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“The right tool for the right job.” There’s a reason that saying withstands the test of time. When it comes to stone and tile surface care, using the proper tool is important for two purposes: maintenance and protection without creating damage. And protecting your floors generally means 1) minimizing the introduction of abrasive materials, and 2) preventing contact with acids, oils and waxes.
Get More out of Your Mop
When it comes to mops, our best advice is to use them often in your floor care routine. To make the job easier and more effective, always have two on hand so that you can swap them out and clean and dry them regularly, ensuring that you are always using a clean mop head. Trying to wash a floor with a dirty mop is a losing proposition. Often overlooked but easy to do, wash your mop head after each use just as you would with your tablecloth, placemats or kitchen towels.
When it comes to using that mop, a little moisture goes a long way. You want to lightly dampen your mop, not make it soaking wet. The damp mop allows one to pick up dust in the same manner that moistening one’s fingertips can be used to pick up a stray bread crumb. Wet mopping accelerates grout staining by transferring dissolved dirt into low-lying grout lines. In effect, a wet mop is the easiest way to move dirt from on top of your tile into your grout lines without removing it from your floor, resulting in stained, darkened grout. Damp mopping, on the other hand, minimizes dirt movement and lifts it from the floor to the mop water. When rinsing the mop with water, continue to wring it dry to keep it damp. Everyone assumes they know how to mop a floor properly, but every janitorial company owner will tell you this is the most effective way to clean and protect your floors at the same time.
We find that this is the most common mistake made in building maintenance. Virtually everyone makes this mistake until someone explains how mopping actually works as a cleaning technique. So, if you’ve been doing it wrong up until now, don’t feel bad — you’re not alone. Be happy — your results are about to improve. And one more tip: Microfiber cloths are very good for picking up oils and dusting quickly and cleanly. They’re easy to find, easy to launder, and inexpensive, so have a bunch around.
A Clean You Can Trust
The cleaner you select can be your friend or your enemy. If your cleaner is faulty, no cleaning technique in the world will save you. Cleaners need to be acid-, oil- and wax-free, and they need to focus on just one thing — cleaning. Dual-purpose products like clean-and-seal, clean-and-disinfect and clean-and-polish all sound good in theory, but they can also create damaging trade-offs when one is simply trying to make a surface spotless. These products are more about marketing water and making money at your expense than delivering results. There is no cleaner in the world that is smart enough to clean first, before applying a second treatment to shine, disinfect or seal. The net result is one has simply buried the dirt or oil trapped beneath the treatment. When you see “disinfect,” remember that disinfection requires residence time, and is not suitable for a spray-and-wipe process. Whereas, cleaning can be done with a spray-and-wash process.
Did you know that while your ceramic tile is NOT acid sensitive, your grout seal and color dyes are? A tile-safe cleaner can be marketing lingo for a product that will provide good results initially, but it is also creating the conditions for grout staining in the long term. That dollar-off coupon could cost you thousands of dollars to correct later. Over time, applying an acidic cleaner can destroy your grout seal, turning it into a virtual dirt sponge and creating that unsightly, stained appearance. This is why proper cleaner selection is essential for surface care. Consider the sources and objectives when evaluating products: A cleaner manufacturer simply wants you to buy, but a service provider (at least a good one) seeks to explain what happened and remedy the problem for the future. You can trust MARBLELIFE® cleaners to work safely and effectively. They have been expressly developed to enable MARBLELIFE to recommend a product that will not re-create the very situation we were asked to restore.
Mats With Muscle
Abrasive damage comes from walked-in dust, sand, and debris. A high-quality floor mat is an essential floor care staple — and a tool you want to have in your arsenal to protect your floors from this kind of abrasive damage. But it’s important to understand that not all mats are created equal. To effectively protect your floor, you want a mat that can remove dust and debris from shoes upon entry or when you wipe them and allow the removed material to drop below the mat surface in order to prevent it being picked up and moved onto your floor by the next person. This means an OPEN structure mat such as MARBLELIFE’s spaghetti strand mat. Use an open backed mat on your outside step and a closed back mat for your inside entryway, allowing the dirt and water to pass through on the outside mat and be collected on the inside mat. Our mat combines a high-end look with an effective design for an easier to maintain home.
Removing shoes upon entering the home is a great habit to cultivate to avoid problems – if you can get family and guests to cooperate. Unfortunately for many families, this is the least of their daily concerns, which makes a mat system a more practical solution.
Dust mopping the edges of the room — around door entrances and along carpets — where the bulk of the transfer will occur can also help you avoid a lot of problems. Damp mopping is best as it picks up and removes material. But the reality is that few people have the time to do so, which is why a robotic cleaner can be a good alternative.
Absorptive mats are designed to handle small quantities of water but are often overwhelmed when people are coming in from a downpour or melting snow. While this is not likely to create a major problem for a typical home, it can be very big deal for a commercial property. A MARBLELIFE spaghetti mat allows water to pass through the mat all together.
The Bottom Line
Investing in just a few high-quality floor care tools and using them according to best practices can go a long way toward extending the life of your tile and stone floors so that they continue to look great. Your local MARBLELIFE professional will be happy to provide you with the products and surface care knowledge you need to keep your surfaces shining bright longer.