Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Corbyn Effect on Limestone Flooring

I somehow think Corbyn's comments about Osama Bin Laden's death being a tragedy isn't going to boost his chances of becoming the new Labour leader. Regarding Trident, it's said that scrapping it could fund 56 new hospitals. Trident has produced jobs, so Corbyn's plan just shuffles the deckchairs by getting rid of jobs in one area to replace them in another - not that we would have the staff to run 56 new hospitals anyway without at least a decade of training.

I do, however, understand his thoughts - take jobs which are being funded by public money from the private sector and replace them with public sector jobs. A laudable aim, providing the net benefit is comparable. Given the sheer waste in defence spending and some of the massive waste in the public sector, it's a moot point. However, is it worth exchanging one group of employed people for another - I just get the impression it's ideologically driven, rather than carefully thought out in terms of money well spent or the effect on those who will lose their jobs as a consequence. You still have to pay money to the private sector to build these hospitals, or indeed any public sector initiative..

We had very nice limestone floor laid in various rooms when we built the house - local limestone from Farmington Quarry. The problem was that it was never sealed properly, with the result that the kitchen floor became extremely grubby over the last 2 years. I've been wracking my brain for some DIY preparation to get it back to a nice buttery colour, but drew a blank at every turn.

A very good cleaner is available in the USA at $23 per 5 litres, but for some inexplicable reason, it rises to hundreds of pounds when made available here. Got a quote from a bloke who specialises in cleaning limestone floors, but at over a grand it was simply too expensive.

Anyway, I got down to some chemical analysis. Vinegar risked pitting the limestone and in any case turned out to be next to useless at removing grime, bleach did nothing and washing powder didn't leave any discernable improvement. Then I thought about one of the most powerful bleaching agents - hydrogen peroxide. Now H2O2 has unpaired oxygen molecules, which means it's like a magnet to organic stains, and the staining on the limestone is almost 100% organic in origin. Most importantly, it won't harm the limestone at all!

We gave it a go yesterday (I'd purchased 20 litres of hydrogen peroxide from eBay last week, thinking that would be the amount needed) and the result was wonderful. Took us most of the morning though, and we risked bleached hands and feet - the stuff stings like hell. Here is a photo of a bit that was cleaned (on the right) and a bit that was yet to be cleaned (left).

Much better, I'm sure you'll agree, and we only used 5 litres.

The only problem with hydrogen peroxide - besides it's effect on your skin - is that it decomposes into oxygen and water in sunlight. Not realising this, I had left a 5 litre plastic container of it exposed in the outhouse over the weekend and it burst open on the concrete floor. It started to fizz on the concrete and I had to act quickly to swill it with water to neutralise it. The remaining 3 containers were then hastily relieved of the pressure build up and covered with black bin liners, which did the job.

Now I'm looking for other uses for hydrogen peroxide to use up the remaining 10 litres. Might have a go at the algae on the limestone patio.


  1. Here is a small list obtained from the usual source (I have too much time on my hands).
    Depending on how ravaged your body & your abode it may prompt you to invest in nother 50 litres or so...
    Disinfect Small Wounds
    Bleach Your Hair
    Add Highlights (to your hair)
    Whiten teeth
    Antiseptic Mouth Rinse
    Disinfect Toothbrushes
    Whiten Your Nails
    Clear Up Acne
    Help Heal Boils
    Soften Corns & Calluses
    Remove Ear Wax
    Prevent “Swimmer’s Ear”
    Relieve Ear Infections
    Kill Sub-dermal Parasites
    Treat Foot Fungus
    Whiten Grout
    Clean Toilet Bowls
    Remove Tub Scum
    Control Mold & Mildew
    Clean Glass Surfaces
    Disinfect Countertops
    Soak Dishrags & Sponges
    Disinfect Cutting Boards
    Wash Fruits & Vegetables
    Clean Your Refrigerator
    Whiten Laundry
    Remove Organic Stains
    De-Funk Musty Fabrics
    Clean Rugs & Carpets
    Refresh Re-useable Bags
    Disinfect Lunchboxes
    Cleanse Dehumidifiers
    Improve Seed Germination

    1. Well done Tim!

      Living with a biochemist I'm familiar with most of these, but I'm intrigued by the seed germination.