This is an article about tile cleaning. It is mostly information for the do-it-your-selfer. If you want to see the professional approach, please see the videos below. These videos are of our company cleaning with our equipment. These results are typical for us, but are sure not easy for the average cleaning company to achieve.
Our company, Fabric & Tile Masters, cleans thousands of square feet of tile and grout monthly. The process we use includes use of a high pressure, heated water along with alkaline and acid detergents. We also use mechanical agitation to clean the grout joint and tile thoroughly.
Learn more about our Tile and Grout Cleaning chemicals at our chemical store.
So for the “do it yourselfer”, the question becomes, how can we come as close as possible to duplication of professional result?
When cleaning grout (90% of the time when we are asked do Tile and Grout Cleaning, it is the grout that needs cleaning) if you do not have a professional set up it will be necessary to compensate for the components you don’t have, using what you do have.
For example since you don’t have high pressure or heated solution, you must make up for that by using a strong chemical (alkaline or acid) and letting it dwell on the tile longer. You also must provide as much agitation as possible to the grout using a tool made especially to fit into a grout joint. You can also give yourself an advantage if someone in your area rents out specialty equipment that is designed to clean tile and grout. You would need to go to a janitor supply or a carpet cleaning distribution house, not a grocery or hardware store, because with those machines you would get virtually the same result you can get in this guideline.
One key assessment you need to make yourself is to determine if you have soling that is alkaline soluble or acid soluble. Alkaline soluble soiling are dried oxidized acids like food and grease from cooking. Acid soluble soils are dried alkalies like soap films and hard water deposits. YOU WILL GREATLY INCREASE YOUR CHANCES IF YOU GO TO THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE PH SCALE FROM YOUR SOILING.
So you want to clean your own grout? The following is the absolute best approach I can offer you.
- Assemble the necessary tools. (BTW we sell some of these items on our website, just click on the logo) 1- a grout brush that is made to go down into the grout while you are standing up. 2-a hand held pump up sprayer (it does not need to be chemical resistant) 3- a mop of some kind to remove the slurry you will create 4- the proper alkaline or acid grout cleaner.
- Mask areas you might be concerned with that could be harmed by chemicals. Stainless steel appliances need to be masked with plastic and taped. Carpet needs to be protected.
- Sweep or vacuum area to be cleaned.
- Mix cleaning solution according to manufacturers directions. If you want to truly do your best you will use both an acid and an alkaline. If you have heavy grease use the alkaline first, if not use the acid first.
- Apply solution to the grout joint and scrub with the grout brush. Use plenty of solution and let it dwell for at least 10 minutes, but do not let the solution dry. add more if it is drying too fast, but keep it wet for 10 minutes at least. (your biggest advantage – beside using our supplies – is to let the chemical dwell. Dwell time is your friend.
- After 10 minutes mop up slurry with clean water. We suggest using microfiber mops (yes we do sell them). Repeat process if you are using alkaline as well as acid cleaners.
- When your grout dries if it is really clean, you may wish to add a sealer. We recommend a water based sealer as they are easier to work with when applying to a grout joint. Take care not to get sealer on the tile as it can form a sticky residue that will attract soil to the tile. If it is not really clean we don’t recommend you seal it because you will be essentially sealing the soil you couldn’t get off under the sealer, and if you are able to get it cleaned professionally in the future it will hamper that persons effort.
Here are some videos of our Tile and Grout Cleaning:
Single Jet Tile and Grout Cleaning tool: