NORTHBROOK, Ill.—June 17, 2020—In this edition of Straight Talk with Jeff Cross, Dane Gregory, IICRC instructor, discusses tips for cleaning tile and grout. Gregory says the first step to effective cleaning is to identify if the tile is ceramic or natural stone because this may impact the cleaning products you use. Ceramic tile is manmade and is typically finished with a more durable surface that is less likely to etch or stain. Natural stone, on the other hand, is more prone to permanent damage from etching or staining if the wrong products are used. “You definitely want to know which one you’re working with,” Gregory said.

One of the challenges in caring for stone and tile floors is that customers often wait too long before calling a professional. Gregory explains that because tile is often marketed as a low-maintenance product and because it does soil so gradually, customers often don’t notice the early signs of staining and buildup. Another problem is that many customers use the wrong cleaning products or use them incorrectly, leaving product residue on the floor that attracts more soil and makes the tile more difficult to clean.

Grout presents another set of challenges because it is a product mixed onsite, meaning every batch of grout is slightly different. A common problem is that installers mix too much water into cement grout which weakens it, making the grout vulnerable to chipping and cracking under the pressure of professional cleaning tools. Gregory recommends that cleaners thoroughly inspect the tile and grout before cleaning to avoid any issues of liability for compromised floors that could be damaged.

One of Gregory’s top tips for cleaning tile and grout is to find a neutral product that you like working with. Heavy duty chemistry is often not needed; instead, he recommends using a neutral cleaner with the principles of CHAT: chemistry, heat, agitation, and time. “Neutral, done properly with the right amount of agitation and heat, can do a lot more for you than you think,” Gregory said. Another tip is to talk with clients about sealing the grout of newer floors to help prevent staining, and then adhering to a regular cleaning program that prevents heavy soil buildup.

For more tips on cleaning tile and grout, look for Dane Gregory’s upcoming IICRC Technical Tip article in the July 2020 issue of Cleanfax. You can also find out more about Gregory’s training classes at www.danegregory.com.

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