Steam Cleaning Tile & Grout Lines 2013
We've all seen the 30 minute infomercial hailing the 'steam shark' as the latest greatest invention especially in the tile and grout cleaning world. If you watched these infomercial then you have seen how effortlessly the spokesperson can clean dirty tile and grout lines. This machine, which costs about $99.00, can save you hundreds even thousands of dollars compared to hiring a professional - or can it?
This past week I have had the pleasure of working with two couples who both own a steam shark and who would gladly sell you theirs at a discounted price. They bought this device hoping to clean their dirty tile and grout lines but were sadly disappointed with the steam sharks ability to clean the grout lines and remove stains from the floor. One couple had a travertine floor and the other a ceramic tile floor. Neither could get the grout clean. As I explained to both couples "If the steam shark worked as well at home as it does on TV I would be out of business."
The steam shark does not use any chemicals to clean with just water. The water is heated, using an on board electrical heater, to approximately 212 degrees fahrenheit. This steam is a vapor that comes through the cleaning pad at the bottom of the steam shark. Much like a steam iron with a handle. You are suppose to run the steam shark over the tile and grout surface and presto - IT'S CLEAN. The only problem is the floor is still dirty after it has been supposedly cleaned. Because bacteria dies at a temperature of 140 degrees fahrenheit the steam shark can kill bacteria IF the steam comes in contact with the bacteria long enough. The reason why the steam shark does not clean the grout lines is because the grout lines have been impacted with grease, oils, dander, dirt, dead skin cells, etc. The mixture of YUK has been walked on for the past (5) years, for example, and has been driven deep down into the pours of the sanded grout. Steam alone will not remove the YUK and it has been proven time and again.
I don't want to sound too critical of the steam shark because it does have uses, but to use it to clean your dirty tile and grout lines is probably not one of them. Often times you will need to use a high alkaline cleaning solution with a de-greaser to loosen the YUK stuck into the grout. This will also require agitation or scrubbing the grout lines with a nylon brush. This can be time consuming not to mention hard on the knees and back. The reason why people hire a professional like me is because the want it done right the first time and they don't want to pay twice for the same job. If you are stuck on using a steam shark then borrow your neighbours before you spend the money. If you have questions please contact me at this email address firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at (916) 525-2456.