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Cleaning Facts for Tiles

Cleaners have a very large responsibility in ensuring the health and hygiene of a facility, as well as maintaining the warranty of equipment and materials.  For thorough cleaning operations, adequate time must be made available outside of the opening hours of a facility. 

It is extremely important that cleaners, whether a builders clean or daily clean, understand the chemical characteristics of cleaning agents. 

cleaning tiles

A cleaner should have good knowledge of the following, before introducing chemicals into your facility:


 Difference between an alkaline & acidic cleaner


 The pH-value of the cleaning agents indicates whether a given product is alkaline or acidic. 

 Purpose of an alkaline cleaner

  Strong alkaline is used to dissolve body fats, cosmetics, shampoo, soaps and grease; and is ideal in wet-areas such as bathrooms.  Mild alkaline is ideal in removing dust and dirt in dry areas.

 Purpose of an acidic cleaner

  Acidic cleaners are used to remove calcification and other mineral precipitates caused by the effects of water, e.g. white haze on glass shower screen or tiles is caused by minerals from the water. 

 Understanding the pH strength of acidic cleaners & it's effects


 Acidic cleaners have a pH value <7.  If a cleaner has a pH value <1 it is extremely acidic and will cause damage to tiles, stainless steel components and fixtures.  Hydrochloric, sulphuric and hydrofluoric acid must be avoided, because of their acid content.

  Alkaline cleaners have a pH value >7.  A strong alkaline >11 will cause discolour in painted surfaces.  Ceramic Solutions recommends the use of RK tile safe cleaners that have been classified as harmless.  

 Effects of hot wash v's cold wash


 Many facility managers comment that it is too expensive to use hot water.  However, hot water makes it easier to remove grease and therefore less chemical is required.  Providing a higher cost benefit.

 See chart showing the effects of cold water wash and slip resistance to flooring.

 Problems when a cleaning agent is not thoroughly rinsed off


 If an alkaline cleaner is not thoroughly rinsed off, it will set on the floor and cause the floor to be slippery.  The film of detergent will also cause dirt to stick to the floor much quicker, causing a vicious cycle of more detergent being added and making the problems worse.

 Acidic cleaners need to be rinsed thoroughly; otherwise the acid content will destroy a surface.  It is recommended that after an acidic wash, the area should be cleaned with a weak alkaline to neutralise the surface. 

 Using the right type of equipment to dispense, agitating chemical and rinse


 When dispensing chemical - foaming guns ensure an even ratio release of cleaning agents.

 Agitating/Scouring action should only be with nylon or bassine fibre brush.  Pads contain abrasives and should not be used under any circumstances with a tiled floor.  The will reduce slip resistance and do not remove dirt adequately.  

 Allow chemical to sit on a floor for 20 minutes before removing.

 High pressure surface cleaners are ideal in heating water and removing dirt from raised profiles of tiles.   

 Large vacuum scrubbers are a very popular choice for reducing the time it takes to clean.  However, when selecting vacuum scrubbers, make sure it fits into all areas of the facility and releases hot water onto the floor.  Some scrubbers only release tempered water, which reduces the effectiveness of a clean.

 Recognising seasonal adjustments in a facility and how this effects cleaning

  Chemical levels of cleaning should adjust based on season effects.  For instance, in summer an aquatic facility will be in its peak - therefore ratio levels of cleaning will need to increase.