Tile is a beautiful and durable finish in many homes, but if it is improperly cared for, it can be damaged, especially the grout line between your tile. Here are some cleaning practices that can be harmful to your grout and tile.
Too Much Water
When we think of tile, we think of a strong and durable surface covering that can withstand nearly anything it comes in contact with, especially water. It is widely used in bathrooms for a reason. So when it comes to cleaning why would we need to concern ourselves with the amount of water we use? Grout is a very porous material and using too much water can help to carry moisture from the surface of the tile through the pores and down into the tile backing, which can cause significant damage like the weakening of the tile adhesive. It can also cause mold and mildew issues. So when cleaning the grout it is best not to let it soak in copious amounts of water.
The Wrong Cleaning Solutions
There are some cleaning products that will break down and ruin your grout when used on a regular basis over a matter of time. It is best to know what you are cleaning your grout with and make sure it is safe for grout instead of just grabbing anything you have on hand and going to town. If you are going to use a store bought cleaner you get off the shelf at the store, make sure you read the label and it clearly states it is safe on tile grout AND the type of tile that the grout is surrounding.
The cleaning solution should also be colorless. Cleaning products that have color to them are often this way because of dyes. This could lead to the discoloration of your grout, especially white grout. Alternatively, bleach is not a good option for cleaning colored grout. If you have different grout colors in your home and would like just one cleaner there are some store-bought cleaners that are safe to use on all grout types, just look for this on the lable.
When we see tough dirt and grime somewhere, like those black mildew lines in our grout, our first instinct is to go to town with the elbow grease and scrub as hard as we can until the gunk disappears. This is the opposite of what you want to do, harsh scrubbing and harsh scrubbing tools can damage your grout and could even damage your tiles. Grab a softer cleaning tool like a simple cloth or a nylon bristle brush. Never use things like steel wool, or the scrubber side of a sponge. If you decide to purchase one of those popular tile brushes you can attach to your cordless drill, keep it on the low setting. Use the correct tools, and also remember to not apply full pressure.
Cleaners that have a high chemical pH or are acidic will begin to eat away at your grout and make it more fragile and porous. Stay away from cleaners that contain vinegar and citrus. This will eat away at the top layer of the grout and cause the need for replacing grout lines sooner.
You also want to avoid oil-based and wax-based cleaners because they can leave a soapy build-up that will attract dirt and grime to the grout, which is the opposite of what you wanted.
To help you with your tile and grout cleaning success you should hire a professional to come in and deep clean all of your tile surfaces at least once a year. After deep cleaning is performed it is a very good idea to re-apply the protective sealant coat as it is beneficial to providing a layer between the tile and grout and all of the things that get it dirty. The sealant will wear down with time so it needs to be re-applied annually. Many professional cleaners offer sealant application when they are finished cleaning for an extra cost. It is a good investment to make your routine tile cleaning much easier.
For tile and grout cleaning in Mukilteo and surrounding areas make an appointment online or over the phone with All Kleen.