Tending to your home’s tile and grout requires a little more than just a sponge and some cleaning solution. Professional care is necessary for a variety of reasons. From maintaining the integrity of your newly-installed tile to preventing moisture damage, keeping your grout clean is essential to the long-term health of your flooring system. Unfortunately, most people do not know what they are missing. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way — you just need a few extra tools and techniques to make everything easier. Check out these tips for ensuring that you take care of your tile and grout as much as possible:
Always use a mop and bucket when mopping
When mopping, always use a mop and bucket. While a sponge can be useful for certain tasks, it becomes a liability when it comes to mopping. Sponges are static-prone and have a very thin layer of synthetic fiber that is not suitable for mopping. Tile and grout are very slippery due to the high mineral content and soap’s anti-static properties are built in. A sponge, on the other hand, is not able to properly clean the floor due to its synthetic fiber base. As a result, you risk damaging your floor. A mop, on the other hand, is a natural fiber that is not as slippery as tile and grout.
Vacuuming does not just remove dust — it also sucks up any excess water that has accumulated in your floor. Unfortunately, water is a bad thing for tile and grout. If it is allowed to sit for too long, it will cause damage. Water, when allowed to sit, forms a layer of hydration on the surface of your floor. As it evaporates, it leaves behind all the minerals that make up your floor. If the floor is not regularly dried, the minerals can combine with water again and reform a hydration layer. This, in turn, causes the floor to become unstable and more susceptible to buckling. Keep in mind that the best time to vacuum is when you are mopping. Always vacuum right after you have mopped to avoid disturbing the haze.
Use the right soap for your floor type
Tile and grout cleaners come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be a little difficult to figure out which one is best for your floor type. Fortunately, it is easy to match your cleaner to the minerals in your floor. There are three main types of minerals you will come across in tile and grout: silica, sulfate, and alkaline. If your floor is composed of silica, choose a cleaner that is formulated for this kind of floor. Silica-based minerals are fairly easy to clean and are very durable. Alkaline-based minerals are a little trickier to clean and can quickly cause damage if not dried thoroughly. Avoid this type of mineral by sticking to cleaners that are formulated for this type of floor. Sulfate-based flooring is fairly common but can be easily managed with the right cleaner.
Don’t just scrub — scratch away & use baking soda
While some people think that tile and grout cleaning is just about scrubbing, the truth is that it is a lot more than that. Grout, in particular, has a lot of embedded dirt and debris that spills over the sides of the tiles. This debris can be easily removed with a little scrubbing, but it is important to scratch away at the sides of the tiles as well. This is done by dragging a scrubbing pad or sponge along the grout lines. Scratching away also helps to expose the tiles to the air, which is essential for drying the floor. Baking soda, when mixed in a solution, acts as both a deodorizer and a fogger. This is a great tool for both reducing humidity levels and breaking the silica bond.
Invest in tile and grout protectors
Tile and grout protectors can buy your floor some time while it heals. These are specially-designed coverings that are placed over your grout lines. When you are finished with mopping and cleaning, simply push any excess water out of the lines and cover them with a protector. Why should you care about protectors? The biggest reason is that protectors help to keep your floor from becoming too dry. If your floor is allowed to dry out too much, it can eventually start to crack and crumble. Protectors are designed to be a little bit porous, so they can wick water back into the pores of your grout lines and prevent your floor from becoming too dry. They are also designed to protect your floor from hydrostatic pressure damage. Hydrostatic pressure occurs when water builds up on the surface of your floor because it is not being allowed to drain properly.
Take frequent dry-mop breaks
Tile and grout cleaning is a lot easier when you have a dry mop. This is why most commercial establishments use a dry-mop system — it is simply the easiest way to get the job done. However, you may not have been able to use your mop while you were mopping because of the water on the floor. If you have been using your mop while your floor is wet, you will have a hard time getting the water out. The only solution is to take a few dry-mop breaks and mop when everything is dry. This will allow you to get the water out and start working with a fresh mop. This will not only make the process go by much faster, but it will also prevent damage to your floor.
Tile and grout cleaning is a complicated process that often is only done correctly by commercial entities. Luckily, you can learn by following these tips. Maintaining healthy tile and grout will require a little more effort from you, but it is definitely worth it. Take the time to clean your tile and grout and you will notice that it will last much longer and look better than if you do not take care of it.