Tile is a durable and easy to maintain flooring option that can beautify your home or business. The options and styles seem endless. Natural stone, vinyl, ceramic, slate, and porcelain just to name a few. Tile is generally easy to clean. But grout, now that can be a challenge. Especially if the grout has been neglected. Because its typically light in color and has a porous composition, grout is prone to staining. It can also trap dirt, grease, body oils, soap scum, and odors.
So how do you clean dirty grout and how do you keep it clean? With so many products, tools, and equipment available today to clean grout, how do you determine what option will work best for you?
Here are 5 steps to eliminate dirty grout:
The best way to keep grout clean is to prevent it from getting dirty in the first place. Applying a sealer (penetrant, barrier, etc.) will help the grout repel soils and odors which will make cleaning easier. Regular dust mopping, sweeping and vacuuming will help to keep dry soil from abrading and scratching the surface and/or sealer. Regular wet mopping with microfiber will help keep dirt, grease, body oils, soap scum and odors from penetrating and becoming trapped in the grout. Larger areas may require special walk behind or ride-on equipment for optimal maintenance.
To properly and effectively clean a surface you need to identify the soil type and soil load. Degreaser will clean grease from a kitchen floor better than an all-purpose cleaner. Bio-cleaners will work to remove the soils and odors found in a restroom. Acid-based cleaners work to remove soap scum and body oils.
A surface that has been neglected or improperly maintained will require restoration to get the grout clean. Once the chemistry is identified, time and agitation become crucial. Time allows a product to chemically loosen the soil from the surface. Agitation aids in this process.
If agitation is necessary, choosing the right piece of equipment will greatly assist the restoration process. There are many types of grout cleaning equipment. Weighted floor scrubbers, spinner tools, steam cleaners, high pressure equipment, and so much more. Whichever type of equipment you choose, remember the Rule of 4:
- Identify the soil type and load
- Use the correct chemical
- Allow proper dwell time
- Agitate thoroughly
- Proper matting
Often, floor matting is an after-thought. The correct style and size mat acts as a filter at the door and will drastically reduce the amount of dirt before it gets tracked in. In fact, 80% of the dirt in a facility is tracked in from the outside. A scraper mat will remove heavy soil and moisture on the outside while a channeled mat will trap and remove soil and moisture on the inside.
Clean grout is possible with the right plan. Follow these 5 steps to eliminate dirty grout. By developing a maintenance program that works for you, you can enjoy the beauty of your tile floor for years to come.