Stone & Tile Cleaning Basics
Measure your cleaning products accurately! More isn’t always better and in many cases can leave a residue that can actually attract soil.
Dilute 4 ounces of Heavy Duty Pro Clean per gallon of hot water.
Safety First! Even though the cleaning products in this line do not require a respirator, make sure there is plenty of fresh air coming in and block off or set cones to alert passers by of wet floors. Having your customer slip on a wet floor could really ruin your day.
For the professional cleaner these tools will be a familiar site. The spinner tool (right photo center), edging tool (right photo right), and the floor machine (left photo) are a bit of an investment but in the long run will make your job much easier and your work efforts more efficient.
For those new in the industry or the do-it-yourself homeowner the process may be performed using manual tools but believe me... these make the job much easier. When possible I will give you the directions for both.
There are also many ways to decrease the dry time of the tile after cleaning and treating. Decreasing the dry time will lessen the amount of time you have a potential slip/trip hazard as well as decreasing the time necessary between cleaning and sealing RX-20’s like the one to the left can be equipped with a pad driver and bonnet to absorb excess moisture. The same can also be said of a rotary floor machine (not shown).
Air movement will also help to dry the floors. This can be as simple as opening the doors to let in a breeze to more advanced equipment like the air movers shown below.
Now it’s time for the real work to begin.
But before that let’s run through our checklist:
Agitate the area thoroughly. This is a very important part of the process. Focus your attention on the grout. For the most part, if you clean the grout thoroughly the tiles will practically clean themselves.
You can achieve excellent results with a tile brush (left) but the floor machine with a set of good tile brushes is much easier (below).
Once the grout has been cleaned and the tile along with it we can extract the area.
As with the agitation phase this can be done manually with a mop and bucket. However, in this instance we can actually get even more contamination out of the tile and grout by utilizing a spinner tool like you see to the right. A spinner tool combines the vacuum from a truck mount or a portable and the high water pressure (800 psi for natural stone and up to 1200 psi for ceramic and porcelain tile) to literally blast grease and grime from both the tile and the grout.
Remember, during the inspection phase of the job you took careful note of any “hollow” sounding tiles. If the adhesive holding the tile in place is weak (or nonexistent) 800 psi will blast the tile loose pretty easily. Be very careful in those areas. We want to clean the tiles not have to repair them.
The pictures below demonstrate quite visibly the results of the preparation and effort that you can expect when using Stone Care products.
No one tool is going to do everything. A good detailing tool or a smaller hand brush for those areas your spinner tool may not reach is essential.
For the professional cleaner this is a defining point. It’s paying attention to these fine details that separates you from the others in the field.
Drying the tile and grout before applying a good sealer like Stone Guardian or Stone Protection is important for one main reason: the dryer the stone and grout is the more of the protector will be absorbed.
Speed drying via methods we’ve discussed previously will help tremendously but allow at least one hour of dry time before applying a protector.