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Tuesday, March 29 2011

Using a carpet shampoo machine to clean tile:

From time to time I receive a telephone call from someone who does not want to hire Liberty Floor Solutions but only wants advice. If time permits I will often attempt to help a person in any way that I can. Recently I received a telephone call from a lady who said she did not have the money to hire someone to clean her dirty tile and grout lines but wanted to know if it would be safe for her to use a 'carpet shampoo machine' (her words not mine) to clean her dirty tile and grout.

I first asked her to give me an overall description of her floor, the width of the grout lines, the type of tile she had, how old the floor was, what type of cleaning methods had been used in the past, etc. After a few minutes of conversation I was able to ascertain that she had ceramic tile with sanded grout and that the floor was 10 years old. She also wanted to rent a Rug Doctor for the purpose of cleaning the tile.  I could tell from our conversation that she was frustrated with her failed attempts and she was honestly seeking answers to her problem. Probably nothing is more frustrating than trying to clean dirty tile and grout. You can work all day with very little to show for your efforts.

I told her she should expect dismal results and here are the reasons why:

1). The Rug Doctor was designed to clean carpets not the smooth surface of ceramic tile. The brushes on the Rug Doctor were deigned to lift dirt from a fiber, ie: carpet fibers, not porous grout or the smooth surface of ceramic tile. The brush heads on the machine will not be able to reach the grout pours where the dirt and oils are lodged.

2). Chemical strength of the Rug Doctor carpet shampoo is 9.0 pH. The typical pH level of tile and grout cleaning solutions is around 12.0 pH. If you recall your high school chemistry you would know that the chemical strength of tile and grout cleaning solutions is 10,000 times stronger than the Rug Doctor carpet shampoo.

3). The water pressure of the standard Rug Doctor is around 50psi (pounds per square inch) and the typical cleaning pressure for tile and grout cleaning starts at a minimum of 800psi, and is typically around 1,500psi. This type of water pressure is necessary to deep clean the grout pours. With a Rug Doctor you would probably use 5 gallons of water to clean approximately 400 square feet of tile, with our cleaning methods we will use around 75 gallons of water heated to a minimum temperature of 200 degrees. Heat alone is a great cleaning agent, but it will also sanitize the floor. We know from science that bacteria dies at 140 degrees with a Rug Doctor it would impossible to maintain that high of a temperature through out the cleaning process.

I told her she would be better off saving her money until she can afford to hire someone to do the job right the first time. I hope she follows my advice. If you have questions or comments about this blog please contact me at

Until next time

Michael Hull

Posted by: Michael Hull AT 12:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
This is great information. I have reviewed a number of your blogs and they all have been good stuff! You're my BFF in cleaning.
Posted by Patty on 03/30/2011 - 09:19 PM
Thank you for the compliment. We aim to please.
Posted by Michael Hull on 03/31/2011 - 05:56 AM

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We provide professional tile, grout, carpet cleaning services for home and businesses in the following California cities: Sacramento, West Sacramento, Elk Grove, Wilton, Galt, Lodi, Stockton, Laguna West, Rancho Murieta, Mather, Rancho Cordova, Folsom, El Dorado Hills, Rescue, Cool, Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Orangevale, Antelope, Roseville, Lincoln, Loomis, Rocklin, Natomas, Citrus Heights, and Slough House. We will travel to other areas.


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Providing tile, grout, travertine, carpet cleaning professional services to Sacramento and Elk Grove California : carpet cleaning - grout tile cleaning - travertine tile cleaning - carpet steam cleaning services