Note Slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of injury to the public and a principal cause of litigation against businesses today. Good maintenance procedures can reduce this obvious risk!
RULE #1 – If in Doubt, Don’t Apply Any Cleaner or Cleaning Technique
Some mistakes can be irreversible, always check labels on the product you are thinking of using and test an inconspicuous area first to see what effects, if any, your cleaning process will have.
Tile Doctor Tip: Tile maintenance should progress from the least invasive to the extreme. Never start off with the most drastic solution to solve a cleaning situation.
Best methods for cleaning of glazed tile and grout:
Note: The first step in maintenance is the sealing of the tile (if necessary) and the grout (if necessary). Generally, glazed tile requires no sealer. Some unglazed tile requires no sealer. Know the type of tile you are installing. Test it with a small amount of water. If the surface darkens, it absorbs water and needs to be sealed.
Generally, cementitious grouts require sealing while specialty grouts like epoxy and furans do not. If the grout darkens with water, it needs a sealer.
Immediately wipe up spills and messes. Use pH balanced cleaners and soap less detergents for daily cleaning. Agitate grout joints with a soft bristled brush to loosen debris. Thoroughly rinse, dry, and polish cleaned areas.
Acidic cleaners will eventually erode the grout in the joint making cleaning and maintenance more and more problematic. This is especially true if using acidic cleaners on sanded grout installations.
This is due to the tendency of the acids to eat away the smaller aggregates first leaving the larger stain attracting aggregates in their place.
Heavy duty cleaning:
Again an attempt should be made to solve the cleaning problem with high quality pH balanced cleaners. These can include non-staining household scouring powders or poultices manufactured for this purpose. Be sure to agitate the cleaners again with a soft bristled brush to loosen stubborn grime.
A good practice is to allow the cleaner to rest on the surface for a while to take advantage of the cleaners maximum potential.
If the results are not acceptable, high alkaline cleaners are the next step. These cleaners are recognized by their names like: “heavy duty”or “deep clean.”
On large areas, it is perfectly acceptable to use commercial buffing machines to clean tile and grout. The important consideration is the type of cleaner and the thorough rinse following the deep cleaning.
If the result are not satisfactory using the PH balanced cleaners, it may be necessary to use a acidic solution to solve a particular problem. Sulfamic and phosphoric acids are the safest and most used acids used in solving tile and grout cleaning problems. These two acids have very specific mixing and application recommendations that must be followed to the letter.
Regardless, thoroughly rinse the cleaned area, dry, and polish.
Tile Doctor Tip: Following an intense deep cleaning, especially if an acid was used, a good practice is to reseal the affected grout areas.
Grout haze is grout residue left on the tile face. Many times this haze can be cleaned off by simply using a scouring pad and water. The next progression would be a scouring cleanser or poultice and pad. The next progressive step would be grout haze removal solution available from fine Manufacturers. As final step, an acid solution may be required.
See the Sealing tile and Grout Sealing sections for further details.