Tile and Grout Cleaning Tips

Cleaning tile and grout can be challenging.  Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.  Being equipped with the proper tools for maintenance will help pro-long the appearance of your tile and grout.  For commercial settings proper matting systems reduce soil infiltration drastically.  The same can be applied to residential applications.
When installing tile and grout one of the most important steps is applying a seal after the job is complete.  Most of this should be done by the contractor, but we find many times that the floors are never sealed.  Sealing aids in preventing moisture from entering the grout lines.  This is intended to provide a layer of protection so that cleaning and maintenance is a breeze.  Just like any other type of surface, normal wear and tear, cleaning solutions, and agitation breaks the seal down over time increasing the need for a routine maintenance schedule to include re-sealing applications.
Most of the seals are volatile solvents.  Be sure to have plenty of air circulation, and appropriate skin and eye wear protection to avoid and health related issues.  Some of the major chains have an aerosol seal.  We recommend avoiding these.  Overspray will happen and you do not want the seal to rest on any of your tile.  Best form of application is a sponge type applicator brush found in most hardware stores.  If the soil has gone too far, and cleaning attempts have been futile a color seal application will be your best option.
Color seal comes in virtually every color allowing you to completely restore your grout lines.  We only use Mapei brand color seal.  This will not only restore your floor, but it acts as a more permanent coating allowing for easy cleaning and maintenance.  Don’t think all is lost.  We can save the day!
Having proper matting systems at your home or business will control the amount of soil entering the property.  It’s always best to have a rubber mat outside and a very absorbent mat inside.  Make sure your mats are long enough for at least 3 steps.  3M makes some excellent matting solutions for both commercial and residential applications.  Outside of proper matting, make sure you have the proper tools in-house to clean the floors properly.
Heard of microfiber?  I’m sure you have.  Microfiber dust mops and wet mops are some of the best tools you should have in your cleaning arsenal.  They out perform traditional cotton mops significantly.  They attract more soil without the use of toxic chemicals.  Don’t forget dry vacuuming with a Hepa vacuum is always the first step, then follow with your microfiber dusting and wet cleaning.  In addition to the right tools, chemistry plays a role in proper maintenance.
Sticky residues left behind by aggressive cleaners can be a nuisance.  Microfiber mops, hot water, and a neutral floor cleaner will be your best bet.  Most floor cleaners are high in alkalinity leaving tacky residues that attract soil left behind on your floors.  Did you know household vinegar will help counteract this?  Vinegar is an acid and can help reduce or relieve this problem.  We use the Procyon line of green floor cleaning products.  It’s soap free, chemical free, and is all plant based.  Not only can your floors be challenging to maintain, but bathroom tile needs special attention too.
Most bathrooms are full of moisture.  The environment is often warm, dark, and damp.  What normally is produced in an environment like this?  Bacteria, mold, and mildew.  We are still dealing with soil, just a completely different type.  Ventilation, and proper cleaning are important to avoid issues associated with mold and mildew.  Bacteria thrives in wet environments.  So get it dry, and use the right cleaners to ensure a clean healthy environment for your family.
Hydrogen peroxide cleaners have come a long way.  We use more commercial strength cleaners that you may not find at your local hardware store.  Some are available by top brands, but may not have the strength needed if your situation requires more restorative action.
Dealing with soap scum?  Yeah we hate it too.  Best solution!  Stop using soap!  Organic and green healthcare products eliminate soap completely.  They use essential oils and plant based ingredients vs any lye, glycerin, or animal fats.  If you switch to more “green” options guess what! No more soap scum.  Soap scum may require heavy duty cleaning applications.
In addition to aggressive chemistry the use of a commercial grade steamer will help aid in the cleaning process.  Plus, who loves all those cracks, crevasses, and tight corners?  A steamer will help blast soil and issues out of all those areas.  It also increases the effectiveness the cleaning products ten-fold.  Heat rapidly increased the chemical reaction of cleaning products.  It’s a win win.

Low Moisture Cleaning Solves Problems

Low Moisture or Encapsulation cleaning is the most safe and advanced way to clean and maintain carpet.  Whether in residential setting or commercial environments low moisture solves many problems associated with carpet cleaning.

  • Carpets dry fast. Homeowners are happy because their busy house can get back to normal quickly.  Commercial clients experience rapid turnaround times and avoid potential slip hazards that are normally associated with other cleaning methods
  • No complex chemical processes. Most all encapsulation cleaners are PH balanced.  Not only safe for all face fibers, but they do not require the application of rinsing agents.  This leaves carpet fresh, clean without the chance of leaving chemical residues behind attracting unwanted soil. In fact most of the advanced products today will add stain and soil protection to nylon face fibers.
  • Environmentally safe. Low Moisture cleaning cuts out waste of thousands of gallons of water reducing water footprints, and eliminates sewage waste allowing soil to be vacuumed up as a dry solid before and after the cleaning process. In addition products like Jacob’s Encap Extra has been scrutinized by the scientific team at the US EPA and carries the DfE logo certifying that it’s safe for humans, pets, and the planet.

Steam Cleaning or Hot Water Extraction
Keep in mind, any method performs well if done properly.

  • Steam or Hot Water Extraction: Requires the use of either portable equipment or more common truck mounted systems.  Steam extraction is the most common form of carpet cleaning available.  As with any other form of cleaning a thorough dry vacuuming should be performed by the technician in order to remove the majority of dry soil in the carpet.  This includes a pre grooming or pile lift.  75-80% of dry soil cannot be removed with water or solvent alone.  An application of pre-treatments typically a high ph pre-spray is common in most applications. Agitation and dwell time for chemistry is very important. A rinsing process then begins.  If a high alkaline pre-treatment was used to release soil from fibers then an acid rinse must be performed to leave the carpet at a ph balance.  Not doing so will leave a residue causing rapid re-soiling.  Avoiding over wetting is important to.  Proper tool and truck maintenance is vital to ensure you perform the cleaning properly.  Some companies use fans or air movers to aid in the drying process.  Often at a higher cost.

Whether you choose hot water extraction or encapsulation cleaning, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Pre-vacuuming is required by the technician. If you hire a cleaner and they fail to bring in a dry vacuum or special attachment for their truckmount specifically for dry vacuuming, send them packing.
  • Make sure you ask what type of chemicals and cleaning process they are using. There are plenty of advanced non-toxic pre-sprays and carpet cleaning detergents available.
  • Carpet grooming. The crimp and twist of the carpet is set at the mills with either a wet or dry heat.  Often called Heatsetting. You may have heard of Superba. When cleaners clean with heat the setting from the mills can be disrupted.  Post Grooming can aid in preventing damage to the fibers.  It is also a pre-vacuuming aid to help remove soil from the carpet.

Low-Moisture cleaning ranks at the top for green cleaning carpet cleaning methods.  There are some major advantages of using green cleaning techniques around your home and business.
Did you know microfiber towels are simply the best to use for cleaning hard surfaces?  They make some awesome microfiber bonnets for carpet too, but you can accomplish amazing results without the use of toxic chemicals.
Microfiber is lint free, safe for most surfaces as its non-abrasive, and its hypoallergenic. Microfiber comes in the form of hand towels, mops, and various other forms.  They often come in different colors allowing you to use them in different cleaning applications without cross-contamination. Hard to do with terry cloth towels.  Why is microfiber so green?  It has tiny hooks that help grab on to soil kind of like Velcro for dirt! Microfiber cleaning systems also help facilities earn credits for LEED certifications.
Cincinnati Maintenance also uses the Procyon Brand carpet and tile cleaning products to produce amazing cleaning results.  These cleaners are soap free and derived from various plant based ingredients. This helps eliminate any type of chemical exposure whatsoever.
This company was founded by introducing low-moisture cleaning in the Cincinnati area.  We will and continue to be on the cutting edge of green cleaning technologies.  Safe, effective, and clean without causing environmental hazards or exposing anyone to toxicity.