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Grout cleaning — start clean to stay clean

September 19, 2010
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The problems of successfully maintaining tile and grout are two-fold:

First, grout absorbs any liquid it comes in contact with: If mop water is dirty, the grout becomes dirty; if the fluid produces an odor (such as urine), the grout will emit the odor.

Second, it is extremely difficult for custodial workers to keep mop water clean, which compounds the problem.

Implementing the solution
Tile should be thoroughly cleaned with an alkaline surfactant so that it looks "like new".

Grout should be cleaned using an acid that breaks down hard water deposits and produces a foaming action to bring contaminants to the surface.

It is also important to protect the grout from future absorption and contamination.

One alternative to periodically applying sealers is a restorative bonding technology, which eliminates the porosity by coating the grout with a more permanent, non-cementious grout-coating compound.

Once tile and grout is restored to a "like new" appearance and the porosity eliminated, implement a moping system where mop heads are changed frequently and mop water is kept clean.

Joel Mitchell is vice president, SaniGLAZE, Jacksonville, FL.
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