Earlier in the year we were contacted by the facilities manager of one of the student apartment blocks in Oldham which provides accommodation for the students of Oldham University. They were looking for a firm to revamp the student en-suite bathrooms during the summer recess. The building has 270 apartments and we had been asked to quote for the renewal of the ceramic tile and grout of around 45 shower cubicles (possibly more) which were judged to be in a bad state and beyond the ability of their in-house cleaning team.
The University runs degree courses from Accounting to Sports Coaching and as you can image Students are not known for their cleanliness so we knew we would have our work cut out completing the assignment on time.
Several companies competing for the work however after successfully demonstrating what we can do with a patch test in one of the bathrooms and comparing of quotes I’m pleased to say the facilities company awarded us the contract!
Tile and Grout Cleaning
We returned in the summer and facing a time limit to complete the work we worked out a system whereby we would spray the Tile and Grout down with Tile Doctor Duo-Clean, let it soak in for about ten minutes and then scrubbed it in by hand with a stiff brush. Duo Clean is an effective double action grout cleaner and mould remover that can remove mould and blackspot from grout and silicone. It’s really useful for cleaning shower tiles as the spay attachment mixes the product with air as its spayed onto the surface allowing it to stick to vertical surfaces more easily. Once the tile and grout was clean it was rinsed off with water and stubborn areas re-treated until clean.
Duo Clean is effective at dealing with Mould on Silicone in most situations however some of the silicon sealant was beyond cleaning so in these cases the old Silicone was stripped out and replaced with new.
We were able to clean all the shower tile and grout using this process however I had brought a long a few Grout Colouring kits as a back-up solution just in case. Once the grout is clean the colourant is painted on using a small brush and makes a huge difference to the look of a shower. There also inexpensive and provide a barrier over the grout so it keeps its appearance for longer.
There were a lot of bathrooms to cover so once the cubicle was spotless we immediately moved onto the next one completing the whole project three days ahead of the due date.
The facilities manager was delighted with results and timing of our work and it just goes to show that using the right cleaning products can save you time and money compared to the alternative of re-grouting.
One of the first issues people have with shower rooms is the Silicone needs to be replaced, even a good quality Silicone like Mapei Ultra-seal which is fully waterproof and stain and mould resistant can still succumb to persistent damp issues. In fact it can get so humid in these areas the warm atmosphere is akin to a tropical rain forest.
To avoid the build-up of mould I recommend you rinse the wall tile and silicone down with plain water from the shower head after every shower and then leave the tiles to dry. Open the window and door to let out the warm condensation and after 5 to 10 minutes partly close the window (to the security setting) and then partly close the door, this then normalizes the room temperature thus inhibiting mould spores from blooming, as mould wont start to Spore on a cold room.
The pictures were taken from a shower room at a house a few miles up the road in Kendal where mould had caused a lot of staining to the silicone sealant and to the tile and grout both inside the shower cubicle and in the bathroom itself. There were also a couple of loose tiles around the base of the shower cubicle which needed to be re-fixed.
Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout
We started by spraying the tile and grout down with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline cleaner, spraying it on mixes it air which helps it to stick to Vertical surfaces allowing it to get to work on the dirt. We left it to dwell for ten minutes before scrubbing it in by hand using a stiff grout brush; this process certainly improved the grout but unfortunately it had become too badly stained to be satisfactory so we decided to recolour the grout using a white grout colourant.
Once the shower tile was dry the loose tiles were removed and the damp plaster board behind chopped out and replaced. The tiles were then cleaned up, fixed back into position, then grouted and the silicone sealant around the base of the shower cubicle was stripped out and replaced with new.
One to two coats of white colourant were applied to the grout throughout the shower cubicle and shower room in order to get a uniform appearance and this final touch completed the transformation.
The other advantage of these particular colourant products is that they are epoxy based and form a barrier of the grout preventing future staining and making it very easy to clean going forward.
I think you will agree bathroom now looks like it was recently installed.
This customer from Rushden called me in because she was having difficulty keeping the grout in her kitchen clean although the ceramic tiles themselves were fairly easy to maintain.
On speaking to the customer it became evident that the one coat of sealant that was originally applied to the grout five years ago had all but worn off and the cleaning products she was using were too strong reducing the life of the sealer and now dirty water getting into the now porous grout which was causing staining each time she mopped the floor.
I gave the customer a quote for deep cleaning and extraction of tiles and grout lines, as they were thinking of selling the house they didn’t want to have the expense of re-colouring the grout. We decided the best course of action would be re-sealing the grout with Tile Doctor Grout Seal & Go after cleaning and this should protect it going forward.
Deep Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout
To get the grout clean and lift out the dirt we used Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mopped onto the floor and scrubbed into the grout lines with a stiff grout brush. The second and third pictures below show the equipment we use to deep clean and scrub the grout and to extract the water under pressure to clean the grout as best as possible.
The final pictures below show the overall end result after allowing the floor to drying overnight and then sealing the grout with two coats of Tile Doctor Grout Seal & Go.
I also talked the customer through Tile Doctor recommended cleaning procedures and advised her that she was entitled to a free bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which would keep the floor looking at its best for much longer and would not affect the grout sealant.
Following a referral from customer which is always nice to have, we paid a visit to a house in Brighton where the owner was having difficulty keeping their ceramic tiled kitchen worktop clean. As you can see from the photograph below the glazed ceramic tiles were in reasonable condition, it was the grout that was the problem; this is not unusual as glazer ceramics are very hard wearing but the top layer of grout is in fact porous and will trap dirt and become discoloured if not sealed.
There were two ways this job could have been tackled, the first being to remove the top layer or grout using the flat blade of a screwdriver and then re-grout. It was a reasonably large area of worktop so this would have taken some time. The second and simpler option is to use a heavy duty tile and grout cleaning product such as Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and that is exactly what we did, it also has the added advantage of cleaning the tiles at the same time.
The Pro-Clean was diluted with water and then left to dwell on the tile and grout for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in by hand with a stiff brush. For the wall tiles the solution was decanted to a spray bottle and sprayed onto the tiles, the combination with air makes it lighter and more able to stick to a vertical surface.
The tiles were then washed down with water and any stubborn areas re-treated with more Pro-Clean and elbow grease, it wasn’t long before the tile and grout was looking like new again.
Now glazed Ceramic tiles don’t need to be sealed as the glaze provides an effective barrier however as I mentioned before the top layer of grout is porous and will attract dirt over time and should be sealed, especially considering kitchen worktops are used to prepare food. Tile Doctor have a range of sealing products any of which will seal grout however in this case I used Grout Seal and Go which comes in a spray bottle.
This Ceramic tiled shower cubicle was installed at house in Birmingham, although the Ceramic tiles were in reasonable condition the customer wanted the grout to be refreshed. Ten years ago it would have been necessary to scrape out the top layer of grout and replace however the modern grout colourant kits allow you to achieve the same effects for a lot less expense.
Cleaning Tile and Grout
The first job was to clean the grouting with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked in by hand using a scrubbing brush, we also removed the towel radiator on one wall to make sure we could get to the grout behind. Pro-Clean is a very effective tile and grout cleaner that’s good at getting grease & grime out of the grouting, this process also provides a good foundation for the grout colourant which needs a clean surface. If you’re cleaning the grout yourself you may want to consider using Tile Doctor Oxy-Pro instead as it’s a similar product that is ready to use.
Once the grout was dry Grout Colourant in a Linen colour was applied into the grout lines and the excess wiped off, I then cleaned off all the excess Grout Colourant from the tile surface and gave the tiles a good clean. As you can see it made a big difference to the bathroom and I think you will agree the choice of Linen colourant worked well and blended in well with the colour of the tiles needless to say the customer was delighted.
I should mention that the Grout Colourant range supplied by Tile Doctor also seals the grout preventing it from staining and therefore ensuring it will look good for some time to come.
This ceramic tiled shower cubicle was installed at house in Silverdale, you can see from the photographs below that there was staining from the chemicals in domestic products and there was also a build-up of mould on some parts of the grout and silicone sealant. Mould can get a grip here due to a porous top layer and this is especially a problem in the UK where bathrooms tend to be small with inadequate ventilation.
Cleaning Tile and Grout
The ceramic tiles and grout was treated using Tile Doctor Oxy Pro which is a ready to use tile and grout shower cleaner that comes with a trigger spray attachment which allows the cleaner to mix with air making it lighter and allowing it to stick to vertical surfaces. It was then worked in using a stiff scrubbing brush by hand before being rinsed off with water; this process was repeated a number of times until we had managed to clean all the areas and then left to dry.
Unfortunately it’s not possible to remove mould from silicone sealant, the only solution is to have it stripped off and replaced. Once this was done the edges were cleaned up and fresh mould resistant silicone was applied.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that silicone will last longer if the residue from soaps, shampoos and body washes etc. are rinsed away with clean water after having a shower as it’s the chemical and not the water that damages the silicone in the first place.
The results are plain to see and my customer was very satisfied with the work.
Prevention is always better than the cure and another tip you might find useful is to improve ventilation which is a major problem with draught free modern housing fitted with insulation and double glazing, if this is not possible try leaving your shower room door wide open after having a shower. Another option is to look at installing a ventilation and heat recovery system which extracts the hot air from kitchens and bathrooms through a heat exchanger to warm up fresh air from outside and recycles it back into the house.
This Ceramic tiled floor was installed in the Kitchen of a house in Melton Mowbray, as you can see from the photographs the tiles were in reasonable condition it was mainly the grout had become discoloured and in need of a deep clean. We do find this with Ceramic and Porcelain tiles, they are very hard wearing and unless you drop an Iron on one they are usually good for a long time; the top layer of grout however is porous and will attract dirt over time if it’s not sealed.
Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout
I used a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with hot water and applied it to the floor letting it dwell and soak into the tile and grout before being agitated using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. This worked well to clean the tile but the grout needed more work so we got our knee pads on and hand scrubbed along the grout lines with a stiff brush. The soiled solution was removed using a wet vacuum and floor rinsed with clean water so we could see if there were any areas in need of further attention and repeated the process until we were happy the whole floor.
I then left the floor to dry out and came back to seal the grout using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will protect the grout from staining in the future by adding a barrier to the surface of the grout.
I think you will agree from the photographs the floor has been transformed and looks like a new installation.