Black taps are highly popular with new modern bathrooms and architects specifying the latest in trends. However, many people are scared of how difficult the surface will be to care for, or how easily it will scratch. Well they can rest easy - the bottom line is that matte black surfaces are very easy to clean and can keep their stunning velvet finish for a lifetime with these few simple tips.
The appeal of matte black taps and bathroom fittings
Matte black has a real appeal because of its neutral matte tone and its contrast with other colours and surfaces in the bathroom or kitchen.
The matte surface at a microscopic level is actually very rough and imperfect - its surface is designed to refract and reflect light in all directions to give a matte rather than a reflective appearance.
Glossy and chromed surfaces are a far more glitzy decor than black. In contrast, a glossy or polished surface is like a mirror and any fingerprint or slight scratch is very noticeable as it is an immediate flaw on the surface that interrupts the perfection of the light reflecting.
Matte black taps and fittings can keep their velvet looking finish and last a lifetime if you follow the very simple maintenance guidelines in this article.
Matte black tap care instructions
Cleaners you should NOT use on black tapware and bathroom fittings
Given the microscopically rough (matte) surface it is important to avoid cleansers that include wax or filling agents. The wax will act to fill the imperfections in the surface to give it a polished look. Whilst such waxes are great to use on polished surfaces where they fill imperfections and provide a protective coat - they will leave shiny areas on your matte black surface and in time replace its matte finish with a splotchy polished one.
If you are not sure about your cleaner, and it includes chemicals you cannot identify then simply avoid it.
RULE ONE: Avoid wax-based cleansers!
So what do I clean matte black taps with?
The auto market has been perfecting surface cleaners for a long time. The good news is, matte surfaces are the easiest to maintain. Gloss surfaces require cleansers that have gloss agents and fillers for microscopic imperfections so you can shine the surface to a mirror finish.
Specialist matte surface cleansers simply do not include these glossy polishers and fillers. They are soap based and designed to simply clean off the dirt and oils. A very simply soapy water or ph balanced soap based cleanser is all you need.
Anything that is caustic, acidic, includes solvents, or abrasive agents should be avoided. What is simpler than soapy water?
RULE TWO: clean with chemical free cleansers such as mild soapy water.
How do I clean matte black bathware and taps?
We have discussed that all you should use is soapy water. So how do you apply the soapy water carefully. I recommend that you only use a clean microfibre cloth. They are cheap, easy to re-clean in your washing machine, and do the job perfectly. And they will not scratch your beautiful bathware surfaces.
Caring for matte black tapware
The only other points you need to know other than avoid waxes, solvents, abrasives, acids and other chemical based cleansers is to treat the surface of your black bathware with respect. Just like you would treat the surface of your car.
I often get asked whether the matte black surface can scratch. The answer is: any metal coating can scratch, but that does not mean it is likely to scratch. Similar to chrome or a polished car - if you get something sharp or hard and scrape it back and forth on the surface it will leave a mark or might even remove some coating. However, it is nothing to stress about as, unlike a car surface, your bathware should really experience no extraordinary wear and tear. All that should really touch bathware is:
- Microfibre cloths, and
Rings on fingers can be a risk - but it takes aggressive handling to really be a risk. So I recommend you do not aggressively abuse or handle your matte black tapware. It should then remain flawless. Use your bathware as bathware - and then it should stay beautiful. There really is no risk of scratching in the bathroom if it is used as a bathroom.
Here's a summary of what you can use and should not use on your matte black bathroom fixtures:
The main risk of damage is the installation and the building phase
One last thing - most damage to tapware and bathroom accessory surfaces is done during the building/renovation phase. Inspect your products out of the box - if it is flawless then and your tradesperson reports damage later then you know who to blame. Ensure your tradespeople take special care when handling and installing. These are you expensive bathware features! Once installed, the items need protection until the house is finished. If unprotected, tradespeople carrying large heavy tools and building materials will eventually make contact with your precious and expensive fixtures and cause damage.