Cleaning Tips: Tile & Grout Maintenance

Practical advice to get the job done more efficiently

Do any of your customers have tile floors? Then you probably know a bit about tile and grout maintenance. Actually, “tile and grout maintenance” is a misnomer — it’s all about keeping the grout clean.

Keeping the hard floor surface is a piece of cake. Whether the tile is porcelain, ceramic, quarry, terra-cotta or brick, best practices for cleaning hard floors are basically the same. The raw materials that go into tile are varied, ranging from clay to quartz.

The one thing they have in common is that they produce an end product that is extremely durable and water resistant. They typically have a ceramic hardness rating of 5 (the hardest). Contrast that with grout, which is extremely porous and irregular.

No surprise, then, that grout soils faster and more distinctly than tile. If the grout (and tile) were installed properly, then the grout was treated with a sealer. Even then, without proper maintenance the grout discolors quickly. Proper maintenance is not simply damp mopping or spot mopping. This only moves soil from one spot to another.

What’s the solution? Actually, there are three:

One: Use a pressurized spinning tool and hot water extractor. This basically blows the soil out of the low areas so the extractor can eliminate it.

Two: Use counter-rotating brushes in combination with a wet-floor vac.

Three: Use a rotary floor machine with a wet floor vac.

For some great options in equipment, see EDIC’s line of tile and grout cleaning machines.

TIP: Whichever periodic cleaning method you use, the key is to get your customer to agree to a routine (daily, if possible) cleaning schedule for basic mopping and regular professional service. Avoid black soil buildup on the grout in the first place, and you won’t have to deal with a complete restoration.

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