Dealing with unsealed grout between porcelain floor tiles can be tricky. Too much vigor and the grout can deteriorate and begin to crumble. Too little cleaning, however, can leave ugly stains that are nearly impossible to remove.
The easiest method to ensure that your grout stays clean and intact is to avoid water or wet cleaners. Always begin your grout cleaning with a thorough dust-mopping. A micro-fiber mop, if you have one, is an ideal tool. Otherwise, use a dry mop head or a dry sweeping tool, such as Swiffer. If you see any discolored areas, use a dry, stiff scrub brush and brush the stains until you see improvement. Monitor the floors and take care of stains as soon as you see them. The longer they are left, the harder they will be to remove.
How to Know if Your Grout is Sealed or Unsealed
If you are unsure if your grout, or the tiles themselves, are sealed or not, do a quick “spill test.” Take a teaspoon of clean water and dribble it in the center of one of the tiles. If it sinks into the tile, you’re dealing with unsealed tiles. If it beads up and evaporates, your tiles are sealed. Repeat this test on the grout. Once you know what you’re dealing with, “to seal, or not to seal -that is the question.”
Keeping Your Unsealed Grout and Tiles Clean
Sealed tile floors are much easier to maintain and keep clean. However, if you want to leave the grout natural, you only need to take a couple of precautions. Make sure to vacuum or dust mop the floor frequently. If dirt is left on the floor and it gets wet, it can create mud which can soak into the grout and stain it. You can feel free to use a damp mop once you’ve made sure that all the dirt is removed. Make sure that no one walks across the floor with dirty shoes until the floor is completely dry. It’s best to make a habit of vacuuming or sweeping frequently to keep those dirty stains away.
Keeping Your Laminate Floors Clean
Because of potential scratching, always vacuum or sweep the floors thoroughly before cleaning. Once you’ve removed all solid debris, you can damp mop or spot clean. Never use a wet mop or excessive water, as it can seep underneath the floor and cause warping.
Use a floor cleaning system, such as Swiffer, with pre-treated damp cloths, or use a barely damp mop. Try spraying an all-purpose cleaner directly on the floor, working in small sections, and follow with a dry mop or a towel.
Never use floor wax or acrylic finish. They will cause a build-up that can discolor your laminate. If you have heavy soil that can’t be handled with a damp mop, you may want to get down on the floor and scrape up any sticky solids. A plastic knife, such as from a fast food restaurant, works very well and won’t scratch. Then just follow that with a few sprays of an all-purpose cleaner and wipe with a paper towel or rag. For grease or tar, try using mineral spirits. Make sure to rinse well. As long as you take care to avoid scratching, laminate floors can be very easy to maintain, and they retain their looks for years.