This article was published more than 3 years ago
Q: A cleaning person used Mop & Glo on my bathroom floor. That wax is now starting to wear off the floor tiles, and it looks terrible. How can I safely strip the wax off without scratching the tiles?
A: Mop & Glo, a brand of Britain-based Reckitt Benckiser Group, isn’t a wax. It’s actually a combination cleaner and acrylic coating, designed to add a very thin finish and shine to many types of flooring.
The label says it’s suitable for tile, vinyl, hardwood, marble, linoleum, ceramic and no-wax floors, but it warns not to use it on unsealed or worn wood or on unsealed ceramic. It’s hard to tell from the pictures you sent whether the tiles on your floor were sealed, so perhaps the lack of a sealer under the Mop & Glo explains why the coating has peeled so much.
Regardless of the cause, the label recommends removing old coats with a solution of one-fourth cup Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner (without bleach) and one cup of household ammonia mixed into a half-gallon of warm water. The label says to “spread over the floor,” but a consumer relations representative for Reckitt Benckiser said in an email to work in a small area at a time.
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“Dip a clean sponge mop in the solution, but do not wring it out,” reads the email from Brittany G. “Thoroughly wet the area with the solution and let it stand for two or three minutes. (The floor should be wet and not just damp, but should not be allowed to dry.) Squeeze out the mop and go over the area briskly, removing excess moisture.”
Once you have cleaned the whole floor, you should “rinse the floor well with clear water,” which presumably means going section by section and rinsing the mop well before you start each new area. In some cases, the representative said, you might need to repeat the process and increase the amount of ammonia by a half-cup.
On the label, the recommendation to use Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner is followed by a warning in capital letters to make sure you are not using a product with bleach. Some Lysol-branded cleaners, as well as many other multipurpose cleaners, contain bleach. Mixing them with ammonia would release hazardous chlorine gas, which, even in small doses, can irritate the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. In large doses, it can kill.
Unfortunately, it isn’t immediately obvious when you’re standing in the aisle at a store which products have bleach and which ones do not. And trying to match a recommended product name with a label on the containers on a store shelf is sometimes difficult because manufacturers’ marketing departments frequently fiddle with product names. At one store, where nine types of Lysol cleaners were displayed this week , nothing was labeled specifically as Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner. The closest match: Lysol Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner. One Lysol product, Mold & Mildew Foamer with Bleach, was labeled as containing bleach. The other labels did not mention bleach.
With a little sleuthing, though, you can make sure not to buy a cleaner that contains bleach. All of the Lysol cleaners list active ingredients. Bleach would definitely be an active ingredient, so you could safely use any product that does not list sodium hypochlorite, the scientific name for bleach. Or, as for any cleaner, you could check by contacting the customer service department for the manufacturer. For Lysol, that’s also Reckitt Benckiser, which has its U.S. office in Parsippany, N.J. (1-800-228-4722; rbnainfo.com). In January, Reckitt Benckiser upgraded its website that lists ingredients and their functions and safety issues for all home and hygiene products made by its 43 brands.
Even without mixing ammonia and bleach, the recommended stripping solution still requires safety precautions. Ammonia releases nasty-smelling fumes. In the diluted concentration sold to consumers, it can still irritate your skin, nose and throat and cause you to cough. Labels warn to wear goggles and rubber gloves and to provide good ventilation. In a small room, such as a bathroom, you can boost the ventilation by helping air flow through the room. Set up a fan in the doorway so it blows in air from the rest of your house, and open a window or turn on the exhaust fan to usher the smelly air outside.
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