Using Clorox Bleach to Clean Tile & Grout Floors:
Last night I received a telephone call from a lady named Tamera who wanted information about cleaning ceramic tile & grout floors. She explained to me that they were renting this home and were moving out in a few days, and that the floor was located in the kitchen/ dining areas. According to her estimates the floor was approximately 250 square feet. She also mentioned to me that she had a number of estimates from other cleaners ranging from $.55 to $1.25 per square foot to clean. I explained to her that she should throw out the low bid and the high bid. The lowest bidder is a carpet cleaner who has to rent the cleaning equipment each time he gets a job and has very little to no experience, and the high bid was trying to take advantage of her. No one in Sacramento County charges $1.25 per square foot to clean ceramic tile and grout.
I asked her to give me a little history concerning the floor. Since they were renting this house she did not have a complete history, she went on to say that the tile and grout lines looked almost new the day that they moved in and now the grout lines, especially, were dark with 'yuk.' She went on to explain to me that she had tried everything in her attempt to get the grout lines clean again including buying tile & grout cleaner from Home Depot, and finally using Clorox Bleach. According to her nothing had worked, and now there was a haze over the entire floor. This haze is NOT a good sign. She was surprised that Clorox Bleach did not work.
It is wrong to call household bleach Chlorine Bleach because it has an entirely different chemistry. Household bleach is derived from sodium chloride - common table salt. Clorox purchases chlorine and makes household bleach by bubbling the chlorine into a solution of water and sodium hydroxide. During this process, all of the chlorine is converted to a sodium hypochlorite solution. The pH level of bleach is 11.9, and it is to be used on Nonporous SURFACES. Clorox Bleach "decolorizes" the stain. Notice that I did not say "remove." The stain is stil there you just can't see it. The use of bleach will change the hue of colored grout lines over time. Not to mention that because the pH level is so high, 11.9, bleach will break down and eat the grout sealer leaving your grout lines unprotected.
Because the ceramic tile and grout floor now has a 'haze' on it, as described by Tamera, this is going to be a difficult fix. The floor will have to be tested to determine what cleaning solutions and what method will remove the haze not to mention the dirt and the grime that are still in the grout lines. The moral of the story is simple: Don't use Clorox Bleach on a ceramic tile & grout floor - EVER! If you have questions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until Next Time,