extending throughout the stone. Stone has an internal physical structure that is not totally solid.

WATER ACTIVITY
Bacteria and mold can only grow in an environment that has a particular level of moisture. A measure (or index) of a substance's moisture content is called its "water activity". Water activity values range from 1.0 (the highest) to 0.0 (none). A glass of water has a value of 1.0-100% available water.
Due to stones ability to absorb moisture into these micro-capillary/fracture structures, the water activity values can produce an ideal breeding ground, below the surface, for odor and disease causing organisms

UNIQUE MAINTENANCE CHALLENGE
With the introduction of stone surfaces into the restroom environment unique maintenance challenges arrived. There are major differences between cleaning for appearance and  cleaning for health. What may appear to be clean may not be pathogen-free.
Traditional disinfectant cleaners are surface-active agents designed to remove microbes from the surfaces of impervious material. They are not formulated for penetration action.  For this reason, these disinfectants have a limited affect on stone. Also, most of these disinfectants contain harsh alkalis, acids and other ingredients that are detrimental to the
aesthetics and durability of the stone.

Stone care products have been formulated to effectively solve these specific cleaning problems and reducing the risk of exposure to infectious disease.

PREVENITIVE MEASURES
A successful restroom stone maintenance program requires three vital factors:

Treating the stone with a penetrating sealer.
These penetrating sealers are unlike conventional floor sealers, they are not topical coatings.They penetrate below the surfaces into the micro-pore structure, lining them and interrupting the natural migration of moisture into the stone, thus eliminating or greatly reducing the "water active" values needed to support the growth of odor and disease causing bacteria, preventing the development of biological staining, and the damaging affects of water, the dissolving and leaching of the softer minerals in the stone, causing pits, spalling and popping. By making the stone actively water, soil and stain repellent, the penetrating sealer actually permits the practice of preventive cleaning and maintenance.
This practice can help also prevent costly restorative cleaning, repairs and replacements.

The use of cleaning and disinfecting agents formulated for stone care.
There are two basic classes of conventional restroom, bathroom cleaners and disinfectants, both are formulated with surfaces active detergents to clean the surfaces of impervious materials. The "all-purpose" cleaners generally have a high
alkaline pH range of 8 to 10. Within this "all-purpose" class is a group referred to as  "neutral" all-purpose cleaners, they can have a pH range of 6 (being slightly acidic),  to 8. These cleaners are to harsh to be used on a daily bases to clean polished stone without detrimental effects. The other class of cleaners are acid based. This class of cleaners likewise will affect the aesthetics and durability of the stone.

Stone care product have been formulated to effectively solve specific cleaning  problems related to the porous and mineral characteristics of stone. They have been designed for penetration action. The use of a true neutral pH 7 non-reactive cleaner can be used as a all-purpose cleaner on a daily bases without harming the  stone. For disinfecting stone and other materials a non-reactive neutral pH 7  balanced disinfectant cleaner can be used everyday to disinfect and clean all the surfaces without doing any harm to the stone. Daily use of this type of product will prevent the growth of bacteria and mold on the stone.

Use a permeable topical stone polisher.
This added preventative measure will provide a durable protective coating giving maximum protection to vanities and counters, minimizing etching caused by perfume, cosmetics, personal hygiene products, alcoholic beverages, sodas and juices. This is also recommended for showers to minimize hard water deposit build-up. (Not intended for floors)

When stone is specified for a restroom or a bathroom, it is important for maintenance managers to develop and implement a consistent stone maintenance program.  This will ensure a safe and healthy environment for your employees and your patrons;  also, preserves the stones aesthetics and durability.

 

Steinpflege – Guide – Menü

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Phoenx Stoneworks GmbH
Dragan Tzankov bulvd. 31A,
1113 Sofia, BULGARIEN

 

tel: +359 2 960 8184
fax: +359 2 960 8180