Tile Cleaning with Vinegar
Yesterday I receive a phone call from a tile installer at 7:00AM in the morning wanted to ask me questions about tile and grout cleaning. He said that he was doing some work for a woman in the Roseville area installing a ceramic back splash on her countertops and he noticed that her 5 year old ceramic tile and sanded grout were black with yuk. After speaking with him for several minutes about why this had happened to her floor he seemed quite impressed with my knowledge and was only to happy to recommend me to his client.
In our conversation he mentioned that he always uses white distilled vinegar mixed with water to clean tile and grout and he asked me for my opinion concerning his methods. I further questioned him about why and when he used vinegar, I already knew the answer I just wanted him to say it out loud, he told me that it is used right after the installation of the tile. When tile is first installed and grouted there is almost always a hazy substance on the tiles. This substance is called 'grout haze'. It is the excess grout that needs to be removed from the tile floor before the floor can be considered done. Because vinegar is acidic the acid content in the vinegar and water mix will literally dissolve the grout haze making it easy to mop up and remove the floor. It is important to note that once you have dissolved the grout haze the floor should be rinsed with a pH neutral solution so as to NOT leave the floor in an ACID STATE. Trace particles will continue to eat away at the grout and will eventually ruin the floor not to mention shorten its life expectancy.
I explained to my new friend that when he cleans the floor, to remove grout haze, this is entirely different than trying to remove built up grease and grime that has impacted the grout pores. Once it becomes impacted into the pores it is very difficult to remove with a mop and bucket. Grease needs to be broken down with a grease cutter or more commonly an alkaline cleaning substance. The pH factor of grout is around 11.00 to 11.5 making it an alkaline environment. Another reason why you should not use acid on the floor. The tile installer needless to say was impressed with my knowledge and how I was able to break down this complicated subject matter into easy to understand terms.
This got me to thinking about all the times I have been in peoples homes doing estimates and they explain to me that they clean their tile and grout floors with vinegar and that they were told by the tile installer this is what you are suppose to do, not realizing that the tile installer is really NOT cleaning the floor but removing grout haze. Another reason why you should consider the services of a REAL tile & grout cleaning professional. I hope this article was helpful to you.
Until Next Time,