• Is your shower a clamping/weep hole style? Regular cleaning can help preserve the weep holes functionality.
  • Your installer should be able to tell you whether they’re installing a B415 shower, a B422 or any other one of the many shower types. If they don’t know, you got the wrong person. Some shower types are less likely to accumulate efflorescence.
  • Caulking does not provide a water barrier. If your shower was constructed correctly, it will function properly even if the caulking has deteriorated.
  • If the product on the shelf says spray and walk away, you should probably just walk away. Anything that cleans, will continue to clean, sometimes even when dry unless they’re rinsed away.
  • Chlorine Bleach is high in Alkalinity. It’s corrosive and will damage your pretty white grout with regular use. It can make grout whiter at the expense of making it more susceptible to staining and discoloring. Round and round you go, till the grout falls out or the grout finally refuses to whiten.
  • Never, ever, ever, use an acid based cleaner to clean Calcareous stone. This includes Travertine, limestone, river rock, Saturnia, onyx or any marble in general. Acids can etch stone, make the stone look cloudy and strip sealer from the stone.
  • Alkaline cleaners are the proper cleaners for stone when they need a heavy cleaning, otherwise a PH neutral cleaner is best. That doesn’t mean you need a PH 14 alkaline cleaner. Stone cleaners are usually have a PH between 7-10.
  • Look up your cleaners components. They may not list some chemicals due to proprietary privacy but the main active ingredients will be there. Test the PH if you’re not sure.
  • Surfactants in the makeup of a product are used to suspend dirt and oil to allow a rinse to remove these contaminants. They reduce surface tension in water enabling the wash to get into microscopic nooks and crannies.
  •  Rinsing is always a part of any cleaning. Whether you’re washing the car, your dog, your hair or your tile!
  • When mopping the floor change the wash water frequently. Do not use one gallon of wash for 1000 square feet. When the wash water starts looking dirty, it’s time for a change.
  • Do not make the mixture too strong. An abundance of suds in your solution may indicate that you have more product than you need for your ratio. Sudsy solutions usually leave spots, streaks or leave the surface sticky. One rinse may not be enough if you go overboard with the cleaner.

The routine above in terms of cleaners is the same for use on cleaning shower tile walls. The only difference is the application is done with a spray bottle. Shower tile and tubs tend to collect more built on debris since soap and shampoo residue hold on to debris stubbornly. Shampoo is acidic, when left to build up it can permanently discolor grout, etch marble, remove sealers and effect caulking.

Immediately after a shower any soap suds left behind should be rinsed down the drain. Generally a shower that receives moderate use should be looked over once a month and receive a cleaning. The drain should be looked over as well as niches, shelves and any area that contains caulking. Caulking is similar to tires on a car, after many miles it will look worn, won’t perform the same and will need to be replaced.

Once a month at minimum the shower should be sprayed with a PH balanced tile cleaner in its entirety. Areas where people stand or where soap and water are constantly in contact with the tile and grout should be brushed with a large but soft bristle brush. The area should then be rinsed down the drain. With regular shower tile care there will be no need to scrub or brush hard. The idea of the regular cleaning is so you don’t have to use anything harsh to get it clean.

The shower is a tiled assembly. It’s prepared to receive more water than rainfall on your roof per year! Inspecting the caulking and grout is important. Keeping the cleaning regular and light helps preserve the shower. Some cities in Broward and Palm Beach, supply water that can contribute contaminates that discolor grout and caulking. Luckily most of this is removed through routine cleaning.

Routine Tile floor Cleaning

You can test the PH of cleaning products with a digital PH meter. This instrument will tell you what the PH is. If you just spent a whole lot of money on a beautiful marble installation this meter may be a good idea.

These meters range in price as well as accuracy. Most of the meters require calibration, which is usually not too much trouble, but if you have confidence in your cleaner, no meter needed.

If you have cleaning professionals come in to clean your home on a regular basis, ask them if you can test the PH on the cleaner they use in the bathroom. Simply fill a small cup with some of the cleaning solution, insert the meter, and you'll know exactly what they're working with. You are the first line of defense.

Shower tile and grout cleaning

Utilizing the PH scale to properly clean your tile and grout

 Written by Michael Weaver

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Prior to washing the floor the area should be vacuumed or swept to remove as much loose debris as possible. It will extend the use of the wash and keep the mop’s head cleaner.

When it comes to cleaning tile and grout on the regular, a cleaner that is PH neutral is the best bet. They are safe to use on all tile and grout types and they will not remove sealers from the surface. PH cleaners diluted to the manufactures recommended ratio still require a rinse.  Cleaners that are high in acidity or alkalinity must be rinsed away entirely and should be used when the area to be cleaned is particularly stubborn.

Change the rinse water frequently. Strong cleaners should never be used regularly on stone or grout that has received a penetrating sealer. Marble in particular is very acid sensitive. Stay away from vinegar, dish soap and bleach. Vinegar is acidic and while it will clean the surface of porcelain and ceramic quite well, it can be detrimental to sealer, marble and cement grout. How often your floor will need to be cleaned depends on your particular homes foot traffic and habits.

The least abusive type of foot traffic in the home are socks. Shoes, and bare feet, both contribute to leaving contaminants behind and as such floors with this type of traffic would benefit from more frequent washing.

Learn the PH scale. The scale ranges from 0-14. Knowing this scale can help you select the right product specific to the surface you’re cleaning as well as the type of contaminant you’re removing.
Did you know you can test the PH yourself?  See the section following this one.

You have the oil changed in your car right? Your tile installation will cost you far less in maintenance. When the installer completes the installation, your time to preserve it has begun.

How do you test the PH when the cleaning product doesn't specify?

We recommend the following products because we have had great success with them and after getting use to them, they have become very predictable for us.

Below are some of the products and their uses.

  • AquaKleen and Concentrated Stone & Tile Cleaner from Aqua-Mix are essentially the same product. Both are safe for all tile types and can be used daily if necessary.
  • Aqua-Mix Heavy Duty Tile & Grout Cleaner is alkaline cleaner that effectively cleans stone. Excessive use may remove sealer. This product is meant more for problem areas or a thorough cleaning prior to re-sealing.
  • OdoBan is a disinfectant. It is great for cleaning floors that have pet traffic or any other possible bio contaminants. Safety is paramount when using disinfectant cleaners.Protect your eyes and skin,and always follow the labels directions.
  • Jamo star clean is an acid. This sulfamic acid is in the form of crystals that is added to water to make a safe mixture of acid. It can be made weak, moderate or strong depending on how much of the product is added to clean cool water. It is appropriate for removing mineral deposits on ceramic, porcelain and grout. Always wash the acid away with plenty of fresh water after treating the area.

The best way to clean tile and grout depends on the tile type and a cleaning routine that accommodates the expected use your tiled surface will receive.

Knowing the PH of the product you use can make all the difference. I have seen installations look worn before their time because severe cleaning chemicals were used or because the cleaning routine was neglected.

 If you just had a new tile installation, start off on the right foot. Know exactly what you're cleaning and research the product you choose. With the slightest effort towards upkeep, a tile installations lifespan is greatly increased.


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