Many St. George, Utah, businesses have seen the value of decorating their floors with beautiful ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone tiles. Creating a more pleasant, attractive atmosphere in which to shop has contributed to their business’ growth and reputation. Tiles are also essential to many commercial properties in that they cover restroom, stockroom, and hallway walking spaces with a safe, low-maintenance surface.
After years of high-traffic use, commercial tiling will inevitably lose its original shine. Grime, consisting largely of dirt and oil deposits, will become deeply stained into the tiles at points, and the grout lines will especially be affected. To address this problem, commercial tile cleaning solutions, equipment, and methods have been developed. Each business will have to decide for itself whether it is more cost-effective to hire a professional tile cleaning company or to tackle the job on its own, but in either case, some general guidelines apply to the process.
Some Tips for Cleaning Commercial Tile
Preparing for Commercial Tile Cleaning
The first step to be taken is to identify and gather the necessary tools. Basics cleaning supplies like a simple broom, mop, and bucket will be used, but specialized commercial tile cleaning solutions and equipment will also be needed. The precise types of tile-cleaning solutions will vary based on the tile material, the level of grime, and the nature of the grime. For example, restaurants will need a solution particularly well suited to combat grease. But care must be taken when using acidic products that effectively clean porcelain and ceramic because they could damage stone. Deeply stained tile and grout will need a product with a more potent formula. Your product supplier or the commercial carpet and tile cleaning service you hire will know what cleaning product is best for your needs.
Equipment types vary greatly, but the two basic options for commercial floors are steam extraction machines and cylindrical brush cleaners. The former sometimes includes a jet spray of pressurized water, which the user must avoid setting at too-high a level to avoid damaging tile and grout. The latter, on the other hand, typically offers counter-rotating brushes that can be set at various pressures. Sometimes, cylindrical brush cleaners have a vacuum system built in to dry the floor during use. Other times, a drying pad must be inserted and the floor dried in a separate step.
Once the equipment and floor cleaning solution have been selected, the next step is to prepare the floor surface. All loose dirt and dust must be swept away, and one must be careful to remove it from cracks and grout lines, where it tends to get trapped. A light mopping can also help to remove any dust that may still be clinging to the tiles. Finally, it may be advisable to use a scraper to chisel out major deposits of hardened dirt, chewing gum, and the like before the main tile-cleaning work begins.
Cleaning the Tiles and Grout
The cleaner will normally need to be diluted in water, in accordance with the specifics of the manufacturer’s instructions. A typical dilution ratio is eight ounces of cleaner to four gallons of water. A mop should be used to spread a thin layer of cleaning solution over the floor surface. It is important to allow the cleaner to sit for a few minutes and soak into the dirt build-up before proceeding any further.
At this point, prepare the cleaning machine for action, plug it in, and work on one six-by-six foot section of flooring at a time. Don’t go over the floor too quickly since that could leave too much grime and leave extra work for later. Move the machine steadily, but be willing to hover and move it back and forth over particularly dirty areas. Pay special attention to the grout lines. Many commercial tile-cleaning machines can clean the grout as well, but one should keep an eye on the grout as the machine moves along to ensure the results are satisfactory.
If grout continues to look dingy, or if alternate grout cleaning methods are desired, there are a number of viable options, including the following:
- A solution of three-quarters cup of bleach to one gallon water can be used to remove extreme grease and dirt stains. Goggles should be worn to protect the eyes, and an ordinary toothbrush will work for a scrub brush. Be sure to test a hidden area to make sure the grout won’t change color.
- Mix one-third cup of ammonia, a half-cup of baking soda, and a quarter-cup of white vinegar with seven cups of water. Put the solution into a spray bottle, and spray and scrub the “tough spots.”
- A small, handheld power scrubber can be used to remove stubborn grime. Be careful, however, not to scrub too hard since this could damage the grout or tile.
- Whitening toothpastes will, believe it or not, also whiten grout lines quite well. With toothbrush and toothpaste being used, it may seem like you are “brushing the floor’s teeth,” but the results are remarkable.
Sealing the Grout
A tile sealer can be easily applied, if desired, but a grout sealant is a must. It is imperative to purchase a sealer designed for the particular tile-material since the sealant will inevitably touch the edges of the tiles. It is simple enough to apply the grout sealant. It can be done with a small paint brush or any other small brush. If one wishes to avoid bending down or getting down on hands and knees, attaching the brush to the end of a broomstick is a good solution.
First of all, make sure the grout is already fully clean and dry. Next, work section by section, and give the sealant about five minutes to dry before using a sponge mop on the tiles. Move the sponge mop across the tiles diagonally to eliminate sealant that is touching the tiles while not emptying the grout line. At this point, allow the floor the required time to cure.
With a good sealant, water will bead on the grout instead of linger and soak in. Grout primarily gets dirty by absorbing dirty water every time the floor is mopped, so taking the time to seal it pays off incredibly well.
Cleaning commercial tile flooring is similar to cleaning any tile flooring, but the standards at commercial enterprises are normally higher. This is especially so when the tile is visible to a business’s clients. Proper preparation of the floor surface and optimal choices on cleaning solutions and power cleaning equipment are essential. The cleaning process itself is relatively simple, if tedious, but fully cleansing the grout lines can be a challenge. By sealing the grout lines after the cleaning is complete, the results can be preserved for years to by stopping the grout’s naturally absorbent nature.
If you are looking for commercial carpet and tile cleaning in St. George, Utah, call Fresh ‘n Dri today 435-767-1950. We’re here to help!