Over time tile and especially grout becomes discolored and looks dirty. Food, spills, mop water, oils, soils, practically everything under the sun and certainly in the house finds its way, thanks to gravity to the floor. A quick look in high use areas versus corners and edges less traveled, you can see a major difference in grout color. Often the high use areas turn brown or black, whereas the edges and less traveled areas look more like the original grout color (unless near a work station.) And the daunting task of scrubbing those grout lines can be overwhelming. It’s not the color they’re supposed to be, but it’s the cleanest the client can get them. The fact is, people usually forget what their grout is really is supposed to look like (tile or natural stone) until we clean it for them.
Cleaning products are a dime a dozen, but are they all suitable for cleaning your floors? The answer is no! Sometimes as is the case, less is better. Popular brands we all recognize that while they do a good job cleaning, they also leave heavy residues behind. And, over time these sticky residues attract soiling and become hard to clean off. Oil soaps, disinfectants, are an example of cleaners known to do this.
One recent example is a new homeowner (our very own daughter in law) who noticed that she and our granddaughter’s feet were black by days end. The floors in their home are mostly tile and LVP, or composite flooring that looks like wood but is not. The only carpet in the house is on the steps and upstairs hall. Being neat and tidy and keeping a clean home this became very frustrating for her, so much so she picked up the phone and called us.
I asked her what she was using, which she told me—one of those highly advertised miracle cleaners. Well, I told her SHE was causing the problem (which took some convincing). I was frank in saying every time she mopped the floor with that stuff, the water dries up but the oils and residues from heavy laden-scented cleaners are left behind. Then everything in the home or brought in is more apt to stick to the floor, absorb into the grout, and end up on their feet, socks or shoes.
A preferable cleaner is a pH neutral floor cleaner. These cleaners are light but get the job done without leaving heavy residues and fragrances behind. Looking for a product that has “a daily cleaner” on the packaging probably is a good choice. On the other hand heavy oil soaps, disinfecting solutions or heavy fragrant cleaners should be avoided. (If you would like you can buy the neutral cleaner we use in our business.)
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, is cheap and does a good job. For the most part you can’t go wrong using a vinegar and water solution, however beware of using it on natural stone or hardwood.
Call it our own scrubbing bubbling reactions, the “pre-spray” when applied to the dirty grout will react and begin to release the dirt even before the steaming begins. You can tell when the dirt starts to spread wider than the grout lines. Then when we we rinse it with the steam wand, it can become stunningly clean right before your own eyes.
Once you actually see the floor steaming and how dramatic and immediately clean it becomes, you might even be hooked. We have tons of clients who schedule their cleaning yearly. No longer feeling then they can keep it looking cleaner longer, till the next time say with their own steam mop.