Zoflora is one of the household cleaning products that’s taken the world by storm in recent years thanks to the rise in popularity of cleaning gurus such as Mrs Hinch.
However, there are some strict rules that should be followed when using strong cleaning products such as Zoflora to avoid damaging your fixtures and furnishings beyond repair.
One of those rules is not using Zoflora on polished wood. There are three key reasons why; the abrasive nature of its active ingredient, benzalkonium chloride has the potential to destroy the wood surface.
Zoflora and wood polish chemicals can react to create noxious gases; and finally, Zoflora specifically tells you not to use it in such circumstances, making you entirely liable for any potential mishaps.
One of the reasons Zoflora is so popular as a cleaning and disinfecting product is its effectiveness. Not only does it leave surfaces smelling fresh, it does an effective job of killing off viruses and bacteria. Its effectiveness is due to its efficacy in aggressively destroying chemicals and other nastiness.
Unfortunately, one side effect is that it reacts negatively with some of the chemicals prevalent in wood polish. Not only does this create potential chemical hazards, as explained below, it also results in a damaged and smeared surface. Not only will the surface appear blotchy – and it will also be extremely difficult to polish over after the fact.
In short, while your surface will be free from most harmful bacteria and viruses, it will also be free from the beautiful appearance you attempted to achieve with polish.
It’s time to take you back to school, specifically, chemistry lessons spent staring dreamily out of the classroom window (no, just me then?).
Chemically, Zoflora and wood polish are a catastrophe waiting to happen. Two of the ingredients present in most Zoflora products, benzalkonium chloride and linalool, are reactive in certain situations including when mixed with most wood polish.
Benzalkonium chloride is both an alkaloid and a chloride chemical. The big risk comes from mixing a chloride with something like formaldehyde (present in a lot of wood polish) or any other oxygen based chemical.
The risk from these chemicals combining in the wrong way is that other chemicals, such as chlorine gas (similar to that used in ‘mustard gas’ during World War One), hydrochloric acid fumes, fomic acid, and chlorine oxides could be formed.
All of the above are chemicals that you really don’t want to be airborne in your home, or in any contained space.
The second chemical of concern in Zoflora is linalool. In itself linalool is not particularly harmful. However, when oxidised linalool can easily become a skin irritant. As we have already seen, wood polish is highly likely to contain oxidising chemicals, which could react with linalool in Zoflora to create another harmful airborne irritant.
In normal use linalool, like all of the chemicals in Zoflora, is unlikely to cause any harm. However, introducing it to a polished surface creates an additional risk of potentially harmful chemicals being formed.
The third main reason you should never use Zoflora on polished wood is quite simple: the company explicitly tells you not to. Understandably, if a mishap has led to health issues for either you or your loved ones, litigation and blame are unlikely to be high up on your list of priorities.
However, it must be said that by going against specific instructions given by the company, you are making it very hard to claim the company is liable for any damage caused by your actions, whether that be damaged furniture or damaged health.
Short of coming to your house and placing warning stickers on polished wooden surfaces, or sending someone to watch you every time you use the product, there is little more they can do to ensure you don’t make this mistake.
Using Zoflora in the way it is intended is highly unlikely to result in damage to either yourself or any surfaces you are cleaning.
Using it on polished wooden surfaces against their instructions, however, could result in damaged surfaces, damaged health, and little to no recourse for claiming corporate liability for any damage caused to either. The best advice is to always follow instructions for products that contain potentially harmful chemicals.