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Gringal

Mar 29, 2006, 9:12 AM

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Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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I searched this forum but couldn't find the answer. It's probably simple, but sometimes - so am I.

Our fountain in the front patio has dark green tiles against the wall where the water splashes. The water is hard, very hard. The white deposits that accumulate have resisted all the cleaning products we have tried. Steel wool doesn't even do a good job.

Suggestions, please!



johanson


Mar 30, 2006, 3:30 PM

Post #2 of 44 (15840 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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I thought by now, someone would have answered your question. I am sure there is a simple way. I know we have acid washed around the pool and that may have helped some, but there must be some simpler way. I sure hope someone knows.


Delia

Mar 30, 2006, 5:09 PM

Post #3 of 44 (15828 views)

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Re: [johanson] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Our plumber recently used a hammer and chisel around the top inside tiles of our fountain to remove deposits. Amazing -they are good as new.


sfmacaws


Mar 30, 2006, 5:48 PM

Post #4 of 44 (15824 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Have you tried soaking them in vinegar? Or, one of those solutions (I think they are really vinegar or citric acid) that are designed to remove calcification from faucets, showers and coffee pots?


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




caldwelld


Mar 31, 2006, 6:20 AM

Post #5 of 44 (15803 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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I am also disappointed in the lack of response to your post. It is the same calcification that causes the ring around toilet bowls where the water sits after a flush. I have yet to find a product or method that even begins to do the job. A chisle sounds a bit severe for toilet bowls.
dondon


esperanza

Mar 31, 2006, 6:29 AM

Post #6 of 44 (15802 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Have you tried scrubbing with muriatic acid? It's not usually recommended for color tiles, but you could try it somewhere unobtrusive at first. Wear goggles and gloves, though.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









jennifer rose

Mar 31, 2006, 7:08 AM

Post #7 of 44 (15796 views)

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Re: [caldwelld] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Try using the stones which are used to clean out the calcification in the toilet bowl.

FWIW, we dump chlorine in our fountain, re-use the water for plants, and drain the entire thing every two weeks or so. No problem with algae or killing the plants. And my dog would never drink from the fountain.


Gringal

Mar 31, 2006, 7:50 AM

Post #8 of 44 (15789 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Thanks everybody for the suggestions. Jennifer, what stones? Haven't heard of this yet.

The area to be cleaned is large; about five feet square, against the wall. The lion head fountain spatters generously over it all, and the tiles are getting crustier. We have the same problem at the bottom of the fountain. Elbow grease has done some good, but I'm looking for the lazy solution.

We do use chorine in the fountain and don't have any grunge problems.

Muriatic acid has been suggested, and would use it if I could find some (none at Home Depot), but am a little worried about its effect on the deep green color.

I think the hammer and chisel suggestion is a bit on the extreme side, so I'll pass on that one.

Now, I just know that somebody out there has the perfect solution and I'll hear from them soon.


jennifer rose

Mar 31, 2006, 8:14 AM

Post #9 of 44 (15783 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Look at the tianguis near you. Or Gigante may even sell them. The stones to which I referred are pumice, hard enough to clean the calcifaction in a toilet bowl without scratching the porcelain. Ask your maid about them.

And now I get to tell my stone story. One time I was wandering through a tianguis with a writer of some fame about topics concerning Mexico. The writer pointed out the stones to me, chiming in that Mexicans added them to a pot of frijoles for added calcium. Strangely, they were among the cleaning supplies. Overhearing the comment, the vendor had a strange smirk on her face, so I asked her the next week what that was about. She thought it was hilarious that some gringo would add the stones, which are used to clean the toilet, to a pot of beans. So I began to ask around, and sure enough, the writer had been duped into believing that the stones were used for a purpose other than cleaning -- or filing off callouses.


kittythegm

Mar 31, 2006, 8:39 AM

Post #10 of 44 (15781 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Since we have no idea of the chemical composition of the deposits, it would seem that applications of different cleaning agents may be in order.

Did some research and came up with the following suggestions:
1) Steam cleaning appears to be one of the best dieas but probably not practical in Mexico.
2) Things go better with "Coke"! Amazingly enough the coca-cola formula has the ability to clean many surfaces.
3) Baking soda - which you have probably already tried.
4) Toothpaste - strong formula with plenty of abrasive. Use a stiff brush or brush on a power drill.

The best recommendation was that after you do get them clean, then apply a sealer to retard future deposits.


bournemouth

Mar 31, 2006, 8:56 AM

Post #11 of 44 (15779 views)

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Re: [kittythegm] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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I seem to remember that applying a coat of auto wax has been suggested in the past for shower tiles, once they are cleaned, and wonder if this idea would not work with fountain tiles. We have the same problem and need to tackle it - one day.


Ron Pickering W3FJW


Mar 31, 2006, 9:26 AM

Post #12 of 44 (15773 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Try "CLR" (calcium, lime, rust) cleaner if you can find it at Walmart or Home Depot. Works great with hard water deposits.
Getting older and still not down here.


Bloviator

Mar 31, 2006, 9:34 AM

Post #13 of 44 (15770 views)

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Re: [kittythegm] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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If coke is that good as a scouring agent, think of what it does to your stomach, let alone rotting your teeth.


kittythegm

Mar 31, 2006, 10:27 AM

Post #14 of 44 (15762 views)

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Re: [dlyman6500] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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I don't know if this is still true but as a kid back in the 60's - we took a bottle of Coke and carefully removed the cap. After doing so, we put a nail (what size I cannot remember) into the bottle and carefully resealed the cap. After 30 days, we removed the cap again. THE NAIL WAS GONE!

You are probably right about stomach and teeth but then again the formula may have changed.


Rolly


Mar 31, 2006, 11:26 AM

Post #15 of 44 (15757 views)

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Re: [dlyman6500] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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The small cleaning power of Coke is due to its being slightly acidic -- as are most fruit juices. Your stomach is much more acidic, so the acid content of Coke or fruit juices is not going to add anything significant. The problem with Coke in your body is the sugar.

If you want to learn about the zillion Coke myths floating around (and dissolving nails and teeth), look here: http://www2.coca-cola.com/...umors/packaging.html

Rolly Pirate


Gringal

Mar 31, 2006, 1:12 PM

Post #16 of 44 (15743 views)

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Re: [Ron Pickering W3FJW] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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That cleaner sounds like a good bet. Next trip to Queretaro, I'll go a'hunting.

So far, I've tried baking soda, vinegar, Comet, steel wool and cuss words. It's a pretty fountain, smack dab in the center of the view outside from the living-dining rooms, so I don't want to kill it in the attempt to cure it.

These are hard water deposits, I'm sure. Our water is so hard that.....and lots of Henny Youngman-style humor follows.

I've heard that if you drop a piece of steak in Coke, it will disappear before too long. I've also heard it makes a great meat tenderizer/marinade when some soy sauce and garlic is added. A short marinade.


kittythegm

Mar 31, 2006, 1:44 PM

Post #17 of 44 (15734 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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As always, Rolly either has the answer or can provide a reference to find an answer! We are in awe of his capacities!

I am not being sarcastic but would strongly suggest starting a new forum titled: ASK ROLLY?

The information that he continues to provide on these forums is invaluable to all people using these forums!


Rolly


Mar 31, 2006, 2:01 PM

Post #18 of 44 (15731 views)

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Re: [kittythegm] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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I've always had a soft spot for ladies called Kitty, so I'll let you in on my little secret -- GOOGLE

Rolly Pirate


Gringal

Mar 31, 2006, 2:07 PM

Post #19 of 44 (15726 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Aw gee Rolly - I thought you were going to give me the answer there. snif.


Delia

Mar 31, 2006, 2:11 PM

Post #20 of 44 (15725 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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You guys amaze me. Chisels DO come in various sizes and can be used GENTLY. Muriatic acid (bought at Jara in Ajijic) and CLR (from Home Depot) did not work. This was NOT a major job to remove the deposits and did not damage the tiles. And you can also add a little algicide to your fountain as well as a little chloro to help maintain good condition of the water.
John O's wife


Gringal

Mar 31, 2006, 3:07 PM

Post #21 of 44 (15714 views)

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Re: [JohnO] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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As stated above, I do use clorox in the water, and algae is not a problem.

Having done some carving in my time, I'm aware that chisels come in various sizes and shapes. If it were a small area, it wouldn't be a big deal to chisel off the deposits, but this is a large surface and it's a problem that will no doubt be returning as soon as it's cleaned up.

Sorry to hear that CLR or muriatic acid didn't work.


Gringal

Mar 31, 2006, 3:22 PM

Post #22 of 44 (15709 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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The Google results suggested that TSP (tri sodium phospate) would work for tough deposits. Anyone else tried that?


Papirex


Mar 31, 2006, 4:45 PM

Post #23 of 44 (15694 views)

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Re: [kittythegm] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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The chain letters that used to go around claiming that Coca Cola can clean many things have been exposed as a hoax many times. Still, when some people read about those claims for the first time they believe them for reasons I cannot fathom.

The link that Rolly posted does explain that Coke is safe to drink, but not so hot as an all purpose cleaner. I used to have a link in My Favorites explaining in detail the falsehood of those claims, but after changing computers 3 or 4 times I no longer have it.

No help here on cleaning tiles.

Rex


"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


kittythegm

Apr 1, 2006, 2:51 PM

Post #24 of 44 (15654 views)

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Re: [RexC] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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How about using a Rubbing Compound formula such as one would use on a car before applying polish?


Judy in Ags


Apr 4, 2006, 1:02 PM

Post #25 of 44 (15614 views)

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Re: [Ron Pickering W3FJW] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Even CLR, which I previously thought worked on all water deposits, doesn't remove the mineral deposits in our shower and stool. Now I'm desperate and curious about Jennifer's pumice stones. They really don't stratch the surface of the stool? Are they the pumice stones used to remove callouses from one's feet?

I had deposits outside the shower on the floor that I couldn't remove, so I put WD40 on them. It doesn't remove them, but they look as if they have disappeared, at least for a few days.


Judy in Ags


Apr 4, 2006, 1:10 PM

Post #26 of 44 (5518 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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I have tile on my countertops and I did apply auto wax to them before I used them. Come to think of it, the water is easy to clean up. Maybe I'll try it in my new shower before it gets awful like the one we've been using one year.
Attachments: Countertop.jpg (45.1 KB)


Ron Pickering W3FJW


Apr 4, 2006, 1:51 PM

Post #27 of 44 (5515 views)

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Re: [Judy in Ags] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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I've had good results with CLR by soaking a rag with it and letting the wet rag cover the deposits for about 1/2 hour and then scraping/brushing off. All my deposits came off readily. I don't know if the hard water in MX has a different chemical makeup than those in WA State though.
Getting older and still not down here.


Gringal

Apr 4, 2006, 2:19 PM

Post #28 of 44 (5509 views)

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Re: [Judy in Ags] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Just for the record - today we tried the Mexican equivalent of "Shower Power". We're trying to go from the most straightforward to the most extreme here.

I doesn't work. Applied it three times. Result: one small patch of white crud came loose.


Esteban

Apr 4, 2006, 2:44 PM

Post #29 of 44 (5505 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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We had our own hard water well in the state of
Washington and what we had to use on our tile showers was a product called: ZUD
It was the ONLY thing that worked. I haven't seen it here in Mexico.


rainer


Apr 4, 2006, 3:07 PM

Post #30 of 44 (5499 views)

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Re: [Esteban] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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I must have read your "byline" a hundred times and I finally have to tell you: "I LOVE IT"
Smile


Gringal

Apr 4, 2006, 5:13 PM

Post #31 of 44 (5490 views)

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Re: [Esteban] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Now that's what I'd call a big help! You did say you're planning to tootle on up to Washington and bring me back a case or two, or did I miss that ??


Esteban

Apr 4, 2006, 5:17 PM

Post #32 of 44 (5487 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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I'll toodle on up if you'll pay for the airfare!


GringoCArlos

Nov 18, 2012, 10:54 AM

Post #33 of 44 (3507 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Not sure if you are still living with white crud in your fountain, but for others:

This from a pool center blog:

Calcium Hardness


When we speak of scale, we are talking about calcium carbonate which has come out of solution and deposited itself on surfaces. It is a combination of carbonate ions, a part of total alkalinity and calcium, and a part of the Calcium Hardness level. The test for Calcium Hardness is a measure of how "hard" or "soft" the water is. "Hard" water can have high levels of calcium and magnesium. If these levels are too high, the water becomes saturated and will throw off excess particles out of solution which then seeks to deposit themselves on almost any surface inside the pool. They can be attracted to ladders, lights and in extreme cases deposit themselves as very small crystalline clumps - all over the pool surfaces. Calcium Carbonate scale; a "white-ish," crystallized rough nodule.
-----------------------------
Water in Mexico is typically really hard. Basically, this blog is saying that if the calcium content of your fountain water is too high, you'll get scale everywhere.

Depending on the volume of your fountain reservoir, you could try an easier solution than elbow grease: Partially drain the fountain, and then add back distilled water (free of minerals).

If that doesn't do it in a couple of weeks, then add some more distilled water. The fountain water itself will absorb back the calcium deposits to get back into balance.

Here's one source of distilled water in bulk in Guadalajara:
Ecosource Guadaljara cel: 33 1279 3240

Good luck!


robt65

Nov 18, 2012, 2:30 PM

Post #34 of 44 (3493 views)

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Re: [GringoCArlos] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Hey Carlos,

You can also use a mixture of TSP to clean it off. Does a pretty good job without much elbow grease!

Robt65



bournemouth

Nov 18, 2012, 4:51 PM

Post #35 of 44 (3486 views)

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Re: [robt65] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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You guys aren't noticing that this thread dates back to 2006. Gringal has changed locations and fountains since then.


robt65

Nov 18, 2012, 6:13 PM

Post #36 of 44 (3478 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Hello bournemouth,

I certainly realized the date. I specifically caught the date and went on to see why the posting was again revived. Certainly reviving a post is not new. It happens many times. However one should never tell another "aren't noticing that this thread dates back to . . . . whatever". I know that I am not that powerful to read another’s mind, nor would I have the gonads to tell someone so in public.

Regards,

robt65



DavidHF

Nov 19, 2012, 3:16 PM

Post #37 of 44 (3448 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Re: Using distilled water in fountain.
a) it's very costly
b) it will evaporate in our climate before "absorbing" the deposits thereby leaving the deposit in place!


sfmacaws


Nov 19, 2012, 8:51 PM

Post #38 of 44 (3431 views)

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Re: [DavidHF] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Really! I can't imagine buying distilled water for a fountain. If necessary, pour a little vinegar in the fountain water when you refill it. Cheap, will dissolve the deposits and won't hurt anything.

But... don't do this if you have fish in there.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




stevebrtx

Dec 5, 2012, 12:19 PM

Post #39 of 44 (3392 views)

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Re: [Judy in Ags] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Muratic acid works slowly, I needed to do a toilet with a serious calcium ring, I dipped the water out, folded a couple of paper towels lengthwise and squirted acid on them and applied them to the area needing cleaning and left them, about every 45 min or so I'd go back in and squirt more acid on them to keep the level up and over a period of hours it eventually dissolved all the calcium, just took time and about a qt. of acido. Now I'm trying a new Scubbing Bubbles product I picked up in TX, a sort of gel deposit that sticks to the side of the bowl and supposedly keeps calcium from forming - we'll see.
http://www.chapalaweather.net


Judy in Ags


Dec 5, 2012, 2:35 PM

Post #40 of 44 (3379 views)

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Re: [caldwelld] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Re: Cleaning the stubborn ring in the toilet. Put on your rubber gloves, grab a piece of pumice stone (can probably find it at the market) and scrub the ring. It really doesn't take much energy and doesn't harm the surface of the toilet. It's the best thing I've found.


johanson


Dec 5, 2012, 6:06 PM

Post #41 of 44 (3363 views)

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Re: [Judy in Ags] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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Hey Judy: Thanks for the great suggestion. How do you say "Pumice" in Spanish, "piedra de po'mex"? (sorry, US keyboard) If so, I'm going to go out and get some at the local hardware store tomorrow and get to work.

Thanks in advance for you help.

Pete

El Ruco


sfmacaws


Dec 5, 2012, 7:40 PM

Post #42 of 44 (3352 views)

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Re: [johanson] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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pómez or piedra pómez is what I would ask for in the mercado. You can also find it in the beauty supply area of most supermarkets and drugstores. The same thing that you use on callouses on your feet will work for this too.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




Sculptari

Dec 6, 2012, 3:13 PM

Post #43 of 44 (3327 views)

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Re: [stevebrtx] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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I remember this question has come up before. One answer is 'wet and dry' sandpaper - this is the widely available 'black' sandpaper that can be (and should be for this purpose) used wet with water. The trick is to find the correct grit. Should be 600 to 800 with no damage to the surface of the ceramic. It is available higher than 1200 grit - and this is used for a glossy finish. A microscopic layer would be used on each polish, not not enough to cause serious damage for a lifetime of use. Pumice would also fall into this category

There are polishing pastes used for professional restoration. The white mineral deposit is basically lime, so the paste must be just a little bit harder than the lime, but contain nothing which will scratch the ceramic. I know I used fine limestone sand and neutral detergent to good effect. Some of these materials are tricky to source.
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Sculptari

Dec 6, 2012, 8:13 PM

Post #44 of 44 (3313 views)

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Re: [Sculptari] Tile cleaning: fountain deposits

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I'm sorry - I guess I left it too long to edit. Here is the company most landlords agree on for inexpensive cleaning and buffing their precious architectural terracotta - http://superiorabrasives.com/shur-brite-products/ The hardcore restoration and heritage architects do not like it, because eventually you will lose the glaze and color.
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