Whether you are a homeowner taking care of family, or a facilities manager trying to keep everyone happy. You know that tile and grout can be a beautiful aspect to any building. You also know how difficult it is to maintain. Soil can easily settle into the crevices of tile and become absorbed by the porous grout. This results in the tile needing a deep cleaning every one to two years, but mopping it on a regular basis can preserve the appearance and finish for a significant amount of time.
Like anything else, this mopping has to be done properly. There are two key things to keep in mind when mopping your tile:
- There must be usable detergent in the water. A sign of the detergent being used up would be the water looking flat and without bubbles. Starting to look more like straight dirty water and less like a cleaning solution.
This is important because detergent molecules have a hydrophobic (water-hating) tail and a hydrophilic (water-loving) head. This combination basically allows for the oil to be forced into solution. With one side of the molecule attracted by water and the other repelled by it, thus surrounding oils, fats, and proteins that have accumulated on your floor.
When there isn’t enough useable detergent in the water, oils don’t dissolve in the solution and thus aren’t cleaned off the surface. You also have to be careful though, as it’s also bad to use too much detergent and leave residue on the floor that can quickly attract more dirt.
- Use hot water. Detergent decreases the surface tension of water, allowing it to penetrate objects faster and deeper. This decrease in surface tension can also be accomplished with hot water, which is why it’s important to clean with hot water whenever possible.
- The water must be clean. When you clean with water, the dirt particles are being broken up and forced into the water solution. Water can only dissolve so much solute (dirt) into it until it can’t dissolve any more. At that point the solution becomes ineffective in removing any more dirt from the floor and instead just moves dirt around with the mop. One way you can increase the amount of dirt that can go into solution though, is by increasing the water’s temperature. This is another example of why hot water is better to clean with.