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How to Clean Your Tile and Grout – Advice for Residents of Danville, Blackhawk, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, San Ramon and the TriValley Area

Have you been noticing your once beautiful tile floors are not as bright as they use to be?  Grout and many natural stone surfaces are porous, easily absorbing grease, dirt, mold, and mildew creating marks and patches on the surface and on grout lines which make the entire area look dirty and unattractive.  Unclean surfaces can also lead to the growth of bacteria which makes for an unsanitary living or working space.  What can you do about this?  You have a couple options – clean yourself or hire a professional to clean for you.

If you are zealous enough to try cleaning for yourself, try these steps below.

NOTE: Before using any of these methods, always test first in an inconspicuous area. Take special care with colored grout as you may remove the color if you use chlorine bleach. Test first!

OPTION 1 Cleaning Your Tile and Grout Yourself

Step 1. Wet mop with Oxiclean. The first and easiest method to try is using an oxygen cleaner such as Oxiclean to see if you can just bleach the grout clean this way.  Do this by making a solution of two gallons of hot water with 1 cup of Oxiclean powder (let the powder completely dissolve.)  Mop with the solution, if this does not give satisfactory results, go to Step 2.

Step 2. Brushing with Oxiclean. Purchase a plastic bristle deck brush with a long handle. Using the solution above, brush the grout with the solution and allow to dry. The extra brushing action will often do the job without making you get on your hands and knees to brush.  If after this you still are not satisfied with the results try Step 3.

Step 3. Wet mop with chlorine bleach. This is your last resort step and bleach causes strong fumes and the potential to discolor wood trim, appliances and any nearby carpet.  That being said, sometimes bleach is what you need to get the job done. Make a solution of two gallons of hot water and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Add 1 cup of liquid bleach and mix. Mop the floors with the bleach solution being careful not to splash any on trim, appliances, carpet and fabric.  Use a hand brush on extra dirty areas, like around the stove or sink.

Step 4. Rinse, Rinse, Rinse. Without a proper rinsing technique, your grout will be compromised by the residue left from the cleaning products and any sealer you have on it will be ineffective.  If you are doing this step yourself you will have to do it like the professional companies once did - meaning swabbing the surface 3 to 5 times or more with a mop and bucket approach to rinse.  Luckily these days professional cleaning companies, such as Hands On Earth Friendly Carpet Cleaning, Tile and Stone Restoration, have high pressure hot water extraction equipment which allows them to clean deeper, leave less residue behind and significantly cut down on time and labor.  You can still do a good job yourself but the process will be much more tedious.

Step 5. Seal/Re-seal your tile and grout. Finally, once you have gotten the tile and grout looking good, make sure to seal it to keep it from getting dirty again.  You can buy sealer at your home centers and tile stores.  Another hint is to place area rugs by sinks and stoves or entryways of hallways, bathrooms and anywhere there's a lot of traffic.  

If you aren’t successful with the above steps or just don’t have the time and energy for them, professional help may be called for. If so, this brings us to Option 2.

OPTION 2: Hire a Professional to Clean Your Tile and Grout

Homes built in the last decade have used more tile than ever and unfortunately more and more tile setters have failed to seal the tile they set.  This means your tile and grout are absorbing all that soiling more readily and it will likely be difficult to clean yourself.  Sealing is highly recommended by the experts for this reason.  The good news is that a professional can help restore your tile and grout to a clean and sanitary condition.

These days many carpet cleaning companies also offer tile and grout cleaning.  Hands On Earth Friendly Carpet Cleaning, Tile and Stone Restoration is one such company that offers tile and grout cleaning in addition to its regular carpet cleaning services. Hands On also offers the additional service of sealing your tile and grout which will help keep it clean for a long time to come.