The unfortunate inevitability of life is that one day we won’t look as young as we feel inside. We age, get wrinkles and start taking longer to do things we once thought were simple. The same thing happens with any product we buy; eventually, it gives up the ghost. For example, bathroom suites and kitchens might look shiny and fresh when new, but unfortunately, they’re not going to stay that way forever. Our bodies require regular maintenance for us to stay fit and healthy as we age. In the same way, your bathroom and kitchen need care on a regular basis if it’s to stay useable over a long time. That’s life, things age and wear out. Thankfully it only takes a bit of tender loving care to ensure they stay well away from a state of disrepair for a long time.
Fortunately keeping on top of bathroom maintenance is relatively simple, as long as you don’t keep putting it off. There are many products out there that help you clean your bathroom and make minor repairs where needed. A chip in the bath doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a new one these days; there are special kits available to help you fix the problem with ease. Take Plumbworld, for example. It’s now home to Cramer products, a diverse range of bathroom maintenance products that target specific areas within the bathroom needing some TLC. Unlike other cleaning products on the market, a big plus point with the Cramer range is that they are all eco-friendly and won’t damage surfaces over the time. Other cleaning products might give you a brilliant shine too, but there’s no guarantee that the agents they use won’t cause damage over the years.
Today we’re going to look at how you can use them to carry out regular cleaning and fix common problems, and how easy they make it to pick up and get on with the task at hand.
Looking after ceramic
Ceramic is a staple of pretty much every bathroom out there. But as good as a dazzlingly white basin looks, it can quickly become grimy. We’re talking limescale deposits, discolouration and tough stains. The problem is that prolonged use of many sanitary cleaning products on the market is that they use strong acids to help clean ceramics and enamel. The ceramic bathroom suite you buy won’t be acid-resistant, so prolonged use of acid-based cleaners can dull the surface. Instead, you’re best off finding a product that’s acid-free, such as the Cramer Email-Star. These work using a combination of the right detergent with a special polishing compound. Its paste is matched to the exact hardness grade of ceramic and enamel surfaces. This means that limescale deposits, discolouration and tough stains are far easier to remove and the paste won’t corrode the surface.
Using the paste is simple enough. You apply it with a moist cloth or sponge, gently rubbing it in before rinsing the surface with warm water. If the job requires a little more muscle you can apply the paste on a wine bottle cork instead, rubbing it against the stain and washing until it’s removed.
For minor scuff marks, rust and heavy soiling on enamel and ceramic surfaces you can use a Bath Rubber. This cleans the surface without scratching it.
If there’s minor damage, such as something hitting the surface and leaving a chip, then don’t despair. Kits like the Cramer Repair-Kit exist that allow you to do simple repairs on ceramic, enamel and acrylic surfaces. It’s a little more complicated than simply cleaning a surface, but anyone can do it provided they follow the instructions.
- Firstly, ensure the surface is clean, dry and free from grease. Check for any rust spots or loose parts and remove those too.
- Take the required amount of filler by basing it off the size of the damage you want to fix. Mix it well with a little hardener (Mixing ratio: 30 parts filler, 1 part hardener. It’s approximately the size of walnut to pea). To remove enclosed air bubbles that can emerge during the mixing process spread the mixture thinly on a piece of paper. You can then use a spatula to lift the solid mixture up.
- Apply the mixture neatly onto the damaged area with a spatula. Smooth it over then allow drying for 30 minutes. If working on ceramic, you can use the mixture to glue the chipped pieces.
- Sandpaper, which is included with the Cramer kit, should then be used to smooth down the repaired area on ceramic and enamel surfaces. Do this until you can feel no more projections or holes. If using on an acrylic surface, you should use the sandpaper with water. Remove all sanding dust and thoroughly clean the area.
- The final step is to use the spray. Shake the can vigorously for 3 minutes, spraying a sample area from a distance of 15-20cm to test. It’s a good idea to cut a mask from paper that features a hole that corresponds to the size of the damaged area so the coverage remains even. Hold this mask approximately 1-2cm above the area and start spraying onto the mask, before directing the spray with light movements over the cut-out area. After spraying wait 1 minute and repeat until the full area has been completely covered. If necessary, you can polish the repaired area after 4 days with commercial paint polish.
Important: It is essential that the substrate of the damaged product is sound. Do not use the kit for tension or hairline cracks. There is no adhesion on easy-to-clean coatings. The colour of the mixture is based on the colour used by major enamel bath manufacturers. On acrylic surfaces, there may be slight variations of hue. Do not use water on repaired surfaces for a period of 4 days.
For aftercare you should only use mild bath cleaners or soap on the repaired area. Do not use concentrated or abrasive cleaning agents nor disinfectants or organic solvents on the damaged area.
Ensuring chrome continues to dazzle
When you first buy a set of chrome taps they’ll shine brightly in your bathroom. Unfortunately, like ceramic, their gleam will dull over time thanks to stains and limescale that develop through usage. Cleaning chrome taps with conventional cleaning products are fine for cleaning them thoroughly, and they’ll remove limescale deposits that build up over time. However, because they’re generally acid-based there is a danger of them damaging surrounding enamel or ceramic surfaces, such as the sink or bath. So you may have consistently shiny taps, but your basin may be damaged as a result. That’s obviously not something you want to happen, so what do you do about it?
Thankfully there are products available that will clean chrome to a shine without causing enamel damage. Chrom-Star, for example, features an enamel-friendly composition that won’t affect surrounding enamel or ceramic surfaces. It removes heavy stains, discolouration or traces of oxidation from glossy or matt chrome surfaces. It will even work on aged fittings, so there’s no need to replace taps that are still in good working order but aren’t looking the part.
Cleaning is simple. Just apply a hazelnut-size amount with a moist sponge onto a wet surface and rub in. Rinse it off with warm water and rub dry. For polishing you should apply it on a moist cotton cloth, polishing the previously cleaned surface before rinsing off and rubbing dry.
For general tap cleaning, you can try Cramer Tap Cleaner. This works in the same way in that it doesn’t damage surrounding enamel or ceramic surfaces, but it comes in a handy spray bottle instead. Just spray it onto the tap, briefly allowing it to work, then rinse off with warm water and rub dry. Heavier stains can be reworked with a sponge, repeating the process if necessary.
Acrylic and other sensitive surfaces
In the past, the daily cleaning and care of acrylic surfaces required two separate products. One would handle the cleaning, while the other would remove scratches, marks and general wear and tear. Cramer has developed a product that means you no longer have to shell out money twice, combining both needs into one handy product. Acryl-Star is completely acid-free, and as we’ve already noted acid-based cleaning products aren’t great for acrylic surfaces in the long term. It removes limescale, discolouration and heavy deposits without leaving unsightly scratches behind. It combines the proper surfactant with a special polishing compound to leave a surface looking polished and scratch-free. If you use it undiluted with a soft cloth you’ll achieve an eye-catching high-gloss finish.
As with other Cramer products, instructions for using the formula are simple. For daily cleaning, it just needs to be applied to a soft and moist cloth or sponge, before being rubbed in gently and rinsing off with warm water. You can polish the surface by applying the paste to a soft cotton cloth. Polish using a light pressure in a circular direction in order to give it a glossy finish.
When it comes to repairs, light scratches can easily be removed without any pre-treatment. However, for deeper scratches the surface should be sanded with the included sandpaper before polishing.
- Start with the 800-grade sandpaper with water, sanding in straight directions (not circles) that are parallel to the scratches.
- After the scratches are removed, clean the area.
- Next get the 1200 grade sandpaper and apply water. Change the direction of sanding by 90 degrees and sand the area well. You should be left with a smooth, matt surface. Using a small sanding block generously will perfect your results and prevent dents.
For gentler cleaning, Cramer also offers an Acrylic Cleaner in squirt bottle form. This helps preserve brilliant and shiny surfaces and also has anti-static and beading effects. It’s also suitable for chrome and works especially well when combined with Acryl-Star for those tougher stains.
Glass is one of the hardest things to keep consistently clean, especially when it’s being pounded with a mixture of water and soap on a daily basis. Bath screens and shower enclosures are particularly susceptible to general muckiness, but even bathroom mirrors get murky over time – especially if you’re cleaning your teeth in front of them!
Cramer’s shower glass cleaner comes in an easy-to-use squirt bottle and cleans coated/uncoated glass surfaces, aluminium, stainless steel and acrylic. A beading effect also makes the surface dirt-repellent so it doesn’t need to be cleaned as often. It should be used regularly to prevent limescale and dirt from building up, so fit it into your bathroom cleaning routine. The best way to do this is to use it straight after you’ve had a shower. Just spray it on the shower cubicle surface, leave to work briefly before rinsing off with warm water and rubbing dry. For heavily soiled areas you should wipe the area with a sponge after you’ve allowed some extra time for it to work. Follow it up by repeating the process again.
For a perfect clean, combine it with the Aqualux Shower Blade. This works in a similar to a window washer’s blade and will effortlessly wipe away water left on the glass, whether the area is straight or curved. You can also use it for car windscreens, tiles and windows, and because you won’t have to use any chemicals you can be free from skin irritation.
Bathroom mirrors get their own cleaning product too. Cramer Mirror Foam comes in a can and can be used for gentle cleaning and care for mirrors and glass surfaces. Its high cleaning power leaves a streak-free shine with solid foam that sticks to the surface. This stickiness dissolves any dirt and reduces the danger of corrosion that can happen when liquid cleaner penetrates the rim of the mirror.
Time for a touch-up
Sometimes all things need is a slight touch up, and that includes radiators. Small scratches and marks can develop over time and leave radiators looking unsightly. A Radiator Touch-up Stick from Cramer is specifically designed for correcting and restoring powder coated and enamelled radiators. It’s an inexpensive repair solution that is ideal for touching up minor flaws, scratches and defects. Plus it’s heat resistant up to 80 degrees, so you don’t have to worry about the heat from the radiator ruining your quick-fix.
Using it is simple enough:
- Ensure the base is clean, dry and free from grease.
- Shake the touch-up stick well for around 2 minutes. Hold the stick upright when you opening.
- Apply the coating to the damaged areas in multiple thin coats then allow drying for 24 hours. Screw the stick cap on well after use.
For 100% hardness do not use water on the repaired surface for 4 days. Do not use concentrated or abrasive cleaning agents on the damaged area, nor disinfectants or organic solvents.
If you have a mineral-based bath, basin or shower tray then you’ll probably be fully aware of how hard it can be to keep clean. If you use the wrong type of cleaning product on stone or granite then you can end up scratching it. Instead, try Cramer Mineral Star Polish, a formula that gets to work on removing lime scale and discolouration. It also removes dirt deposits and minor scratches. As with other Cramer products, it’s also acid-free and eco-friendly, with a pleasant scent too.
To use you simply apply some on to a damp cloth before rubbing well onto a pre-wet surface. Rinse the surface off with warm water and rub dry.
With consistent attention and knowledge about what the cleaning products you use contain, you can ensure your bathroom remains as good as the day you bought it for years to come!
Remember that these products will only work their best when used as part of a regular cleaning routine. Here’s our guide on how to clean your bathroom in just 15 minutes a session.
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