Monday, September 3, 2012

Annals of Stupidity: Etched

I think of vinegar as a safe, cheap, non-toxic cleaner/disinfectant that works on everything from salt-stained winter boots to chandeliers. But the other day, I decided to soak a swimsuit that smelled funny with a little vinegar in the bathroom sink, and forgot that vinegar and marble don't mix. When I removed the suit, the water splashed on the marble top and etched it with permanent marks. (The suit turned out fine, however.)

For years, I knew darn well that vinegar was forbidden around our bathroom sink and tub because we have a marble sink-top and tile surround. No vinegar hair rinses, no vinegar for soaking, no vinegar in cleaning solutions. How did I forget? Sometimes I just lose it, I guess. My little brain keeps going "whir, whir," and it seems to be doing its job. But it's only churning up stray bits of fluff instead of useful facts I know, or knew, that would save me from dumb, expensive mistakes.

What to do? Nothing apparently, based on my initial online searches. There are marble stain removers, for when you drip juice or mustard onto your counter, but etching is different. Vinegar eats into marble and destroys its polished finish, leaving rough spots, not stains. Leave marble in contact with vinegar for long enough, and it will develop little craters from that meek, ordinary salad-dressing ingredient.

I knew all this once. I knew that Vinegar + Marble = Power Tool.

So I went to Back Bay Hardware on Newbury Street and threw myself on the mercy of Eric, who knows all things. If Eric can't save you, no one can. No one can save me. Hardware stores sell marble polish, but it's far from abrasive enough to restore etched spots. He said I could call the place where I bought the marble, and they'd come out and repolish it for lots of money. He also told me to try Home Depot for a do-it-yourself product. So I called them and waited on hold while they determined that they had nothing that de-etches marble.

I also wandered into Kitchenwares, also on Newbury Street. (Apparently, I'm drawn to Newbury Street when I'm in trouble. Even if no one can solve my problem, there's retail therapy to make me feel better.) Jim at Kitchenwares told me he had done the same thing once, long ago, and managed to polish it out himself using a product he got from somewhere. Although he didn't sell any marble de-etchers, he suggested I look online.

So I went back to my laptop and found a few de-etching products sold independently by marble companies. They look a little shady, as all semi-homemade sorts of products do, despite their glowing testimonial pages, where all the writers seem to have an identical style.

But one of these sellers instructed me to run my thumbnail across the spots before purchasing their product. If marble is etched deeply enough that you can feel an edge, their product won't work and you are going to have a big fat bill from a marble-polishing buy. If the spots feel rough, you're supposed to call their company for additional discussion and tutoring. I'm going to call tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

But I'm going on the record now to say that I am a terrible do-it-yourselfer and I foresee doom, disaster, defeat, despair, and destruction as regards to my formerly beautiful bathroom sink, where Possum still deigns to lounge, although he knows it's not the same.

Stay tuned for another "Annals of Stupidity" post in a few weeks. I can smell it coming....

My formerly pristine sink.

1 comment:

  1. You could try waxing the sink with a good beeswax product. It will make it look better and is always safe because wax can be removed if you find a better solution.


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