Regular cleaning of a building’s tile floors – in entryways, locker rooms, break rooms, commercial kitchens, restrooms, etc. – removes dirt and leaves a fresh, clean surface. And, because tiles are ordinarily glazed to prevent moisture from being absorbed, dirt comes off pretty easily.
Yet over time, the grout between those tiles traps and holds dirt because grout is rough and very porous; sealants tend to wear off after a time so protection is limited. The dirt that embeds itself into grout can’t always be reached with a mop or even scrub brush, so even if your tiles are clean, your grout may be getting dark, dingy and mildewing. And really gross.
Is that happening in your tiled areas? Then it's the time to consider grout cleaning.
What's The Harm in Dirty Grout?
Grout cleaning is critical, particularly for tiles set in light-colored grout: gray, beige, off-white and taupe (which, by the way, are the most common colors used between tiles in restrooms, where black mildew is most likely to occur). Dark brown grout may still be trapping and holding dirt, but is not nearly as noticeable.
What’s the harm in dirty grout? Nothing terribly serious – it’s doubtful that an illness or sick day could be attributed to grimy grout, except perhaps athlete’s foot in locker rooms. It’s an appearance thing; dirty tiled surfaces detract from a professional, well-maintained appearance that’s important for your image.
And, eventually, built-up dirt in grout lines could cause grout to degrade, chip and flake, leading to water seepage beneath tiles that can cause tiles to separate and lift off the underlayment. Now that's a costly problem!
How Is Grout Cleaned? How Often?
Grout is typically cleaned using a special tool that sprays water and cleaning solution deep into the tiny pores of grout – strong enough to get the dirt but not so strong that it erodes or in any way harms the grout – then suctions it back out, along with all that dirt. Think of it as a tiny pressure washer just for those narrow little spaces.
The frequency of cleaning grout really depends on the traffic in the area, and where that traffic came from. Are people walking in from outside? From a manufacturing space? From a carpeted cubicle area? If people are bringing dirt in on their shoes, chances are your grout is taking in a fair share of it.
Frequency of grout cleaning also depends on the function of the room it's in. Kitchens and restrooms most definitely need grout cleaning more often because of the bacteria that grows in these environments; there's moisture and, in the case of kitchens, a significant amount of liquids and food are being ground into the grout.
As for frequency, most customers see benefit from having grout cleaned twice a year; once in spring after the slush and grit of winter pass, and once in fall to get all the stains that might be tracked in from summer grass, parking lot oils and dirt. If it's an area with little foot traffic, though, once a year will suffice.
The best approach to grout cleaning is to be proactive – always have it done at the same time as you have your carpet professionally cleaned. That way, you're always ahead of the game, before the grout has a chance to become an eyesore or causes damage to your tile floor.
As always, leave the job to the professionals who have the right tools, the latest equipment and proven expertise to do the job right the first time. Call on Jack's Maintenance for all your commercial cleaning and maintenance needs!